What’s the first thing you should look for when you’re buying gourmet coffee? The roast date. It’s not exactly a “sell-by” date, but it’s the closest thing you’re going to get on a bag of your favorite beans. To be sure you have the freshest most aromatic cup of coffee you can get look for beans that have been roasted no more than a month before. (And ideally, if it takes you a week to use up a bag, look for a roast date that’s within a month from that date).