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Coffee packaging: what do you prefer?


Coffee packaging: what do you prefer?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. What type of coffee packaging do you prefer?

    • Bag
      14
    • Box
      1
    • Tin
      1
    • Jar
      0
    • Plant-based cellulose bags
      5


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We're quickly coming to the point in time where we're going to need to decide where we go next with our packaging. We went from stock paper+foil+plastic monstrosities, to our current iteration of stock yellow recyclable bags. 

From a consumer perspective I've always been heavily swayed by the branding and appearance of a particular coffee. If the finest coffee is inside a shonky-looking bag then I'll pass by and buy the shiny expensive looking bag on the top shelf. I don't think I'm the only one.

We're considering boxes for the first time, potentially with a "vegware" inner bag so that the whole thing is recyclable and/or compostable.

What do you prefer? Any examples of particularly great coffee packaging would be welcome. 

The Black Country Coffee Roastery
www.coffeebythecasuals.com - Discount Code: CFUK21
Instagram: @casuals_coffee

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I can't really take part in the poll, as a box will have a bag in it & a tin will have packaging around it.

Fits through letterbox if 250g or under. Bag & polylope, or bag within box. Workshop (letterbox sized boxes) & Union (bag & polylope) are good examples.

This doesn't rule out tins, but will punters like reused tins? As well as recyclability, maybe worth considering the total mass of packaging too, as you have no control of how much of it gets recycled.

Additionally, my general preferences are:

A re-sealable bag that opens (cut/tear) from the very top, not with a tag to pull open a strip, had too many tags come away from a closed bag.

Bag not too oversquare/very wide at top, so beans can easily be poured into a dosing cup.

No tissue, no cards (if you do want to add cards nice big print please...if I need to change glasses, I don't bother reading them).

Any info relative to the coffee is best on, or adhered to the bag itself and readable whilst the opened bag is the right way up (there is a trend for blank bags and a separate info sleeve, great if you only have/use 1 bag at a time, but a pain as the bags become empty and sleeves slip off).

Most of the time I get the impression that the people who design coffee packaging, don't use it. I've had lots of fairly nice coffee from people I would never buy from again due to bizarre & impractical packaging.

Sorry if this sounds like a rant, not aimed at you, just observations based on previous purchases. :-)

 

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Being completely recyclable or compostable would be great. 
Just don’t make the packaging recyclable then staple a non recyclable label to it like one company I used did. That just didn’t make sense to me. Thanks for asking, it’s an interesting topic for sure 

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My current pet peeve re coffee packaging - companies that do not make it crystal clear how their 'recyclable' bags can actually be recycled. As I understand it, most if not all recyclable bags currently are made from LDPE that can only be recycled in special facilities ie not in your recycle bin.

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i prefer compostable bags. it seems to me this will have the least environmental impact. currently i like django’s packaging. just a paper bag with cellulose lining. they don’t even have the daft plastic valve. and it’s posted in a cardboard box.

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I am probably going to be very unpopular, but I buy coffee for the contents, not the packaging. Tings come from the top down, meaning at some point the governments around the world will issue guidelines and business will respond. If the USP for a roaster is his packaging, I would normally steer well clear 

L A L A T C...........29 and counting

 

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19 hours ago, Coffee by the Casuals said:

From a consumer perspective I've always been heavily swayed by the branding and appearance of a particular coffee. If the finest coffee is inside a shonky-looking bag then I'll pass by and buy the shiny expensive looking bag on the top shelf. I don't think I'm the only one

I don’t remember the last time I went to a coffee shop, or a physical place, to buy coffee from the top shelf or counter.

Surely what matter these days for most business is the branding on the website? The customer will get the goods, will open the packaging and consume it. If they like it, I don’t think the packaging branding and looking will put them off. Of course, there are exceptions, like, if you want to gift someone with a bag of coffee or something, but this could even be an option on the website for “shinny looking gift packaging which convert people to drink coffee” sort of thing.

For me, similar to @dfk41, I value what’s inside. I would never buy a substandard product because they are packaged on an environmentally friendly bag, or labelled organic or fair trade. Now, if the product inside them is good, then it’s a win win for everyone.

if I lived closer to a roaster that I liked, I’d happily pop by and bring my own container. I’d happily bring my own container for everything to be honest! I’d even send my own container (say, and Airscape) so the roaster would fill it up and return it back to me. Yet, I know this is currently not feasible, expensive and very impractical from an operational point of view for many of us.

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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

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This is very interesting. I've just dropped in in the middle of a very busy Sunday (!), but I would very much like to pick up the several threads of thought that have appeared. Thank you for everybody who has chimed in so far - keep it coming!

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The Black Country Coffee Roastery
www.coffeebythecasuals.com - Discount Code: CFUK21
Instagram: @casuals_coffee

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Well done for paying attention to this issue.

Personally I will not buy from a roaster that uses excessive packaging, I just blacklist them. Crafthouse for instance, it's ridiculous and irresponsible. Non-recyclable/decomposable is also a black mark. I don't buy the argument about reduced freshness, I can't name the brands right now but I've had the 'veg-bags' and fully recyclable bags, there's no issue, it's not an either/or choice. Sure, those ''just plain paper' ones aren't good but there's no excuse for not using recyclable/decomposable unless there's some fiduciary/availability element.

