Coffee "best by" date

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#1: Post by Andy »

I know this has been discussed here before, but my attempt to search did not yield any helpful information. Is there a standard (industry standard, government standard, etc.) for the meaning of "best by (date)" as it relates to the roast date? I ask because I was given a pound of roasted coffee with a best-by date of April 2023 and I'd like to have an idea of how old it is. I have emailed the proprietor and I'm awaiting response.

Edit: I just got a message from the roaster. In this case, the best-by date is about 6 months post-roast; October 11-->April 7.

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#2: Post by RTOBarista »

Did you buy at grocery store? There is a long distribution system that take time for the coffee to reach the store after roasting. You should buy coffee from some of the local or even nationwide coffee specialty place. They will give a roast date and when it will be ready to brew.

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Andy (original poster)

#3: Post by Andy (original poster) »

I don't know where it was bought. It was a gift.

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#4: Post by HB »

There's no standard that I'm aware of. Some roasters will have a coded roast date on the bag. I've seen anywhere from 90 days to 1 year.
Dan Kehn

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Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. »

"Best by.." means nothing in terms of quality. It is the roaster's or seller's opinion. The coffee could have been six months old when it was packaged. Only "roasted on" has any real value in terms of useful information.
* 22nd Anniversary 2000-2022 *

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#6: Post by spressomon »

A 'good by date' is simply 'smoke & mirrors' practice of deception by the roaster in an attempt to sell a majority of its beans. Period.

Instead of being in the perishable food business, those roasters should re-aim their business to non-perishable goods such as iron/copper pipe, electrical wiring, etc.; products that literally have an unlimited shelf life.

But, most of the roaster examples I have seen that use 'good by date' that is 6+ months out from the actual roast date (which they don't want the consumer to know...), is yet another example of the industrial food commodity business. Not unlike grain flours, etc.

Thankfully, there is a resurgence of artisans deploying better business practices based upon quality of the product, not only in coffee beans but ancient/heirloom grains, etc.
No Espresso = Depresso

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#7: Post by cafeIKE »

Andy wrote:I don't know where it was bought. It was a gift.
Gifted coffee is DTB: Direct to Bin

Coffee Rule of 15's:
  • Green coffee is good for 15 months
  • Roast coffee is good for 15 days
  • Ground coffee is good for 15 minutes
Green and Roast life can be extended by hermetically sealed freezing.

chanty 77

#8: Post by chanty 77 replying to cafeIKE »

As far as the roast coffee good for 15 days, just curious---do you think that is the same for all roasts? I have found that before I started freezing I would have two 12oz. bags. I would keep them in a dark cupboard, and open the first bag at anywhere from 7-8 days post roast. That would typically last me 9 days (give or take a day). I would then open the second bag at say 15-16 days post roast which would last til it was about 23-24 days post roast. That second bag for the most part was still great. My nose and tastebuds are very judgmental (lol).

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#9: Post by cafeIKE »

All rules are made to be broken. LIghter roasts probably extend the time 2x in some cases.

New coffee arrivals sit on the counter until optimum and are then parceled and frozen. Few ever reach 15 days, but occasionally.

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#10: Post by spressomon »

Yes, I find post roast best flavor is bean and roast dependent. Typical range for the roasted beans I enjoy go from 5-days to 20-days.
No Espresso = Depresso