How do you apply matte laminate to sustainable coffee bags?

Antonio Salles
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December 19, 2023
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Within the competitive landscape of specialty coffee, where fragrant beans and bold aesthetics battle for shelf space, your choice of packaging finish holds remarkable power. 

While glossy surfaces tend to demand attention with their vibrant shine, a new contender whispers an air of subtle sophistication: matte laminate. But, how does a matte laminate help transform sustainable coffee bags into elegant ambassadors of your brand?

To explore the unique sensory experience of matte laminate on coffee packaging, I spoke with Lachlan Robinson of Full Circle Coffee Roasters in Australia. 

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Packaging finishes: Matte laminate on coffee bags

A packaging finish, also known as a coating, is often used to protect the ink from scratches, dirt, and fingerprints. Beyond this, they act as a protective layer, shielding the aromatic essence of coffee beans from the detrimental effects of moisture, light, and oxygen. 

In addition to its functional role, a packaging finish can also be a storyteller. When combined with sustainable coffee bags, laminates can help convey a brand’s personality to consumers.

The choice of finish is nuanced, with each option influencing how the coffee is perceived. For instance, a matte packaging laminate is characterised by its velvety feel and understated charm. 

Glossy finishes boldly demand attention and convey a modern, vibrant appeal. Conversely, matte laminates weave a tale of elegance and luxury. The soft, non-reflective texture invites tactile exploration, evoking a sense of timeless sophistication. 

The choice between glossy and matte finishes resembles a tale of two textures, each conveying a distinct mood and personality. Matte laminate is a common choice in packaging finishes. It is often favoured for its perceived classic appeal, making it an ideal choice for brands that wish to convey a sense of luxury without ‘shouting’. 

Matte laminate is also incredibly versatile. It can be used on coffee bags crafted from kraft paper, rice paper, low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and transparent polyethylene (PE). 

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How is a matte laminate applied to sustainable coffee bags?

The process of applying matte laminate to sustainable coffee bags involves careful consideration of the chosen packaging material. During the pre-production phase, the attention is focused on the design and print aspects involving sustainable packaging materials. 

This is a critical step that establishes the visual tone. Therefore, it demands a strategic approach to colour selection that considers compatibility with matte laminates to avoid the colours being subdued. A key decision involves selecting the right matte laminate film, which will be contingent on its compatibility with the bag material.

Sustainability factors come into play, especially when opting for biodegradable or compostable films. The chosen film, with its microscopic texture, becomes the vessel for the velvety allure that matte laminate imparts to the coffee bag. 

The pre-production phase lays the foundation for harmonising design and material, ensuring that the selected matte laminate enhances the bag’s visual appeal while aligning with its sustainable identity.

Lachlan, the owner of Full Circle Coffee Roasters, has worked in the industry for over three years. When it comes to coffee packaging, he explains that “it generally depends on the look you are going for.”

“Some challenges may include matching up a sticker label with the finish on the bag or whether or not the bag is recyclable,” he adds. “Matte, gloss, kraft paper… I think they all work in much the same way. Personally, I think a matte finish always looks best.”

Application stage

A matte laminate is applied to coffee bags through a series of meticulously executed steps to ensure precision and cohesion in the final product. It begins with die-cutting. The printed material and matte laminate film undergo shaping and sizing, sculpting them into the desired configuration for the coffee bag. 

Following this, the adhesive application becomes critical. This is where a heat-activated adhesive is carefully applied to the back of the matte laminate film. The adhesive’s compatibility with the film and the chosen bag material is paramount to the success of the lamination process.

These efforts culminate in the laminating stage, where the printed material and laminate film converge and pass through a laminating machine. Heat and pressure are applied precisely, activating the adhesive and forging a permanent bond between the two layers. 

Subsequently, the laminated bag may undergo a curing process, ensuring the adhesive fully sets, solidifying the strength of the bond.

Finishing stage

As the process advances into the finishing stage, gusseting and sealing take centre stage. Particularly if the bag design incorporates side gussets. This phase also encompasses the final sealing of the top or bottom of the bag, bringing the entire structure together seamlessly.

Sustainability considerations take centre stage as well. “Sustainability is important and we should be making every effort to reduce single-use items,” Lachlan adds. 

Biodegradable and compostable laminate films and adhesives offer an environmentally conscious alternative, aligning seamlessly with the ethos of sustainable coffee packaging. Each chosen bag material necessitates a specific laminate film and application technique for optimal adhesion and performance.

Ultimately, the successful application of matte laminate culminates in coffee bags that not only exude visual elegance but also embody a responsible approach to packaging. 

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Matte laminate on sustainable coffee bags: What to consider

Choosing the right finish for your sustainable coffee packaging involves two essential considerations: colour and compatibility.

It is essential to ensure your matte laminate film seamlessly integrates with your chosen bag material. Biodegradable films might require specific adhesives or temperature adjustments during lamination. Porous materials, such as kraft paper, demand additional attention to surface texture for optimal adhesion and appearance. Pre-production testing and trials are crucial for guaranteeing a flawless finish.

Remember, matte finishes tend to subdue colours compared to glossy options. If your brand thrives on vibrant hues, consider a bolder colour palette or explore printing techniques that enhance vibrancy on matte surfaces. 

Matte laminate invites and intrigues. It’s a secret handshake with your customer, a shared appreciation for understated elegance and mindful choices. MTPak Coffee understands the need to offer high-quality, attractive coffee packaging that is also sustainable. Our range of packaging options is made from renewable materials. Our coffee boxes are made using recycled cardboard, while our sustainable coffee bags are made using kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

Our coffee bags and coffee boxes can be customised to reflect your brand’s characteristics, as well as vital information about your product. MTPak Coffee offers a wide range of customisation techniques, including spot UV with a glossy, satin, or matte finish, embossing and debossing, as well as hot foil stamping in a variety of colours.

Images courtesy of Full Circle Coffee Roasters

For more information on packaging finishes for sustainable coffee bags, contact our team.

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