Just for the unsuspecting newbie: Due to EU regulations the "best before" date on packages of industrially roasted coffee beans is usually two years from roasting. Like I hinted in my previous post, I believe that industrial packaging works up to a certain point to preserve the aroma of roasted coffee. But no matter what Illy or others advertise (and that's what it is: marketing), there's no way that beans remain fresh that long.
Like Randy wrote, roasted beans need to rest for five to seven (up to ten) days before they reach their aromatic peak, depending on the variety and the method of preparation. Then, after around 15 days the aromas starts to degrade. The coffee might still be drinkable, but it won't taste as rich as before, especially as espresso. It's up to the consumer to decide whether she or he still enjoys it.
By the way, I did notice the wink. No offense meant!
*** "This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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