I remember a spectacular improvement in quality when we started roasting ourself. At once the self roasted coffee tasted so much better compared to the same bean i had from a company that shipped this to me by plane a couple months earlier.
The supplier of the green and roasted coffee was exactly the same company. So the first thing i did was asking them how the difference could be so big....
The answer: air fright shipping.
The roasted coffee was shipped by plane and this way it lost approximately 25% of its flavors! The reason: air pressure.
I don't know enough on how pressure affects coffee but, as a reference point, the typical environment of a commercial airliner is pressurized to the equivalent of 8,000 feet. To note: most, if not all, modern-day airliner fleets (Airbus and Boeing) also pressurize the lower compartments of the aircraft (including the baggage areas). The lower pressure causes coffee to de-gas at a much faster rate.
Since that day i did a number of tests and noticed time after time that flying coffee over is the most stupid thing to do. And it's not only the lost flavor that's the problem. There's also an environmental issue, as a financial one.
When traveling myself i always wrap up my bags of coffee with extra plastic foil and keep them with me in hand luggage.
Sometimes i see roasting company's being very proud about shipping world wide. The same company who's explaining why quality is so important. So, on one side they are working their ass off and investing ton loads of money to get a top class coffee, to ship it a little bit later by .... plane.
We asked our transporting company what countries we can ship our coffee by truck. And we stick to those places. No more Hong Kong, Moscow or Tokio shippings any more for Caffenation, sorry.