There's too much focus on presentation and image. I get that's important to market to a certain demographic, I understand your point about shiny v shonky but shonky does not have to be a choice. And if you want to look to the future, that demographic is shrinking, mine is expanding.

22 hours ago, Coffee by the Casuals said:

We're considering boxes for the first time, potentially with a "vegware" inner bag so that the whole thing is recyclable and/or compostable.

Why the box? Just use the bag.

Sage Barista Express, Mazzer Royal w/ DW Kit.

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I also don't care for fancy packaging. I don't want to be made to feel like I'm buying fancy beans because of the packaging, I'd like the beans to speak for themselves. 

Sustainability is a bonus. Ultimately all my beans go into an airscape, so the packaging doesn't need to do any more than get the beans to me and not fall apart resting in a cupboard. I don't store for longer/ freeze. 

I do like the cards some roasters (like Django) do. My memory is shockingly bad, so the cards are an easy way to remember what I've had before (and perhaps jot a note down of what I liked/ didn't like about them). Personally I don't need them to be fancy glossy printed things, they could be black ink on non-bleached recycled card and that would be fine. 

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27 minutes ago, CocoLoco said:

Why the box? Just use the bag

Not a fan of boxes either (Square Mile and NorthStar do it). Apart from two boxes from Northstar which I use as a laptop stand, the others would go to the recycling bin, which is a shame. Personally, I don’t see the point. It’s just wasteful.

 

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Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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I know, we should have a new competition. A blind cupping sort of event where the beans are discarded and we base our thoughts purely upon the packaging

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L A L A T C...........29 and counting

 

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I am happy for coffee to be packed by the most sustainable "total" method, which means all the packaging being accountable for e.g. a sustainable bag, inside a cardboard box, with a few card inserts advertising things..."in total" may not be great.

2 other things must be met:

  • The packaging keeps the coffee as fresh as possible, if you tape over any valve or there is no valve and you can smell the coffee from the bag or cupboard it's kept in...  or fridge/freezer smells can permeate the bag...that's no good
  • It's properly recognized as recyclable by my local council...so much stuff isn't, and it might cause the whole batch of recycling go to landfill

My experience with a lot of so called sustainable, biodegradeable etc.. packaging has often not been great on all these counts. For me the best option has been to minimise packaging. I use about 3 to 6g of packaging for 430g - 450g of coffee.

 

Edited by DavecUK

CFUK, the biggest, best and most friendly forum in the UK...with a wealth of knowledge among its many members.

 

 

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I looove a well branded bag. It definitely impacts my decision when purchasing. Same with craft beer. Can't do anything about it.. Bonus if it has some texture to it (a la Crankhouse). Having said that, the bag-in-a-box approach (Crooked Nose, Crafthouse Coffee) is a complete overkill for me. Goes straight to the bin anyway?

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Controversial opinion incoming!
 

Packaging obviously serves different purposes depending on the point of sale. Once it’s in the post the job becomes largely functional. 
 

I’m a graphic designer so slightly biased but in my experience good packaging design is usually an extension of the care/craft that has gone into the product. This isn’t exclusively true, of course, but as mentioned is similar with craft beer or perhaps some smaller chocolatiers these days too. 
 

Of course that isn’t to say there’s no great coffee without good design or that all well designed coffee packaging houses great coffee. But generally if someone has taken the time to design the packaging or hired a designer to do it, they likely care a lot about the product within.

I think there’s another factor in this too, much like craft beer, where retail bags are sold alongside each other. A local shop where I used to live for example, would sell three or four roasters at any one time, so from behind the counter the most attractive packaging may have had an edge. There’s also a farm shop nearby that sells a few and again, the more eye-catching designs stand out.

However, there’s a roaster nearby that literally uses a brown bag and a stamp, and their coffee is fantastic so again, not exclusively true. 

My favourites are- Newground, Dark Arts, Round Hill, Yallah. All roast great coffee in my opinion. 
 

I love a tin for a special occasion, but totally impractical for regular purchases. I also enjoy the cards with the details so I can stick it on top of the grinder.

I must admit I favour a letterbox sized recyclable bag for mail-order. It’s frustrating when I miss the postie and have to go to the delivery office at one of the three hours they seem to be open in a week to collect 250g of coffee.

Edited by creationtwentytwo
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I really like the bags that Spiller & Tait use - they are much stockier ziplock things with a valve in, take 500g still so are thicker than the more traditional bigger bags. Not seen them in the supermarket brands or from other speciality roasters I've purchased from yet. 

The bags used by Dark Wood were similar but not quite as short and thick if I recall correctly, the bright yellow though could have made me believe they were a different size over the Spiller & Tate darker colours.

The stocky bags have a far smaller opening and for single dosing into a Niche measuring cup can be really easily squeezed into a neat precise pourer to top beans from.

I really dislike the bigger wider flat ziplock bags as always feel cumbersome and like they have too much air in them.

 

 

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On 19/09/2021 at 12:47, PortafilterProcrastinator said:

I do like the cards some roasters (like Django) do. My memory is shockingly bad, so the cards are an easy way to remember what I've had before (and perhaps jot a note down of what I liked/ didn't like about them). Personally I don't need them to be fancy glossy printed things, they could be black ink on non-bleached recycled card and that would be fine. 

How about a small 4 x 4cm post it note, on recycled paper?

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