How brands use custom coffee bags to showcase identity

Tori Taylor
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February 20, 2024
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Statistics show there are over 8,000 branded coffee chains in the UK alone. Additionally, a recent poll found 72% of consumers say packaging design influences their purchasing decisions. With competition rising within the specialty coffee sector, brands must find innovative ways to stand out. 

Custom coffee bags can be tailored to not only protect the distinct characteristics of the coffee but also showcase the brand’s identity and personality. Using the right combination of colour, typography, and logo on coffee packaging can make a brand instantly recognisable and help to share its ideologies. 

To gain a better understanding of how brands are highlighting personality through custom coffee packaging, I spoke to the co-founder of Pacandé Kaffeerösterei, Ana Schmitz, and Namrata Asthana, the co-founder of Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters

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Defining ‘custom’ coffee packaging

Essentially, custom packaging is designed specifically for a company and product. It is designed to contain the product perfectly, raise brand awareness, and ensure customer satisfaction. The size and shape of the packaging can be altered, as well as the design of its exterior. 

Regardless of their dimensions or design, most custom coffee bags will feature the same essential information. Most importantly, this should include a brand name, as well as flavour notes, the coffee’s origins, a roast date, and a roast profile. Some coffee bags also specify whether the contents can be used for espresso or drip preparation.

Custom coffee bags may also include additional information, such as the coffee’s processing methods, growing altitude, or information about the farmers and producers. 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. 

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Showcasing brand identity through custom coffee bags

Pacandé Kaffeerösterei, based in Munich, Germany, 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 co-founder Ana Schmitz, 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.

“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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Custom coffee bags with a cultural flair

Through 11 years of operations, Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters has celebrated Indian coffee farms and the country’s art forms through everything the brand does. Notably, the brand has injected a dose of community through its slogan, which reads: ‘Truly Indian, Honestly Crafted’.  

To reflect its love for the Indian coffee community, the brand ensures its visual appeal is consistent across all platforms. The brand’s approach to its custom coffee packaging is all about celebrating Indian artists and the country’s own natural art forms.

The Indian Peacock is the country’s national bird, and a species that inhabits coffee farms throughout the region. It’s also the brand logo for Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters: a bright blue peacock in a black circle. The brand’s co-founder, Namrata Asthana explains this is a nod to the heritage and unique characteristics that have evolved over time in Malabar, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of its past. It’s these small touches that make Blue Tokai ‘Truly Indian’.

From the brand name and logo to the artwork on the packaging and the illustrations donning the walls of their many cafes, each element signifies the brand’s fondness for its Indian culture.

“When we started working on the look and feel of the brand, we knew it had to be a reflection of who we are as people, the coffee farms we source from, and what we wanted to achieve as a community that believed in shared experiences,” says Namrata. “These elements have helped us carve a strong brand recall, making us truly Indian across the brand and product spectrum.” 

At MTPak Coffee, our team of expert designers have decades of experience creating custom-printed coffee bags that reflect your brand identity. 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, to name a few. We also offer our clients low minimum order quantities (MOQs) for those looking to remain agile while showcasing a commitment to the environment.

Images courtesy of Pacandé Kaffeerösterei and Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters.

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

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