KDM wrote:I'd like to try some of the Italian import whole bean espresso but am worried about the roast date or to say it otherwise; how fresh is it? I can get beans from many gourmet roasters in the US within days of roasting, how long have these imports been in the bag?
Here is a reply I got from a US coffee importer, I thought some of you might think it worth reading: (the title of my email was: Date?)
Importer wrote:All Lavazza whole beans blends are vacuum packed, nitrogen flushed, bonded with a one-way valve that allows CO2 (a natural byproduct of the roasting process) to escape the bag without any air coming into contact with the coffee beans, and guaranteed fresh for 2 years from date of roasting. Local "gourmet" roasters can't usually make that claim as they don't package their coffees that way due to the exorbitant cost of the equipment and packaging material. One could definitely argue a week-old, fresh roasted coffee from a local supplier is actually more stale than a vacuum packed blend roasted in Italy 6 months ago. Local roasters usually don't have to worry about that though, since they roast in small batches that get to the customer right away and are used within a few days. But you should not worry about freshness when it comes to Italian roasted coffees, as all major roasters there, including Lavazza, use state-of-the-art packaging techniques to insure their coffee tastes freshly roasted for several months after it comes out of the roaster, and always include a "Best By" date on their packaging.
Hope this clears out any doubts. Ultimately, you will have to try it for yourself, as there are lots of misconceptions out there regarding coffee.