From launch to PRF Gold Sponsor: The MTPak Coffee journey so far

Tori Taylor
May 23, 2022
From launch to PRF Gold Sponsor: The MTPak Coffee journey so far

In 2016, the number of specialty coffee brands in Asia increased rapidly, inspiring Mark Zhou to start MTPak Coffee to provide roasters with the perfect packaging for their product. 

Six years later, his company is one of the most widely recognised coffee packaging providers in the industry. To date, the company directly supplies thousands of roasters from Europe and Africa to North America and Australasia. 

Inspired by the coffee industry’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, Mark’s aim was to offer high-quality custom printed coffee bags made from recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable materials.

In doing so, MTPak Coffee is helping the industry work towards its goal of creating a circular economy, and allowing specialty roasters to reach their customers like never before. Additionally, the company has become a Gold Sponsor of the annual Producer & Roaster Forum (PRF Colombia).

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White multilayer kraft paper coffee bag with red and yellow label on wooden counter beside a coffee grinder and blue mug.

Expanding the scope of sustainability

After cementing its place in the Shanghai market, Mark turned his attention to expanding MTPak Coffee’s operations abroad. 

In 2017, Mark’s brother joined the team to help oversee operations in the domestic market, while marketing director Jack Zhai worked on expanding the business overseas. As a result, offices opened in both Europe and Australia. 

As operations expanded and their client portfolio grew, more people were eager to join the team. The sales department alone grew from just three people to over 40 employees within a few years – and specialty roasters were taking note. 

One of the driving forces behind this growth was the desire to offer fully sustainable coffee packaging. As concerns over the environmental impact of plastic coffee bags grew, so did the calls for more eco-friendly alternatives. 

As a result, MTPak Coffee prioritised their offerings of biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable pouches. They placed a strong focus on materials such as kraft paper and polylactic acid (PLA), sourced recyclable degassing valves, and secured certifications from TÜV Austria.

Mark’s goal is to achieve a circular economy within the coffee industry so resources are in constant use. Additionally, they want to help specialty roasters reduce their carbon footprints.  

Many brands have stated their intentions to become carbon neutral by 2050, and sustainable packaging is an essential part of reaching that target. This plays into MTPak Coffee’s vision of being part of something bigger than themselves. 

“We’re more than just a packaging company,” Mark says. “We’re part of the wider coffee community.”

Screenshot of MTPak Coffee Education Centre

Knowledge for all through our Education Centre 

The company’s growing popularity saw MTPak Coffee implement a new marketing strategy in 2019. 

In addition to scaling their facilities, the company added a complete range of coffee bags and pouches, as well as drip filter coffee bags to their product line. 

More so, they expanded into offering customised eco-friendly packaging labels, sustainable takeaway cups, and coffee boxes. 

Coupled with this, MTPak Coffee launched their newly designed website that caters specifically to those working in the coffee sector. 

Notably, the website features an Education Centre: a free resource featuring essential information around sustainability, transparency, relationship coffee, and community-building. 

The Education Centre provides coffee professionals with unlimited access to a range of articles, with new content delivered each week. Topics include packaging innovations and design, roasting advice, sustainable practices across the coffee supply chain, as well as coffee trends around the world.

Additionally, the website highlights the growing list of MTPak ambassadors from across the globe. These include barista champions, sustainability experts, head roasters, and green coffee buyers. 

With expertise across the coffee supply chain, these individuals regularly contribute vital information to the Education Centre.

Image of HP Indigo 25K Digital Press Green printing technology

Diving into Green technology

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, MTPak Coffee were quick to adapt its offerings in order to help roasters and cafe owners stay afloat. 

The addition of drip coffee bags catered to the growing number of at-home coffee consumers. Additionally, their multilayer coffee pouches were redesigned to survive the journey from the roastery to the consumer.

To ease consumer concerns over hygiene, MTPak Coffee introduced their CleanCup: a fully compostable takeaway cup specifically designed for specialty coffee roasters and coffee shops. 

Developed with the help of professional cup tasters, certified Q graders, and environmental experts, CleanCup preserves the distinct characteristics of coffee, while being easy to recycle at local facilities.

To overcome the problems of traditional printing methods by improving efficiency and making customisable packaging available to small-batch roasters, MTPak Coffee has invested in the HP Indigo 25K Digital Press.

Rather than plates or cylinders, the HP Indigo relies on liquid electrophotography (LEP) technology, a form of digital printing that can apply water-based inks to a range of sustainable substrates.

These substrates include recyclable and biodegradable materials, such as kraft paper, rice paper, polylactic acid (PLA), and low-density polyethylene (LDPE).

This machine is the latest in green printing technology and promises to reduce turnaround times and contribute to a circular economy. In addition, it offers fully customisable coffee packaging to micro roasters and those looking for low minimum order quantities (MOQs)

Purple and white image with text MTPak PRF Colombia 2022 Proud Sponsors

Going for gold at the Producer & Roaster Forum

As part of its goal to promote direct relationships throughout the coffee supply chain, MTPak Coffee became a Gold Sponsor of the Producer and Roaster Forum in 2020. 

The two-day event drew coffee professionals from all around the world, including over 175 Latin American smallholder farmers. Attendees were able to take part in training and networking events that taught them how to negotiate with coffee buyers from over 40 countries. 

PRF is one of the industry’s most impactful coffee events held in a producing country,  and is a valuable opportunity for international coffee producers and roasters to network, establish business relationships, partnerships, and gain global market insights.

This year, the event will be held at Plaza Mayor in Medellín, Colombia, and will involve two full days of networking, workshops, cuppings, and roundtable discussions.

As a Gold Sponsor, MTPak Coffee has committed to the success of PRF Colombia 2022. In return, the company will enjoy significant marketing both in the buildup to and throughout the event.

Gold sponsorship is limited to two sponsors and includes a comprehensive marketing package, as well as exclusive benefits at the forum itself.

MTPak Coffee will have dedicated representatives at PRF Colombia, with whom visitors can speak to find out more about sustainable packaging and its importance to the future of the coffee industry.

The company will be looking to spark conversations about everything from carbon neutrality to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, while explaining how to make the switch to recyclable and compostable products. 

Furthermore, they will also receive 15 tickets to share among employees and valued clients to help further the roaster community.

PRF also offers roasters an Origin Trip Experience. This four-day expedition places guests with local coffee producers, giving them hands-on experience with production, processing, and trade in Colombia.

MTPak Coffee is incredibly excited to play such an important role at PRF Colombia. We hope that our continued commitment to the event will encourage more and more roasters to take part in the conversations it aims to ignite.

Don’t miss out on the world’s largest producer-focused coffee event. Register for tickets today.

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