From coffee bags to roast profiles: The benefits of customer feedback

Esther Gibbs
February 16, 2024
coffee bags, custom coffee bags, coffee packaging, coffee bag sleeves, belly bands for coffee bags, Kota Coffee Co.

The majority of roasteries are launched by one person or a diminutive team. Logistically, this may be manageable until the business scales up. However, coffee roasters may run into some problems because of a lack of feedback from others. 

Feedback from team members and consumers can affect several aspects of a business. This includes the design of coffee bags, the types of coffee the brand sources, and even how they’re roasted. 

Customer feedback is essential for brands to learn what their target market thinks of its product and services. If coffee roasters can identify what customers find important, they can react faster, more flexibly, and more effectively to changes in the market and consumer expectations and needs.  

To better understand the importance of customer feedback, and how it helps in the design of a brand’s coffee bags, I spoke to Daniel Neaves, the owner of Kota Coffee Co

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How customer feedback can help build your business

Daniel launched Kota Coffee Co. in the UK in 2023. Notably, he has already identified several difficulties in gathering objective feedback beyond his own preferences. “I recognise that in being a ‘one-man-band’ I’m only using my palate, and I don’t have feedback loops beyond that,” he says.

“I do work with a few local baristas,” he adds. “I give them samples to ask for feedback which has been quite effective. However, I wanted to see if I could scale that and make it more community focussed.” 

Community lies at the heart of Kota, and is Daniel’s driving force to make specialty coffee more accessible and exclusive. “I guess that’s where we sit [as a brand], bridging the gap and building trust,” he says. He adds that the brand attends local farmers’ markets to interact with the community and talk to people. 

“I can explain to customers that they may be used to some of the flavours in a coffee but may come across something new. I ask them to look out for this new characteristic, and encourage them to continue exploring if they enjoy it,” he says. “That’s kind of how we have been approaching it. It resonates really nicely in the community.”

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Using consumer feedback to manage expectations

It’s essential for every coffee businesses to have a sensory team that conducts regular tastings. It’s crucial for product development, quality control, and general feedback. However, for small roasteries, it can be difficult to gather such a panel.

As a result, Kota Coffee is trialling a ‘Founders Club’. The aim is to gather coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts to be a sounding board and sensory evaluation team for the business. 

“First and foremost, I want it to be a safe haven for people to talk about coffee: trends, brewing, any topic they’re interested in,” Daniel explains. “But I also want them to talk about my coffee specifically. What they’re tasting in it, if there are any elements they don’t like, and what they would like to see in our lineup.”

He explains that he wants to “hear it all, good and bad. I want to get as much information as I can and disseminate it to work out the company direction.” Daniel adds that he hopes the process will make people feel like they’re part of the roastery. 

When selling coffee online, there can be a disconnect between the consumer and the person behind the business. This is often aggravated by a growing culture of instant gratification and ‘next day delivery’. 

Beyond this, larger retailers, such as Amazon, have become increasingly prevalent in people’s lives. This has led to the assumption that everything behind the scenes is run mechanically. Interestingly, complaints and expectations from customers online are different to those from a personal relationship with a shop-keeper. 

‘We are only small producers, and we cannot compete with the infrastructure these larger businesses have,” Daniel says. “On the other hand, people want artisanal products. They want something small batch, hand-made, and unique–they want to feel like they’ve found something special.” 

Having a community-based feedback loop allows Kota to bring humanity back into the transaction, as well as give customers the opportunity to be involved in decision making. 

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Designing coffee bags that appeal to all customers

While packaging used to serve only to transport, store, and protect products, it has now become one of the most important marketing tools at a brand’s disposal. Known as the “secret salesman”, it can be used to entice customers, reflect brand values, and influence expectations of a product.

Kota’s coffee bags are bright and vibrant, instantly catching the attention of consumers online or at the local farmers market. The brand uses white flat bottom coffee bags with custom printed belly bands, also known as coffee bag sleeves

Once the coffee bags are carefully folded over, the colourful sleeves slip on easily. Made from recyclable cardboard, each sleeve features a bold combination of colours and graphics that depict the coffee’s flavour notes. The crisp white colour of the coffee bags ensure each sleeve stands out. More importantly, Kota’s coffee bags are lightweight and easy for consumers to carry home from the local market, which is what consumers want. 

The community that Kota Coffee is trying to build through its Founder Club will be essential in getting valid and direct feedback for other aspects of the business too. This includes sustainability projects, any packaging redesigns, as well as purchasing decisions.

It’s important to remember that gathering customer feedback is an innovative way to develop a brand and its community. When making large decisions, it’s important for business owners to gather as much research as possible to ensure they’re doing what customers want. As coffee consumers are demanding sustainable coffee packaging, that should be one of the first areas of investigation. 

At MTPak Coffee, we recognise that packaging design plays a monumental role in the marketing of your product. It’s important to design coffee bags that not only protect the coffee but also reflect your brand identity and stand out among competitors.

Our team of expert designers can help you create the perfect packaging for your coffee with sustainable materials, water-based inks, and recyclable components. It means that if your brand does go viral, it will be represented in the best way possible, both online and on the shelves.

Plus, we offer a wide range of fully customisable eco-friendly coffee packaging options, from compostable and biodegradable bags to fully recyclable additions like zippers and degassing valves. 

Images courtesy of Kota Coffee Co

For more information on custom printed coffee bags, contact our team. 

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