Design inspiration: Customising the bottom of coffee bags

Ben James
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December 24, 2021
flat bottom coffee bags

Although it may seem like little more than a base for keeping the coffee upright, the bottom of a bag serves a number of purposes.

It can be used to promote the coffee and its story, to educate consumers on best brewing techniques, and to carry instructions on what to do with the bag once it’s empty.

With more than 400 different roasters all vying for attention in the UK alone, additional branding space can also help brands stand out on the shelf, no matter how the bag is positioned.

But how can specialty roasters use the bottom of their bags effectively? Here, we round up the best ideas from a number of different brands.

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brewing instructions on the base of a recyclable coffee bags
Brewing instructions can help customers get the most from their coffee

Brewing instructions

As the third wave in coffee has grown, consumers have taken an increasing interest in the various different ways of brewing coffee.

This trend has only become stronger as a result of Covid-19 and its ensuing lockdowns.

A 2021 National Coffee Data Trends Report found that 85% of American coffee consumers drank at least one cup at home in the last 12 months, following a corresponding drop in out-of-home coffee consumption.

As such, learning how to properly brew coffee at home has become a priority for many consumers. And although there is a wealth of information on the internet, providing instructions that cater to the specific coffee is a good way of maximising results.

This could be a step-by-step guide or even just a few simple logos of brewing equipment. For example, if the coffee is roasted for espresso, you could include some small drawings of an AeroPress, a Moka pot, and an espresso machine.

Yardstick Coffee, a roaster based in Manila, Philippines, has gone even further by offering a virtual barista service: customers simply scan a QR code on the bag and book a time slot in which they have 15-30 minutes to speak with a certified barista.

The free service is open to all Yardstick customers and helps to create a personalised experience from the comfort of their homes.

The benefit of using the bottom of coffee bags to print brewing instructions is that it’s unlikely to put off more experienced coffee consumers – but it is still available for those who need it.

roast date
Roast date provides an indication of precisely when the coffee was roasted

Roast date

Freshness is a cornerstone of the specialty coffee sector.

Defined as the original, unimpaired qualities of coffee, it is generally measured by a combination of aroma and carbon dioxide (CO2) content.

The moment roasted coffee beans leave the roaster, the loss of freshness begins. What’s more, as CO2 releases from the coffee and oxygen replaces it, unpleasant, rancid flavours develop.

If their coffee is stale, flat, or indeed rancid, it can put off customers from making repeat purchases. Over time, this can affect sales and, in some cases, damage a specialty roaster’s reputation irreparably.

To ensure consumers enjoy your coffee at its best, it is a good idea to include information, such as the roast date.

In short, a roast date indicates the day on which the coffee was roasted. While most coffees will need several days to “rest” before being consumed, a roast date allows consumers to enjoy the coffee at its peak.

Alongside roast date, specialty roasters could also include the time limit for enjoying the coffee (typically within three months of roasting) and the amount of time they should wait before consuming it (usually after around seven to ten days).

On the bases of their flat bottom coffee bags, Humble, a roaster based in Calgary, Canada, prints the twelve months of the year next to a grid of numbers up to 31.

Before sending out their coffee, they simply circle the month and the date on which it was roasted.

transparent window coffee bags
A transparent window allows consumers to see the beans before they buy them

Transparent window

Degassing valves serve an important role in allowing CO2 to leave the sealed bag without allowing oxygen to enter.

However, a secondary –  perhaps more incidental than intentional – purpose is to smell the aroma of the coffee before buying it.

Squeezing the bag and putting your nose to the degassing valve allows you to breathe in the coffee’s distinct aroma, either convincing you to buy it or to move on and try another one.

A transparent window on coffee bags also has a dual purpose. Not only does it catch the attention of customers as they wander by the shelf, it also gives them an idea of how the coffee was roasted.

While “light” or “medium” roast provides a rough picture, it’s ultimately a subjective opinion; in other words, one roaster’s perception of “medium” could be another roaster’s perception of “dark”.

By seeing the beans via a transparent window on the bag, consumers can draw their own conclusions independent of the roaster. This can help them make more informed decisions, which is likely to lead to greater customer satisfaction.

The bottom of the bag is a good place for a transparent window as it allows specialty roasters to keep their branding on the main body of the bag.

Amar Café is an example of a roaster that does this well. Their flat bottom bags carry the distinctive yellow and blue of their brand, yet the bottom is transparent except for the words: “To love coffee!”. 

recyclable coffee packaging rave
Flat bottom bags are a good choice for roasted coffee beans

Customising the bottom of your coffee bags is by no means essential. However, doing so could boost your brand identity, while providing customers with extra value.

At MTPak Coffee, our expert design team can help you customise a range of sustainable packaging options, including flat bottom, side gusset, stand up, and quad seal pouches.

You can choose from recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable options, which can be fitted with recyclable degassing valves and resealable zippers to help preserve freshness.

Interested to know more? For information on our recyclable coffee bags, contact our team.

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Design inspiration: Customising the bottom of coffee bags

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