How to design packaging for cold brew coffee

Amelia Cooper
July 13, 2022
cold brew coffee packaging

The specialty coffee sector thrives on innovation, ingenuity, and creativity – and one beverage that encapsulates all this is cold brew coffee.

Roasters and baristas around the world are constantly experimenting with coffee varieties and brew styles. It is this diversity that is one of the key drivers behind the sector’s success. 

As a unique brewing method, cold brew coffee helps furthers the artistry of specialty coffee and makes it more accessible to the general public.

Cold brew coffee not only allows roasters and coffee shops to get a share of this thriving market, but presents an opportunity to tap into a wider audience. In turn, this may help build a stronger brand identity and greater product mindshare.

Read on to find out how to design effective and aesthetic packaging for cold brew coffee offerings. 

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Close up image of male barista pouring milk into cold brew coffee with dark black bottle beside it.

Why should you offer cold brew coffee?

In recent years, the popularity of cold brew coffee has skyrocketed.

It has risen from a small corner of the market to become one of the most popular trends across the specialty coffee sector.

Notably, the US cold brew coffee market alone is predicted to reach a value of $944 billion by 2025. It appears the trend is well on course, as the market is growing at a compound rate of 25.1% annually, from 2019 until 2025.

The cold brew coffee trend is, by and large, fuelled by Gen Z and Millennial consumers.

Essentially, it is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for between 12 and 24 hours, allowing for a low and slow extraction process.

Preparing it in this way achieves cold brew’s trademark sweetness, low acidity, and smooth mouthfeel. Furthermore, it allows the full variety of the coffee’s flavours to shine through.

Additionally, cold brew provides the ideal ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee. For consumers, it is convenient and offers the ideal alternative to their usual coffee during the hotter months.

For roasters and coffee shops, the popularity of cold brew allows them to open new revenue streams and introduce their products to a wider, younger audience. Offering cold brew coffee can show customers how innovative and forward thinking the business is.

Roasters and coffee shops can offer their cold brew coffee in aluminium cans or serve it in takeaway cups. Either way, it can be prepared and served almost instantaneously.

Additionally, choosing to offer canned cold brew coffee allows roasters to branch out and sell it to other outlets, such as supermarkets and restaurants.

Image of glass bottle of cold brew coffee next to glass of cold brew with milk being poured into glass.

How to package cold brew coffee

Much like soft drinks and alcohol, cold brew coffee can be packaged in a variety of ways.

Each type of packaging offers its own pros and cons. Therefore, the best fit will largely depend on the roasters and coffee shops operations, and the outlets in which the cold brew is sold.

Typically, cold brew coffee is most commonly packaged in one of five ways.

Glass bottles

Glass bottles provide an affordable option that can be conveniently outsourced to a packaging company.

More so, glass bottles are infinitely recyclable – making them highly sustainable. That said, they come with a risk of breaking during transit and storage.

If this happens, it may present a serious health and safety hazard, which may take considerable time to clean up. If the glass were to shatter, pieces may end up mixing with stored coffee beans.

In turn, this may compromise a large quantity of product, and result in profits loss. Therefore, it is essential that glass cold brew bottles are stored correctly: they should be placed in a cool environment and roasters should avoid stacking crates on top of one another.

Image of cold brew coffee available on tap.

Aluminium cans

Another type of packaging that can be readily recycled is aluminium cans.

While this may require outsourcing, using aluminium cans can be an effective way to improve a business’s sustainability standards.

More so, roasters and coffee shops can create bold, stylish packaging that is firmly on-brand. Logos and branded elements are easily displayed on aluminium cans, and can accurately reflect bright colours and high detail.

Adding these aesthetic touches can help increase the likelihood of a supermarket or restaurant choosing to sell and display the offering in their outlets.

Flexible pouches

One of the more unusual forms of packaging used for cold brew coffee are flexible pouches.

Flexible pouches make cold brew more fun to drink, which instantly appeals to younger generations, who tend to post unusual products on their social media platforms.

Plus, they are a convenient option that customers can fit into their bags and take to an event or picnic.


For those who choose to serve cold brew on tap, barrels are an ideal option.

Barrels have a unique aesthetic that can help reinforce the artisan appeal of specialty coffee. Additionally, as they are more convenient to transport, there is limited risk of the packaging breaking.

Furthermore, they are environmentally friendly as they are made from natural resources such as wood.

One drawback to using barrels for cold brew coffee is that they are not commonly suited for selling in supermarkets or other outlets.


Lastly, cartons also translate well to cold brew coffee products, as they are one of the more affordable options.

Additionally, they are easy to stack and transport, and are more difficult to break or burst. From a sustainability view, they are an easy to recycle option, as they are often made from paper or cardboard.

That said, some may argue that the sense of luxury is lost when drinking from a paper carton, which may make it difficult to sell cold brew at a premium price point. After all, one of cold brew coffee’s largest strengths and appeals is its Instagram potential.

Close up image of cold brew coffee with multilayer kraft paper coffee pouch in background.

Designing packaging for cold brew coffee

Once a roaster has decided on the packaging material for their cold brew, they must create a design that will appeal to the market.

Obviously, different packaging materials will have their own design requirements. For instance, cold brew coffee sold in glass bottles or barrels will require stick on labels.

On the other hand, aluminium cans, flexible pouches, and cartons allow for roasters to print designs directly onto the packaging material. For these options, the design will need to go across the entire packaging, rather than just a rectangular label.

As a result, the design will need to include various different visual elements, such as typography, illustrations, and logos. It must also convey the coffee’s origins, tasting notes, serving recommendations, and a best before date.

Additionally, roasters will need to ensure the overall layout works across the chosen packaging material without looking distorted, and the colour is consistent.

Close up image of old brew coffee in glass cups beside multilayer kraft paper coffee bag.

A key consideration is how the printed design on cold brew coffee packaging may be damaged. It is highly likely the packaging will come into contact with moisture, condensation, cold temperatures, and scratches during transit.

Partnering with a packaging supplier that can seal in the design and ensure it is both water and scratch proof can help minimise the risks of damage.

By investing time and consideration into these elements, roasters can ensure their cold brew coffee captures consumer attention and stands out in a crowded marketplace.

At MTPak Coffee, we offer a range of packaging services, including the design and manufacture of labels for your cold brew bottles and cartons. 

We use eco-friendly digital printing methods and sustainable water-based inks to reduce energy emissions, providing you with a low carbon footprint product.

Our range of recyclable coffee packaging is made from renewable materials such as kraft paper and rice paper, and includes LDPE and PLA-lined bags. 

For more information on sustainable packaging options for cold brew coffee, contact our team. 

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