How coffee packaging can represent more than the brand

Tori Taylor
September 1, 2023
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Coffee packaging not only protects the distinct characteristics of coffee from roastery to consumer, it also promotes the brand and helps to sell the product. Therefore, when designing coffee bags, roasters must use the available branding space as effectively as possible. 

Illustrations on coffee packaging can say as much about the brand as they can about the coffee. They can be used to depict everything from where the coffee is grown to the farmers who grew it. 

In the heavily saturated specialty coffee market, creative packaging design can help attract customers. Ultimately, it can help businesses convey their brand identity in a number of different ways – and stand out from the competition.

One specialty coffee brand that does this effectively is Pacandé Kaffeerösterei, based in Munich, Germany. I spoke to co-founder Ana Schmitz, about the brand’s clever combination of neutral colours and fine line illustration on its packaging.

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Why use illustrations on coffee bags?

In few industries is provenance more important than it is in coffee. In recent years, a growing number of consumers have become eager to learn more about the “story” behind each cup, from who grew it to how it was processed.

A recent study suggests storytelling across product packaging can help customers create an emotional and personal connection with the brand.

Story-driven coffee packaging often displays information about the origin of the coffee, such as the history of coffee production in the region, altitude, and details about the producers. It’s also become common practice for roasters to include the variety and post-harvest processing.

Overall, this offers consumers a few snapshots of different milestones across the coffee value chain. While providing this information can be useful, too much text on a coffee bag can also overwhelm and confuse consumers. 

Illustrations, however, can skilfully encapsulate an origin without taking away from the overall aesthetic of the coffee bag. It can help bring a “human” element to the product while conveying different aspects of the region beyond the coffee.

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Coffee packaging that represents the region

Pacandé Kaffeerösterei exclusively sources microlot coffees from Colombia. The brand’s focus on direct trade has helped it build genuine and mutually beneficial relationships with farmers. It also guarantees traceability for all its coffees. 

“We wanted our brand to express the coffee itself but also share the culture of my beloved country of Colombia,” explains Ana, who runs the brand and roastery alongside her husband, Andreas. “Colombia is not only a producer of some of the most delicious coffees in the world, it’s also rich in biodiversity, landscapes, and folklore.” 

The brand’s flat-bottom coffee bags are cream-white in colour and feature a hidden resealable zipper along the top. Each bag features a bright colour-coded label that displays the coffee variety, the altitude at which it was grown, and a distinct flavour note. Beyond this, the label also features the name of the farm and the producer behind the coffee.

The brand’s logo sits along the top, standing out because of the hot foil stamping technique, while several fine-line illustrations are scattered across the rest of the bag. These illustrations, also in gold, symbolise several facets of Colombian culture. 

“Our bags feature items that are iconic in Colombia,” Ana explains. “Such as the palenqueras from the Caribbean coast and the carriel, which is a special bag people from the known ‘coffee triangle’ region carry every day.”

The bags also feature illustrations of the Jeep Willis, commonly referred to as a yipao. “The car is iconic in the coffee mountains because farmers would use it to transport coffee from their farms into town.” 

Ana adds that the coffee packaging features drawings of several local animals, including the ara papagaj, which is a genus of the macaw, the spider monkey, and the golden frog, or phyllobates terribilis.

“We use gold in our branding to symbolise the gold found in America and Colombia,” explains Ana. “But it gives our coffee a touch of elegance and style. As we only offer specialty coffee, we feel like our packaging needs to display the value of our product.”

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A commitment to educating those in specialty coffee

Another way Pacandé Kaffeerösterei is offering customers value for money is by reducing its carbon footprint. 

“We are ‘green’ roasters,” Ana says. “We do our part to protect the environment and minimise our carbon footprint however we can.”

The team uses a Loring, as its design allows them to roast the coffee while post-treating the smoke. This results in clean and efficient roasting with low carbon emissions. 

Beyond this, the brand is committed to educating those interested in specialty coffee. Pacandé offers several workshops to help improve sensory skills, as well as teaching attendees how to dial in espresso and brew filter coffee using different methods.

Education is a key component of third wave coffee culture. As well as improving consumers’ appreciation of specialty coffee, it also helps to shorten the supply chain and bring stakeholders closer together. 

At MTPak Coffee, we have a wealth of information on our Education Centre, with content covering coffee sector trends, sustainability, roasting, and much more. We also work with specialty coffee roasters from all around the world, providing sustainable packaging services that range from concept and design to manufacturing, printing, and delivery.

Our team can also help you create a coffee bag that shows off your illustrated designs in the best light. With high-quality digital printing methods and vibrant water-based inks that are low in VOCs, we can make your illustrations jump off the shelf and grab the attention they deserve.

We also have a range of sustainable materials to choose from, including kraft paper, rice paper, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polylactic acid (PLA). Each can be applied to different pouch structures, from side gusset bags to stand-up pouches.

You can also add a number of components to improve the convenience and usability of the bag without compromising its eco-friendly credentials. Our BPA-free degassing valves and resealable zippers are fully recyclable, meaning they can be disposed of along with recyclable packaging materials.

Images from Pacandé Kaffeerösterei

For information about our customisable coffee bags, contact our team.

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