I've had a certain amount of success with an analogy to baked goods, at least regarding bean freshness and storage. You wouldn't want to bake a cake, then leave is sitting out for a couple of weeks before eating it – it would be dry, stale, and tasteless. You also wouldn't want to store it in the fridge because it will pick up flavors, no matter how carefully you wrap it. Coffee is food, like cake, and follows a not dissimilar deterioration curve. It needs the same kind of care.
We love it! Redditor PumpkinSweater adds:
Roasting coffee is like baking a cake, you're going to want to eat it within a week or two. Also, who did the roasting makes a big difference, and if you're buying it in a supermarket it's probably not going to be that good.
It's a simple bit of advice that's easy to explain, and easy to remember. And once people grasp the idea, it's a little easier for people to grasp what makes good coffee so good.
Who knew coffee roasting and cake baking were so closely aligned? We also apply this cake-analogy to our infrequent Mocha Frappuccino binges. While we usually stick to artisanal cakes, we occasionally indulge in a Hostess Cupcake. Who doesn't? And while the WD-50 Wylie Dufresne reverse-engineered Pistachio Cake is absolutely divine, we'll always have a soft spot in our hearts for the log-shaped Baskin Robbins Mint Ice Cream Fudge Cake.