Is it worth customising the interior of coffee boxes?

Maira Kanai-Nasir
February 28, 2024
coffee boxes, coffee subscription boxes, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, Kolibri Coffee

Competition between brands in the specialty coffee market is skyrocketing. Notably, research shows that the global coffee roaster market is projected to reach $3.18 billion by 2029. To stand out, coffee businesses must find innovative ways to engage with their customers. 

As a result, custom-printed coffee boxes have become an increasingly popular form of packaging within the industry. Commonly used for subscription services, blind tastings, or gift bundles, coffee boxes offer additional protection for the beans. Beyond this, they provide additional space for customisation, branding, and product information.

Additionally, customers often perceive custom coffee boxes as more luxurious products, which can help justify a higher price point. So how far can brands take customisation, and is it worth personalising the interior of coffee boxes?

To find out, I spoke to Wilford Lamastus Jr from Sisu Coffee Studios, Stephany Marmolejo and Darius Karremans from Kolibri Coffee Roasters, and Tom Saxon of Batch Coffee Club

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Why invest in custom coffee boxes?

Searches for ‘coffee subscription box’, ‘best coffee subscription services’, and ‘coffee gift subscriptions’ highlight the growing popularity of this convenient and personalised coffee experience.

Stephany and Darius, the founders of Kolibri Coffee Roasters in The Netherlands, recall being one of the first brands to introduce coffee boxes to the region in 2021. “At the beginning, we wanted to bring something different to the market. Now, everyone has a box,” the pair laugh. 

Custom printed coffee boxes provide a unique way for customers to identify a brand. In addition to including the brand’s logo, custom coffee boxes can be tailored to the individual customer’s preferences and needs. This can help to create a strong sense of brand loyalty and promote repeat sales. 

It is the “first impression a customer has about your product,” Stephany explains. “If they see your product in a positive way, they will have a good impression of what they are buying. It represents the brand as well as the quality of the product. The box itself is a big representation of what we want to show as a brand.”

Wilford Jr, the founder of Sisu Coffee Studios and a 4th generation coffee producer in Lamastus Family Estates, believes the specialty coffee industry is evolving. “Specialty coffee is starting to open up to a new public, a public who like specialty food, like free range and organic and will pay more for it. In specialty coffee, we need to start studying those consumers and packaging is the first place to start.”  

coffee boxes, coffee subscription boxes, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, KBatch Coffee Club

Coffee boxes: Should you customise the interior?

Customising the interior of coffee boxes comes with multiple benefits. Tom Saxon, the founder of Batch Coffee Club in the UK, believes customisation can be a powerful marketing strategy. “[Customisation is important] from both a branding and sales perspective. It’s nice to have a message inside the box,” says. “I once saw something at the bottom of the box underneath the bags, which is a bit of a surprise once you have consumed the product.”

‘Welcome to the cup’ adorns the side of every Batch Coffee box. “It’s a cool little aspect we added for that personal touch. We also include a little bit of content within the box, in the form of coffee flavour wheels or guides. Adding extra value or free content within the box, such as ‘how to guide’ is a nice addition.” 

Wilford Jr explains that a large number of his customers buy coffee as gifts. Customising the interior of coffee boxes for this purpose can add value to the product. “When purchasing a gift, customers want something that is more special.”

While customisation can increase the elegance of a product, overdoing it on the interior may limit how the boxes can be used. For example customising the interior of a coffee box for a limited edition bag of three coffees would mean that packaging can’t be used for other collections. 

Wiford Jr suggests an alternative of using inserts on coffee bags which can “communicate different information which changes over time but still provide a premium feel.”

Interestingly, both Stephany and Darius point out the importance of location when it comes to customising coffee boxes. “Printing on interior flaps might give added value, but [customisation] should be an area where you know a customer will look.”

coffee boxes, coffee subscription boxes, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, Kolibri Coffee

What to consider when customising coffee boxes

When customising coffee boxes, there are a few factors to consider, starting with material. 

Wilford Jr, who majority, uses compostable coffee packaging, emphasises that “customising is not just the print, the material is just as important. You want something strong to provide a premium feel.”

“We have to find balance between that high end look and feel, and [sustainability],” he adds. For Wilford Jr, the look, feel and recyclability/compostability is most important while cost can be worked around. 

In parallel, Stephany and Darius tell us that the first thing they had thought about when customising their boxes was “creating something compostable or recyclable.” The pair also believe that the brand message is key in customisation. 

For example, the coffee packaging for Kolibri Coffee features a Colibri bird, which lives in the same surrounding climate as the coffee, “It has a connotation that we support a lot of sustainable and organic coffee plantations which take care of nature around them.” The pair add that custom coffee boxes can also feature information “about the company, how they can interact with you, and details about social media accounts.” 

Batch Coffee Club offers 100% compostable coffee bags. Tom explains this meant having to ensure the materials could withstand “the UK transit system and the courier service. It has turned out very well. I think it’s important to reduce plastic use and make everything more eco friendly.” 

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the importance of creating a memorable customer experience. We offer corrugated coffee boxes made from recycled cardboard. With their high level of strength, durability, and weather resistance, coupled with our wide range of size options, these coffee boxes are the perfect solution to support your business. 

Our talented design team is on hand to help customise the interior of coffee boxes, as well as the coffee bags that go inside. We have 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. These will fit perfectly into your coffee subscription 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. 

Images courtesy of Kolibri Coffee Roasters, and Batch Coffee Club

For more information on custom coffee boxes, contact our team.

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