For some, this may be a new concept. We have spoken with people who know very little about the process of coffee to the point where some even thought the coffee came off the plant in it's roasted form. We aren't here to insult or make fun of the uninformed - just educate.
Roast to order means exactly what it sounds like. The coffee remains in its harvested, "green" form until you order it. THEN it gets roasted. This level of freshness is what many coffee drinkers simply aren't accustomed to. Coffee is actually full of unique flavors in it's freshest form, but because most of the world is used to [insert big name coffee company] from the grocery store or other mainstream vendors, they equate coffee to what is most likely a stale version of its former self.
We encourage you to look for any coffee with a "Roasted On" date versus a "Best By" date. Trust us... there is a huge difference. Coffee has an incredibly long shelf life - in fact, we don't know that there actually is an expiration date. But premium roasters will tell you when it was roasted, and specialty roasters won't even roast until its ordered... that's us :)
Generally, coffee from premium roasters will suggest the coffee be consumed within 60 to 90 days of roast - we've even seen as much as 6 months (but that's far too long in our humble opinion). We believe up to 60 days from the roast still offers the flavors you'd expect, but within 30 days would be optimal.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying coffee that is no longer "fresh", but we would just equate it to anything that gets cooked before consumption. Frozen or microwaveable meals are still edible, but nothing compared to eating a meal straight from the oven. To be fair, coffee straight from the roaster still needs a couple of days to release the carbon dioxide it generates during the roasting process, but hopefully you get the gist... fresh roasted coffee actually tastes better.
Stay humble. Stay caffeinated.