Designing Coffee Packaging For Offices & Work Spaces

Kahwei Yoong
April 1, 2021

Coffee is an integral part of the workplace. Whether for a quick energy boost, a short break between tasks, or simply to have a catch-up with colleagues, it’s the drink of choice in many offices and co-working spaces around the world.

It can also help foster positivity and productivity. A recent study found that three-quarters of UK workers think having high-quality coffee in an office shows that their employer cares for their wellbeing. Meanwhile, 90% of employees who regularly drink coffee reported feeling more motivated to do their best at work.

However, for specialty coffee roasters, distributing coffee to offices is different to coffee shops and grocery stores. While the coffee itself is the same, the size, shape, materials, and design of its packaging may need to be reconsidered to cater to workplace consumers.

To learn more about designing coffee packaging for offices and work hubs, I spoke to Honduras-based designer and videographer, Francisco Galeano.

See also: How To Leverage Your Coffee Packaging For Ecommerce

The Role Of Coffee In Offices & Workspaces

Coffee has long played a pivotal role in the workplace. It forms a centre point around which employees and businesses can build relationships, enhance productivity, and boost energy. It also provides an opportunity for some downtime, with the process of preparing and drinking coffee often providing sufficient time to relax between tasks.

One study conducted on public workers in Denmark found that a coffee break is a form of stress reliever for employees. Particularly, the formation of “communities of coping” from coffee breaks enables a social environment for workers to share any professional or personal frustration with their fellow colleagues.

The market for coffee in offices is considerable. According to a report by Packaged Facts, just under 90% of full-time workers in the US drink coffee. For specialty roasters, this provides huge potential for increasing sales and extending market reach.

However, the experience of drinking coffee in an office is distinctly different to a coffee shop. Where in a coffee shop the baristas, ambience, and smell of coffee create a full customer experience, in an office it may be restricted to a small coffee machine in the corner or pour over equipment in the kitchen.

This is where coffee packaging plays an important role. While the most obvious role of packaging is to protect the products inside, the promotional values of packaging should not be underestimated. Known as the “secret salesman, research shows how packaging has become an invaluable marketing tool, as well as a key influencer on consumers’ buying behaviour.

Francisco Galeano is a designer based in Honduras. In addition to owning a widely recognised clothing brand, he also runs his own video production company. He tells me that good packaging design is key for creating a product that customers will remember.

“Packaging adds something extra to your coffee,” he says. “It improves the customer experience and makes your product unique.”

Clients or visitors who enjoy the coffee consumed at an office may also want to buy some of their own. With attractive and intelligible packaging, specialty roasters can effectively market their coffee to both groups of people.

Colour Psychology & Brand Identity

For many specialty roasters, understanding the psychology behind colours has been crucial in staying ahead of competitors.

This is because colours play a significant role not only in perceptions of flavour, but also in the feelings they impart on consumers. For example, the colour red is thought to promote sweetness, while also promoting a sense of urgency. In coffee, it can be used to indicate high caffeine content due to its association with energy and movement. 

Conversely, the colour blue is linked with feelings of calm and tranquility, yet also professionalism. It can also signify reliability and trustworthiness, a useful factor for businesses that are trying to impress clients. Blue is often used to decorate offices because, according to studies, people become more productive.

For specialty coffee roasters, it’s important to take the time to consider the influence of colour when choosing their coffee packaging for distribution to offices. If they want to target high-tempo workplaces where employees want a caffeine boost above anything else, then they might decide to go for red. 

On the other hand, if companies would like to present an image of luxury and “power”, they may decide to go for coffee with black and gold packaging, two colours typically associated with elegance, opulence, and wealth.

However, as a specialty roaster, you need to make sure that your packaging doesn’t depart too far from your brand identity. While colours for office distribution can be different, there needs to be a level of consistency between the products you sell to offices and that which you sell in stores and cafés. 

This is so that customers can immediately recognise your brand on the shelf and form an emotional connection with it. Franciso says that as well as understanding what consumers want, roasters need to stay true to their own brand identity.

“Your coffee bag is a physical extension of your brand,” he says. “Therefore, it needs to take into account your brand and its story, then put this in front of consumers in a clear, consistent, and appealing way.”

Research by Lucidpress and Demand Metric on the impact and value of brand consistency found that inconsistent brand usage can create confusion in the market which may put off potential customers.

Size, Shape & Components

When selling coffee to offices, roasters need to consider the practicalities of their packaging. While store-bought coffee typically comes in small bags weighing little over 200g, this isn’t a viable option in spaces where more than one person will be drinking coffee. Naturally, office managers don’t want to feel as though they have to continually buy new bags of coffee to prevent shortages.

Instead, roasters should look at designing bags with the capacity to hold at least 1kg of coffee beans. These bags should be made from robust materials and be easy to pour. A handle and pouring spout are both good options for making them user friendly, while components such as degassing valves and resealable zippers should be included to preserve freshness.

In terms of shape, coffee bags for offices should have a sturdy, square base to reduce the risk of toppling over. Flat bottom pouches are a good option thanks to their broad bases and gussets on both sides for added strength and space. They are also highly effective at marketing the coffee as they have five sides on which roasters can include information, from the provenance of the beans to instructions on brewing.

When the coffee is out on display in the office or workspace, it’s important that staff members can find out more about the brand, too. If people enjoy the coffee, they may want to order some to drink at home. Therefore, details such as the name, website, social media tags, and roast address should all be readily available. If roasters want to maintain a minimalist design, they could include a QR code instead.

Francisco suggests that roasters should carry out tests on their packaging once they’ve settled on a design.

“It’s good practice for roasters to carry out their own experiments with a packaging prototype to get into the head of the consumers,” he says. “They need to think about how office workers are going to interact with the packaging in their day-to-day. Ultimately, this will help improve the product.”

At MTPak Coffee, we offer a range of fully customisable packaging options for specialty coffee roasters, whether supplying to cafés, offices, or directly to consumers. 

Our sustainable pouches come in a selection of sizes and can be fitted with additional components, including degassing valves, resealable zippers, transparent windows, and pouring spouts.

For more information on our sustainable coffee packaging for offices, contact our team here.

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