Shouldn't I expect fresh coffee from a roaster?

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

I've ordered coffee on-line from various roasters for 20 years and it's almost always roasted within 1-2 days of shipping it out. Last year, I placed an order with La Colombe for their Nizza coffee and two others. The coffee I received was 1-3 months post roast so I returned it. The customer sx rep told me it was too busy in their warehouse to check stuff like roast dates so they just sent me what they had. I like Nizza, so I thought maybe it was a one-off and I recently tried again. It ships from LA which is the state where I live. This time, the Nizza was 4 months old and another bag was 3 months old. The Tanzania, which is a single origin, was a few days old. The customer service rep said that only the single origins are guaranteed fresh roast, but the others are not. I've ordered from plenty of other large roasters (Counter Culture, Peets, e.g.) and their coffee is received only a few days post-roast. It's hard for me to fathom that any roaster would keep coffee lying around for 4 months before they ship it (Amazon is an exception, but they're not a roaster).

La Colombe asked me to return the coffee to them before they would issue a refund.

I know the above story is a very unusual occurrence for coffee roasters, but it reminds me of the adage: Get fooled once, it's on them. Fooled twice, it's on me. I won't be ordering from them again.


#2: Post by espressoren »

I had the same from Cafe Britt and Lavazza direct order - months old, more like picking up a pack off the shelf at a grocery store. I also ordered from Peet's once and was actually surprised it was freshly roasted. I figured the big operators just don't do that.

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

There is an un-printed, understood message on the label stating "Please do not buy our coffee again."
If you are going to pay the price for a gourmet food you should receive same. Three months old is not a high-end food product (for coffee OR Scotch :lol: ) - 2000-2023 - a good run, its time is done

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#4: Post by Milligan »

Hmmm La Colombe started in Chicago. It sounds like an issue with their distribution to the west coast. I've only had it at their cafes in Chicago and I ordered a bag but I'm also from IL so it shipped from them in Chicago. I enjoyed it, especially last years Brazil Beleza. Great vibe and service at their cafes.

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#5: Post by Capuchin Monk »

mgwolf wrote:Get fooled once, it's on them. Fooled twice, it's on me. I won't be ordering from them again.
There are couple of alternatives, 1) buy in-store, look for the ones with roast date shown, 2) do your own roasting. I opted for #2 years ago and never looked back. Once in a while, I would buy in-store just to see what others are up to. I was pleasantly surprised by very small percentage of them but in most cases I am glad I do my own roasting.

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#6: Post by Almico »

That is the advantage of the small roastery. Medium to large roasters just can't get coffee from their cooling bin to your cup in a matter of weeks, let alone days.

I wouldn't expect anything from any business that they don't expressly state, and I'm even suspect of that.

mgwolf (original poster)
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#7: Post by mgwolf (original poster) »

As and addendum, I was in Whole Foods yesterday and noticed that the La Colombe coffee that's been sitting on their shelf was two months fresher than what La Colombe sent me for my mail-order.