Does your brand need coffee boxes?

Holly Szakal
March 26, 2024
coffee boxes, coffee bags, coffee packaging, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, sustainable coffee bags, Black Hat Coffee

Coffee packaging has emerged as more than just a vessel; it has become a canvas for expressing unique brand identity and allowed room for captivating storytelling. In recent years, the popularity of custom-printed coffee boxes, in particular, has soared. As finalists for the 2024 MTPak Coffee Packaging Design Awards, the owners of Black Hat Coffee and Kolo Coffee share how using custom coffee boxes has helped boost their brands. 

The significance of packaging has organically grown twofold over the last decade as coffee enthusiasts seek high-quality coffee and memorable brand experiences. Custom coffee boxes allow for a more personalised customer experience, encouraging consumers to connect and interact with a brand. Research shows consumers tend to trust a brand more when the product arrives in premium packaging. 

Durable boxes allow coffee roasters to package, store, and ship products easily, all while boosting brand awareness without additional costs. Both Kolo Coffee and Black Hat Coffee are prime examples of how combining coffee boxes and bags can transcend mere functionality to become powerful vehicles for storytelling and connection.

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Why coffee boxes are gaining prominence

In recent years, custom coffee boxes have gathered increased attention among specialty coffee brands. For Black Hat Coffee, based in Germany, the motivation behind the switch to coffee boxes goes far beyond practical reasons. It extends to strategic branding and consumer storytelling. 

“One motivation is the marketing intention to differentiate ourselves from other specialty coffee companies,” owner Inna Zamikhovska explains. “Another is that we wanted packaging that has a certain surprise effect,” she says, adding that coffee packaging is not usually vertical. 

Inna believes that vertical boxes are more common for luxurious items, such as perfumes, candles, and tech items. By packaging its product in vertical coffee boxes and subconsciously linking the packaging to items of luxury, Black Hat can position itself as a premium brand.

“We believe that coffee is as individual as a tailor-made suit,” she explains. “That is why our [custom coffee boxes] feature different suit patterns, which we have linked to specific coffee flavours.” Inna adds that this makes it easier for their customers to have the same coffee experience each time, as “they only need to choose the same suit pattern.” 

Ukraine-based Kolo Coffee uses coffee cards to differentiate its offerings. The brand is owned by Vladyslav Demonenko, the World Vice Champion in Coffee in Good Spirits 2022. Kolo combines its stand up coffee bags with a crisp white box. Each box boasts a coffee card slot and the brand’s name in bold blank ink.

These cards feature a vibrantly coloured image and essential information about the coffee. “These cards make the lives of our customers much easier,” Vladyslav explains. “They can easily choose the coffee they want or one suited to their preferred brewing method.” He explains that the orange card symbols filter, while the green coffee cards reflect espresso. “The cards also convey three main tasting notes and an image that showcases texture.”

Vladyslav explains these images are meant to help customers understand how the coffee will feel and taste. “It’s a psychological effect. One side of the card has a very simple interface showcasing the flavour notes and mouthfeel. The other side reveals the processes behind that coffee.”

Beyond this, Kolo’s coffee boxes are secured with a bright orange nylon band with a cord lock: a symbol of how coffee helps connect people, regardless of age, circumstance, or race. “This visual is all about us, how we see, feel, and taste coffee,” Vladyslav explains. “Our brand is about three key aspects: innovation, simplicity, and community, and our packaging showcases that perfectly.”

coffee boxes, coffee bags, coffee packaging, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, sustainable coffee bags, Kolo Coffee,

The benefits of coffee boxes: Insights from brands that use them

Clearly, investing in custom-printed coffee boxes comes with a fair share of benefits. That said, these often extend far beyond branding and customisation. For Black Hat Coffee, the decision to use custom coffee boxes stems from a desire to convey its brand philosophy effectively.

The brand aims to make it easy for customers to enjoy the same positive taste experience. Therefore, Inna explains they’ve “clustered the different coffee flavours and linked them to the individual suit patterns on the box. The coffee beans [themselves] are packaged in biodegradable coffee bags with an exhaust filter, which continues the idea of bespoke packaging.”

The decision to cluster coffee flavours with individual patterns ensures consistency in taste while offering their customers a visually captivating and recognisable experience. This approach simplifies the coffee selection process and fosters a sense of connection between the brand and the consumer. 

“Coffee boxes are a relatively universal type of packaging and can be used in many other areas, such as for drip coffee and cold brew,” Inna says. She adds that other practical benefits include ease of storage and shipping. “However, coffee brands should be aware that the effort and cost of coffee boxes can be higher than for those who just use a bag.”

Inna also believes that the “fundamental question a coffee brand should ask itself is whether it is prepared to invest the extra time and money to improve its customer experience.” 

By keeping the design of their coffee boxes simple, both brands have made the selection process more intuitive and accessible to their consumers. 

coffee boxes, coffee bags, coffee packaging, custom coffee boxes, custom printed coffee boxes, sustainable coffee bags, Black Hat Coffee

Does your brand need coffee boxes?

Nowadays, packaging has become a pivotal element in brand differentiation and consumer engagement. Custom coffee boxes have provided Kolo Coffee and Black Hat Coffee with the platform to redefine their consumers’ experiences. 

Any brand seeking to elevate its relationship with its consumers should consider custom coffee boxes. Beyond this, custom coffee boxes can be used for subscriptions, blind-tasting services, and gift boxes. 

The flexibility and adaptability of coffee boxes extend far beyond mere practicality. They offer brands the opportunity to curate immersive brand experiences and forge meaningful connections with consumers. 

Whether through specialised collections that showcase unique flavour profiles through the use of colour or texture or interactive packaging designs that tell a compelling brand story, coffee boxes serve as a powerful medium for brand expression and consumer engagement.

At MTPak Coffee, we understand the importance of a memorable customer experience when it comes to specialty coffee. We offer corrugated coffee subscription boxes made from 100% recycled cardboard. With their high level of strength, durability, and weather resistance, coupled with our wide range of size options, these boxes are the perfect solution to support your subscription service. 

We also offer 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. This allows us to offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters, as well as a quick turnaround and shipping time.

Images courtesy of Black Hat Coffee and Kolo Coffee.

Read our exclusive interview with Firelight Coffee Roasters: the brand making recycling coffee bags simpler than ever, thanks to its Send Back Recycle Programme. 

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