We began Coffee Shrub in September 2009, and since that time things have gone in some unanticipated directions. We started off vac packing 15 pound bricks - vac-packing whole lots of coffee and storing them in our warehouse. That worked pretty well, but some of the vac packs became soft over time, and with some coffees that were not selling so well we broke the coffee out of the vac packs and sold it on Sweet Maria's in smaller quantities.
Vacuum packaging does not make coffee last forever, in fact there have been some coffees that we've pulled from shrub because of them showing a little wear on the cupping table. Tremendous efforts have been put into better understanding the various elements that contribute to the production of a truly remarkable coffee. It's now commonplace to see not only the roast date and geographic specifics on a bag of roasted coffee, but also statistical information that reveals cultivation and processing specific details.
I uploaded a video to youtube about green coffee freshness and seasonality, basically a spontaneous monolgue of random thoughts, while I was roasting a bunch of super-fresh Guatemala samples. It's a "talking head" video, not very exciting, but I hope there are a couple ideas of use there... -Tom