Custom coffee bags that celebrate brand origins: Indah Coffee Company

Maira Kanai-Nasir
February 7, 2024
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After travelling to Sumatra in 2010, Nick Hauser and his wife Stephanie found themselves ditching their clothes and filling their suitcases with green coffee. The pair returned home and began roasting coffee for friends and family using a table-top commercial roaster. 

Then, Nick took the hobby to the local Soda City Market in South Carolina, and began talking about coffee with whoever would listen. After roasting coffee in the garage and delivering it to local cafes, Nick decided to find a real home for his hobby. 

In 2017, Indah Coffee Company found its home an industrial space in downtown Columbia, US. Respecting the history of the building and the businesses that came before it, Indah Coffee Company has incorporated those aspects into its new space. 

I spoke to Nick Hauser, the founder of Indah Coffee Company, about how the brand has cemented itself into the community and uses custom coffee bags to showcase its personality.  

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Indah Coffee Company: A testament to the brand’s roots

Nick recalls how he and his wife were “blown away by how fresh and authentic all the food was” during their excursion through Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.  “Everything was prepared right in front of you and we were loving that,” he says. “But, when we’d order coffee, everything was in a packet.” 

This was why the pair began hunting for a more authentic coffee experience. While in Sumatra, they were introduced to coffee farmers and producers. This resulted in Nick having his first lesson in coffee roasting. “I realised what a truly beautiful experience it was, and that’s where the name ‘Indah’ comes from,” he explains. “The phrase ‘indah’ means ‘beautiful’ in the Bahasa Indonesian language.” 

Back on US soil, Nick began offering freshly roasted coffee from the back of a pick-up truck. “It was fun, I love the community of local farmers’ markets,” he recalls fondly. “I started to get more involved with that local community, meeting interesting people and sharing experiences”.  

These interactions helped build the foundations for Indah Coffee Company. “It was helpful to start at grassroots and farmers’ markets and build those relationships,” Nick says. “That was an insightful experience for us, an invaluable time to learn what worked and what didn’t.”

He adds customers would buy coffee to try at home, and return the next week with valuable feedback. “We offered a few drinks to see what people liked and found out what individual preferences were that way. I didn’t have a background as a barista, so that was a steeper learning curve for me than the roasting.” 

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Finding a space that fits the brand

Having settled in downtown Columbia, surrounded by hip, historic neighbourhoods, Indah Coffee Company aims to be a “space where people connect.” Nick says the brand’s location “helps tell a story. We adopted the business that was here from 1948 to 2017, preserving that history. 

“There’s something about [the fact that] there were businesses here before us,” he adds. “So, instead of saying ‘hey, everything’s new’, we wanted to preserve and up-cycle. We aren’t trying to erase any stories before us, we are trying to tie in [with them] and carry it forward to another generation.” 

Notably, Indah’s coffee shop has won some architectural preservation awards for the way the brand has retained the original architecture. 

Despite settling into a brick-and-mortar space, customers can still find Indah Coffee at the local market. This is because it played such an integral part of the brand journey for Nick. Local coffee lovers frequent the brands solar and battery powered food and coffee truck at the Soda City market. 

“We’re still involved in the same market,” he says proudly. “We went from around 15 to 20 vendors to 180 vendors now. [The market] helped revitalise the downtown area in New South Carolina and it’s been cool to be a part of that.”  

Empowering women in coffee

One aspect of Nick’s visit to Sumatra that still stands out to him is gender inequality in the coffee sector. Research shows that 70% of labour in coffee production is provided by women. However, only about 5 million of the estimated 25 million coffee producers are women. 

“As a father of daughters, it didn’t sit right with me,” he explains. Which is why Indah Coffee Company “typically has between 4 and five female produced coffee at any given time.” Beyond this, the brand recently attended the Producer and Roasters Forum in Columbia. The annual event unites producers, roasters, and other members of the coffee community in coffee-producing countries, and Guatemala will host the 2024 edition

“It was a great experience pairing us up with farms which are sustainable and connecting us with farms in line with things we were looking at,” Nick says. “I was blown away by the level of quality of sustainability and the number of female producers and female-owned farms that are doing cutting-edge things with coffee.” 

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Custom coffee bags that reflect brand values

Parts of Indah’s coffee packaging reflect the same values as its brick-and-mortar space. Inspired by the building’s bricks, Indah’s white coffee bags feature a subtle grey geometric pattern. The logo commands attention, sitting front and centre, while the coffee’s origin shines through the use of custom printed, brightly coloured labels. 

In addition to using compostable coffee bags, the brand encourages customers to bring their own canisters to refill, eliminating packaging altogether. 

Indah Coffee offers single origins, signature blends, and even a roaster’s choice. “Some people have wanted a rotation,” Nick explains. “They want to try different coffees. Some of our customers like variety, while others are very specific. So, [roasters choice] is just us recognising that some people want something new and different.” 

Essentially, it is Nick’s love for the community that drives his business. “There are so many people that have become a part of our lives through coffee. That’s one thing I love about coffee: I loved the community before I developed a palate for coffee,” he laughs. “I love how it brings people together, whether in Munich, Singapore to Istanbul or Chiang Mai. I feel like coffee is that special intersection where people come and catch up with an old friend, or get to know a new one. It brings people together from all walks of life, that daily ritual.”

At MTPak Coffee, we recognise that packaging also plays a huge role in the marketing of your product. It’s important to design packaging that not only protects your coffee, but also reflects your brand identity and stands out on the shelf.

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.

Images courtesy of Indah Coffee Company

For more information on custom coffee packaging, contact our team

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Maira Kanai-Nasir
Maira Kanai-Nasir

Discovering specialty coffee whilst working in Australia, Maira has previously worked in Specialty Coffee as a trainer and coffee product buyer for many years. She currently resides in Dubai, UAE working as a specialty coffee writer, with a strong passion for all things coffee.

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