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The complete guide to coffee packaging bag design, materials and considerations.

The Complete Guide to Coffee Packaging Design and Materials

For an over-saturated market like packaged coffee, custom packaging is usually your customer’s first experience with your brand.

For an over-saturated market like packaged coffee, custom packaging is usually your customer’s first experience with your brand.

And similar to the challenges perfume companies face when designing great beauty and cosmetics packaging, the aromatic qualities of a specific brand are difficult to judge on name and design alone.

So, having unique, beautifully designed packaging matters. Especially if your customers are purchasing coffee online.

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White cup of coffee next to a tray of coffee beans on a wooden table.


Coffee packaging is a unique beast.

Not only does it need to communicate the blend’s subtler, more aromatic qualities, but it also needs to ensure your product stays fresh at every stage of its journey.

It’s one of those unique niches where customers will pay good money for their favourite brand because quality matters.

The Coffee Bag

There are currently four main types of non-single-serve coffee packaging options to choose from when designing your branding;

Free Kraft Paper Coffee Pouch Mockup Example from Unblast


The Doypack or standup pouch is usually associated with premium, small-batch products.

They represent a happy medium between low prices and good quality, making them ideal for small to medium-sized roasters.

These packages are also fitted with resealing zippers, making them extremely popular and convenient for the end consumer.

And the relatively large surface area makes them an ideal playground for talented graphic designers.✌️

Side-folded Bag Packaging Example from Ted Packaging, Bags and Pouches


The Side-Folded or flat bottom‘ bag is another popular option for coffee manufacturers.

The bag features crisp side seals and holds its triangular shape well, making it ideal for heavier fills of coffee beans. 

It is often misidentified as a Quad Seal bag which is slightly different design-wise.

Quad Seal Bag Packaging Example from Ted Packaging, Bags and Pouches


By far the most popular option of the three, Quad Seal coffee bags are everywhere.

These coffee bags are sealed on all sides and usually rolled down at the top so tightly that they create a rectangular, brick-like shape.

Basically, they hold a lot of coffee.

Nescafe Limited Edition Red Cup Packaging by Prompt Design


These aren’t your grandma’s coffee tins. While not as popular as their bagged counterparts, coffee tins offer a unique opportunity to stand out.

Whether you’re thinking beaded, Straight-sided or something like these square Nescafe tins, the options are as diverse as your imagination.

As a bonus, these can be an instrumental part of the right sustainability initiative and eco-friendly. And if your designer gets stuck, they can always refer to the limitless supply of companies that sell their tea in tins for inspiration.

Organic coffee beans on a hemp woven bag


Because a fresh cup of coffee is usually the start of a long, busy day, convenient packaging is extremely valuable to the end consumer. 

And optimizing your fulfillment process for efficiency can help you keep up with all those orders from busy customers.

For example;

Will you be hand-filling your coffee bags, or are you considering automation?

Although hand-filling has a lower cost of entry, bags with a smaller opening, like Doypacks, can take longer to open and fill than a Quad Seal when done by hand.

However, most modern coffee packing machines can easily accommodate multiple bag styles and sizes.

Tin Ties, Tape, Tear Notches or Resealable Zippers?

Tin ties and tape-down closures are popular reclosable options, but they aren’t airtight like a resealable zipper.

And tear notches allow for easier access to your product upon opening.

Each one of these options can be used independently or in combination to create convenient, reusable packaging for the end consumer.

Do you want to offer trial-sized coffee packets as well?

Single-serve coffee packaging options can be a great way to encourage customers to try your product without committing to finishing an entire bag.

But, you’ll want to work with a talented graphic designer who can ensure your branding looks just as good on pillow pouches as it does on a big bag with lots of surface area.

Fair-trade Organic coffee product display


Let’s briefly talk about coffee bag packaging material options.

Coffee is an industry where the words Fair-trade, Organic and Ethically Sourced matter to consumers. And that includes every stage of the supply chain.

So, what are your sustainability options?

The flavour and quality of coffee can be sensitive to external factors like oxygen, moisture and UV exposure making a strong airtight barrier necessary.

As a result, most coffee packaging is made of aluminum, paper, polyethylene and other food-safe multi-laminates.

However, paper seems to be taking over as one of the most reliable, sustainable alternatives to 2 or 3-ply multi-laminates.

Some manufacturers also produce compostable bags out of natural materials like corn starch that are food-safe and biodegradable. 

Most of these options are compostable, allowing specialty roasters to showcase their commitment to environmental stewardship.

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