Packaging protects your specialty coffee unique flavour while it’s transported to customers across various locations. It’s also how you can communicate your coffee’s qualities to customers, so they can see the journey it’s taken from seed to cup. So how do you ensure it stands out from your competitors while preserving your coffee’s best qualities?
As specialty coffee packaging experts, we know that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time, money, and effort finetuning your roast profile for a perfectly balanced brew. Choosing the appropriate packaging will ensure that your hard work directly translates into a superior customer experience. Here’s what to consider when selecting the packaging for your specialty coffee beans.
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Your Packaging Should Protect Your Coffee
Once your beans are roasted, they undergo chemical and physical changes that must be taken into account when packaging them. Here are a few of them, and their potential impact on your coffee’s quality.
Keep Out Odours
According to research on how the pore structure of coffee beans are affected by roasting conditions, the higher the roasting temperature is, the more porous a bean becomes – making it more susceptible to absorbing moisture and unpleasant odors.
To prevent this, your packaging should include a barrier that keeps out moisture, odors, direct light, and oxygen while enabling carbon dioxide (CO2) to escape. While the material you choose for its external layer is an individual choice and will depend on your printing preferences, marketing needs, and the abrasion resistance required, its inner layer deserves special attention as it comes in direct contact with the beans.
Allow For Degassing
You’ll need to ensure the packaging’s degassing valve is airtight and tested under pressure, as it could explode if it can’t eliminate CO2 that gets trapped in a shelf-stable bag. Research reveals that the shorter and darker the roast, the more gas will be released in a shorter period. MTPak Coffee implements gassing valves into its coffee packaging that will ensure that your freshly roasted coffee can degas before it arrives at customers. Our founder Mark Zhou adds that “Another advantage of our BPA-free one-way degassing valve is that they’ll preserve your coffee and they can be recycled afterwards.
Be Environmentally Friendly
While aluminum foils are commonly used in packaging, environmentally friendly materials are a good choice if your brand wants to reduce its impact on landfills through pollution. For example, polylactic acid is a 100% bio-based material made from renewable resources like cornstarch, making it recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable.
“Most coffee bags are multi-laminated and have between two and four layers,” explains Mark. He goes on to explain that the number of layers you include in your packaging will depend on your coffee’s shelf life and if it will be exposed to harmful influences. Low-density polyethylene is a suitable choice as it’s flexible, durable, and lightweight – and can be reused and recycled.
Your Packaging Should be Cost-Effective
While your packaging’s primary goal is to protect your coffee, it needs to do so affordably. You’ll need to ask yourself if your end client is a café that purchases and uses large amounts of your beans, a home-brewer buying a small bag once or twice a month, or a potential retail customer wanting a sample.
Saving Costs Through Time Efficiency
Make sure you consider how long the packaging stage takes. If it takes too long to fill and seal the bags, it might be a good idea to reconsider the type of packaging you’ve selected or your packaging process, as it might cost you money in the long run. For example, a two-corner bag might be quicker and easier to package than a four-corner one, depending on your operations and capacity.
Additionally, manual or semi-automatic processes will be easier and quicker to process than bags with a wide opening, such as side-gusseted pouches. However, if you use an automatic machine or have mechanized your process, make sure the shape of the bag’s opening and your equipment are compatible.
Choosing Openings For Your Coffee Packaging
If you’re a retailer, a cost-efficient solution might be a side-gusseted bag. The one used by Roastwork Coffee Co.’s to package their coffee is spacious and can be closed/opened with a tin tie or a custom label.
For home consumers, stand-up pouches (or doypacks) are a popular option and you can see how Little’s chooses fun patterns to liven them up, but if you want more marketing space, a flat-bottom pouch might be more suitable. These bags can easily integrate resealable zippers and tear-notches to keep your coffee fresh for longer.
Your Packaging Should be Marketable
Your packaging’s marketing will communicate your brand’s identity through your choice of logo, colors, and more. This will require you to balance its visual appeal and provide the information customers need to decide whether or not to purchase it.
Information to Include on Your Packaging
Specialty coffee packaging will usually include more details on your company, the farmer, the coffee, certifications, roast profile, and flavor notes. For example, Onyx Coffee Lab’s Krampus includes a fun descriptive label on the front of the bag, informing the customer about its origin, the elevation it was grown at, its cupping profile, and who exports it.
You can also include brewing recommendations, storage tips, recycling instructions, or a photo of the producer. Utopian Coffee’s packaging includes details on the farmer who produced the coffee, adding a personal touch to the beans.
Coffee packaging can display marketing on up to six of its sides, both inside and outside the bag. Interior printing can provide an unexpected contrast to the packaging exterior with colour or print. Printing on the bottom and sides can give a different perspective and add depth.
Card slots can be integrated to display the coffee’s details. Moreover, a clear window on a side (such as SYPCOFFEE’s) or on the bottom (as on Pumphouse Coffee Roaster’s bag), can give customers a sneak peek of the coffee and show them when it’s running low. Both these inclusions help communicate your brand’s transparency.
Consider How Your Coffee Will Be Presented
Your coffee pouches will be displayed upright on retail shelves or in customer cupboards. Depending on the amount of coffee stored and the marketing space you need, you can choose a flat bottom, side gusseted, stand-up, or quad seal pouch – all of which are easily transportable.
Smaller coffee volumes or sample packages can use flat pouches (or pillow bags), which have only two exterior printing sides and need support to face the customer.
Coffee packaging is required to fulfil many functions. While it defends your coffee from external degrading factors, it also needs to be cost-efficient for your business to work with, and easy for customers to use. On top of it all, it needs to be attractive.
This doesn’t have to be challenging to achieve. MTPak Coffee understands coffee, which is why we’ve developed custom packaging solutions which meet the above requirements and are eco-friendly. If you’re a specialty coffee roaster, contact us today and we’ll take care of your packaging from concept and design, to its manufacturing, printing, and delivery.