Custom coffee boxes: What’s the best size for a 250g bag?

Janice Kanniah
May 15, 2023
An image of a custom coffee box made from cardboard, RAVE coffee subscription box, customised coffee box, in an article on which sized Custom coffee boxes are best for 250g coffee bags

The popularity of online ordering and next-day delivery has given rise to a phenomenon many consumers find frustrating. When ordering a small product online, such as a cupping spoon or replacement filter papers, consumers are finding their delivery arrives in a large box filled with unnecessary additional materials, including packaging peanuts or bubble wrap.

While this is semi-understandable for larger businesses such as Amazon, specialty coffee roasters have a unique opportunity to avoid this pitfall. Investing in custom coffee boxes allows roasters to design packaging that houses their products perfectly, while also reflecting the personality of the brand.

More so, roasters can customise the shape and size of their coffee boxes in order to avoid using unnecessary packaging, helping to showcase a commitment to sustainability to consumers. That said, some roasters may be worried using smaller box packaging could result in growing costs and more inconvenience.

Read on to learn more about which box size is best for packaging a 250g (9oz) coffee bag.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Sign up

Why does packaging size matter?

Waste has become a hot topic within several industries and for good reason. Consumers are often bombarded with news about pollution – whether it is researchers investigating how to use air and electricity to break down personal protective equipment (PPE) waste, or a team of volunteers clearing the Himalayas of waste left behind by thousands of annual visitors. Several studies indicate packaging contributes a significant amount of global pollution, and that includes what is commonly referred to as “secondary packaging”. Most items sold online are dispatched to customers’ homes in boxes, with fragile items often padded in additional padding materials.

More so, businesses that are aware of the pitfalls of plastic packaging may assume that, as cardboard is a form of paper, it is an environmentally friendly outer packaging material. In reality, millions of tonnes of paper packaging end up in landfills annually in the USA alone. This has spawned a phenomenon referred to as “over packaging”, which describes the superfluous paper packaging businesses often use to make products seem well-protected and eco-friendly.

A recent study of consumers across the US, UK, and the Netherlands found that when faced with two identical products, many perceived the one additionally wrapped in paper as being more eco-friendly – and were more likely to buy and pay more for it. Additionally, the study found consumers assumed products with more paper packaging, and by extension, a larger outer box, are more eco-friendly. Notably, the more paper that is used, the more eco-friendly a product is perceived to be. It is important to note that this may be due to traditional secondary packaging being made from unsustainable materials such as polystyrene and plastic. The introduction of seemingly “eco-friendly” materials, such as honeycomb kraft paper has shifted consumer perception. It is important to remember that while the renewability of these materials is important, it is the overall need for them that is in question.

An image of a coffee roaster packing a custom coffee box with honeycomb kraft paper as additional packaging in an article on which sized Custom coffee boxes are best for 250g coffee bags

The pitfalls of inappropriate box packaging

The consequences of choosing coffee boxes of the incorrect size often go beyond the additional waste it generates. For many roasters, it can be more cost-effective and practical to buy boxes big enough for larger products and then use them to package many smaller ones. That said, these boxes can take up more property and storage space, possibly delaying the delivery process.

Using less packaging will lower production and procurement costs. According to DHL, most products are packaged in boxes 40% too big for their contents. More so, eliminating the extra space these bigger boxes take up in transit would result in 24 million fewer truckloads annually in the USA alone.

Customers are starting to criticise oversized boxes, as they realise how unnecessary they are and how they can create a negative initial perception that a product is bigger than it is. More so, it can reflect badly on the business for using unethical, yet completely legal, product “shrinkflation”. This is when brands decrease a product’s size without informing customers while keeping its price and packaging the same.

In response to these complaints, global retailer Amazon is reducing its packaging weight per shipment by over 38%, eliminating over 1.5 million tonnes of packaging – which can result in significant savings. In one example, IKEA reduced the packaging size of its sofas by 50%, resulting in savings of over €1.2 million.

An image of a custom coffee box with coffee bags inside, customised coffee box, custom designed coffee boxes, in an article on which sized Custom coffee boxes are best for 250g coffee bags

The best size boxes for your coffee bags

Most roasters package coffee in bags ranging from 200g (7oz) and 250g (8oz), making them suitable for shipping for letterbox delivery and subscription services. Research shows the number of coffee subscription sales have increased by over 109% since 2019. This is a good option to pursue if a roaster’s current sales are stable but not increasing, as it can help the brand reach more customers while reducing the cost of roasting per unit. Furthermore, it eliminates the amount of unsold coffee that ends up being discarded.

Roasters use coffee subscription boxes to sell these. Many roasters choose to deliver these offerings in custom coffee boxes as this helps to differentiate them from other roaster subscription services. Custom coffee boxes can also help roasters introduce limited-edition items to entice customers looking for something unique or rare. They also added protection for coffee bags when paired with quality inner packaging as they have weather and tear-resistant qualities.

An ideal coffee box would be able to house a 250g coffee bag snugly, without constricting it. Corrugated cardboard is a popular coffee box material and is capable of protecting the bags inside. The use of liner boards means roasters can choose a box with a triple wall, which is when three layers are glued between four liner board sheets. Custom coffee boxes can also feature a built-in front-tuck or dust flap closure to prevent them from opening accidentally during delivery.

More so, roasters can choose from a wide range of colour finishes and personalisation techniques in order to clearly and easily communicate branding and ensure it matches the coffee bags inside. It can also tie into other communication platforms and engagement efforts. For example, roasters can create a website or social media quiz that helps consumers choose which coffee to subscribe to, based on palate preferences.

The easiest way to streamline your packaging costs while still benefiting from using custom coffee boxes is to have one packager manage all your packaging needs. As experienced specialty coffee packaging experts, MTPak Coffee offers customisable coffee boxes that can help you achieve a unique and memorable identity for your brand. We offer a range of custom coffee mailer boxes of various sizes to accommodate the mailboxes in your markets. Our custom coffee mailer boxes are made from 100% recycled cardboard and are strong, durable, and weather resistant. These highly customisable and recyclable coffee boxes can be used for ecommerce sales, coffee subscriptions, blind-tasting boxes, and more.

Additionally, we offer a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options made from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining. Choose from our range of coffee bag structures to ensure they fit perfectly into your coffee mailer boxes. All of our coffee packaging options can be fully customised to your specifications, including debossing, embossing, holographic effects, UV spot finishes, and custom printing using digital printing technology. This allows us to offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters, as well as a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.

For more information on custom coffee boxes that can be designed to perfectly house your coffee bags, contact our team.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Sign up
Janice Kanniah
Janice Kanniah

Janice is freelance writer based in South Africa and has written for MTPak Coffee since 2020. Her interests are in writing about sustainability, the circular economy, and the future of the environment.

MTPak recommends