This is just about the most important question in regards to our business. If fresh, locally roasted coffee is not miles better than the rows of beans sitting in HEB, then you have no reason to make the trek out to a farmer's market to get your coffee. But, I believe it is better. Bean quality is important, the skill of the roaster can take a good bean and make it great. But even the best coffee beans will loose most of their unique qualities about 2 weeks after roasting.
But this is difficult to convince people of for a number of reasons. 1. Most people have not had the opportunity to have a truly fresh cup of coffee, so they don't know what they are missing. 2. The bigger coffee corporations have worked hard to convince us that fancy packaging and vacuum sealing will keep your coffee fresh. 3. Most small roasters don't offer flavored coffees.
So what is different in a bean for the two weeks after it is roasted? In the roasting process the physical structure of the bean begins to break down and this releases sugars and volatile organic compounds. The goal in roasting is to get the bean to a state where these compounds can be released into your cup of coffee when the bean is ground and brewed. After roasting, the oils, aromas, and origin flavors of a coffee are slowly degassed from the bean. At some point (around 2 weeks) these compounds have left the bean completely. At this point, the coffee will taste pretty similar whether you brew it 3 weeks after roasting or 3 months. The coffee still has some flavor (acidity, bitterness, maybe some nuttiness or cocoa if you are lucky) but it is missing the flavors and aromas that make it unique.
If you do buy a bag of my beans, I encourage you to brew them along with your store-bought bag and see if you notice a difference. I think you will be surprised at the difference.