While a roaster’s expertise and attention to detail during a roast are crucial, it is the decisions they make after that determine how fresh the coffee will stay, and for how long.
After the roasting process, an important chemical change takes place within coffee, which is often referred to as “degassing”. This is the inherent breakdown of the sugars that form various compounds.
One of these compounds is carbon dioxide (CO2), which gradually leaks from roast coffee. This is just one compound that is filled with aromas, flavours and other important chemicals that give coffee its unique characteristics.
Roasters have several ways to help preserve coffee freshness and prevent it from going stale or losing valuable compounds as it releases CO2 over time. One of the most effective ways is to use coffee bags that are fitted with one-way degassing valves.
That said, the use of one-way degassing valves in coffee packaging will be determined by certain factors, such as the volume of coffee being packaged, and whether the coffee is ground or whole-bean.
Read on to learn whether you need one-way degassing valves for roast whole-bean coffee.
One-way degassing valves: A small system with a big impact
The degassing of freshly roasted whole-bean coffee begins the moment the beans leave the roaster.
This means that as the coffee cools, important and volatile gases that were absorbed during the roast are already escaping the beans. These compounds often contain the flavour and aromatic nuances which make up the fuller characteristics of the coffee.
Degassing continues throughout a coffee’s packaging, grinding, and consumption. As consumer demand for fresh coffee continues to increase, so does the importance of degassing valves.
In essence, a one-way degassing valve is a small mechanism usually found at the back of coffee bags. It is designed to help release trapped gas from within the coffee bag without allowing oxygen to enter.
They are usually included on the inside of coffee packaging with small holes on the outside to allow the CO2 to seep out. This provides an aesthetic look that can also be used to smell the aroma of the coffee prior to purchase.
Today, more so than ever, degassing valves play a vital part in the preservation of coffee, helping to extend the shelf life of the product.
In recent years, the use of one-way degassing valves has become one of the most crucial preventative measures to help preserve valuable volatiles and reduce the oxidation process of coffee.
Additionally, one-way degassing valves help roasters implement a process of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) through gas flushing.
Gas flushing is when roasters inject gas into the coffee bag before sealing it. Nitrogen is traditionally used for coffee as it is an asphyxiant gas and inert. This means it is ideal to use in this context as it will slow the oxidation of the coffee.
The popularity of one-way degassing valves in coffee bags
The degassing valve market has grown steadily since its introduction in the 1960s.
During that time, degassing valves were considered a luxury item that only a handful of roasteries could afford.
Today, the degassing valve market is worth more than $140 million in 2022 and is predicted to reach $215 million by 2031 as sales continue to grow.
The demand for fresh coffee that has a longer shelf life has doubled the demand for degassing valves, which in turn, has made them more cost-effective to produce.
Instead of stockpiling small batches, manufacturers can produce degassing valves in bulk. This has helped reduce the costs for both individual valves and coffee packaging itself.
Ongoing development and innovation for sustainable degassing valves and recyclable coffee packaging has seen more environmentally friendly options become available.
Additionally, sustainable degassing valves are also available. Produced using injection-moulded bioplastics made from renewable resources, such as crops, recyclable degassing valves have the same properties as plastics without the environmental impact.
They can help conserve fossil fuels, reduce your carbon footprint, and communicate your commitment to sustainability.
When added to recyclable or compostable packaging materials, such as kraft paper with a polylactic acid (PLA) laminate, sustainable degassing valves offer customers a fully sustainable coffee pouch.
Do you need one-way degassing valves for roast whole-bean coffee?
Research shows that without proper packaging, whole-bean coffee can have a shorter shelf life and may end up tasting stale.
One-way degassing valves can not only help preserve the freshness of roast whole-bean coffee but also secure its quality of flavour for a longer period.
Fitting degassing valves into coffee bags can provide customers with unlimited access to fresh specialty coffee. A consistently fresh, well-roasted product will encourage consumers to continue purchasing said coffee from your roastery.
With new tools and resources coming onto the market, coffee roasters have the chance to invest in more sustainable business practices.
Switching to recyclable degassing valves and sustainable coffee packaging is one of the most effective ways roasters can begin to reduce their carbon footprint.
At MTPak Coffee, we offer roasters the option to fit their coffee bags with fully recyclable, BPA-free degassing valves, as well s traditional one-way degassing valves.
In addition to being versatile, lightweight, and affordable, our valves can be fitted to our entire range of sustainable coffee packaging options.
Roasters can choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining, all of which minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.
Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging.
Plus, we are able to custom-print coffee bags using innovative digital printing technology, with a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.
MTPak Coffee also offers low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.