The best coffee retailers stay very closely connected to the growers that they buy from. Most also do their own roasting or, like us, they maintain a very close partnership with other small roasters with whom they share their roasting to keep-up with demand.
Decent suppliers will “cup” or taste their coffee beans on a frequent basis to ensure quality. They also tend not to keep their supplies of green coffee beans for longer than about six months. A good rule of thumb when searching for a source of the freshest coffee is to seek out retailers who describe themselves as “coffee roasters.”
We advise against supermarket coffee and other large brands because often the coffee is produced in such vast quantities that it ends-up sitting on the shelf for several months and by the time it reaches the customer the coffee is often very stale.
At Spiller & Tait we retail fresh coffee directly through our own website, but we also retail through Amazon. Unlike other supermarkets, Amazon allows us to maintaining control of our stock levels in their warehouses. This enables us to roast and dispatch stock to them in small batches to ensure our coffees only sit on the shelf at Amazon for a week or two at most, rather than months.