What to consider when investing in airtight bags for green coffee

Holly Szakal
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May 13, 2024
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After leaving the mill, coffee travels thousands of miles and through numerous hands before reaching the roaster. Across this journey, even small errors can have costly effects on the quality of green coffee. Airtight bags for green coffee, also known as hermetic coffee bags, provide protection against factors such as moisture, temperature, insect damage, and time.

Green coffee packed in conventional jute bags can be exposed to extreme environments at origin, at sea, at port, in coffee warehouses, and at the coffee roastery. Essentially, traditional coffee packaging leaves a lot of opportunities for quality degradation. 

Notably, green coffee can stay fresh (in the proper storage conditions) for about 12 months. This time can be extended even longer with airtight bags or multi-layer packaging. Understanding the importance of airtight packaging for green coffee can help ensure each brew served is a true testament to the bean’s excellence. 

I spoke to Philip Schluter, the managing director of UK-based Covoya Specialty Coffee, to fully understand the importance of airtight bags for green coffee. 

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Factors that affect the quality of green coffee

Several environmental and external factors can affect the quality of green coffee and significantly impact flavour, aroma, and freshness. This may leave coffee roasters with stale, bitter coffee and rob consumers of the expected rich, sensory drinking experience. 

Green bean oxygenation can reduce coffee shelf life, aroma, flavor, and, ultimately, prices. Beyond this, coffee starts to lose cup points when it oxidises. Additionally, excess moisture can lead to mould growth and declining quality. Beyond this, high levels of internal or external humidity can also speed up the unwanted staining process. Clearly, controlling moisture levels is essential to ensuring green coffee remains in optimal condition. 

Last is light exposure. Direct sunlight specifically takes centre stage, with UV rays showing the ability to break down the organic compounds that are naturally present in coffee. Light exposure dramatically accelerates the degradation process and inevitably leads to oxidation and flavour loss. Therefore, selecting packaging that has been designed to shield green coffee from these elements is critical to mitigate this risk. 

Philip has over 20 years of experience working as a coffee trader. He offers his thoughts on the importance of choosing the correct airtight packaging. 

“Moisture accumulation due to humidity and temperature [shifts] between day and night, especially while passing across equatorial regions and on to consumption countries,” he explains. “This can potentially overwhelm traditional mitigations such as paper lining and desiccant bags and lead to water easily penetrating the jute or other traditional bags.

“Hermetic liners are likely to prevent the accumulation of humidity in the container. Additionally, they will prevent any moisture that has accumulated or penetrated the container from getting inside the bags to the coffee itself.”

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Investing in airtight bags for green coffee

Prioritising material quality is paramount. Investing in coffee bags crafted from high-quality materials will provide an effective barrier against environmental threats. Therefore, investors must be sure to look for options such as multilayer laminates or foil-lined bags. 

Just as crucial is the hermetic bags’ seal integrity. Airtight seals are the frontline defence against air and moisture creeping in. Before purchasing, businesses must inspect these seals carefully to ensure robustness and efficacy. A well-sealed bag not only prolongs the shelf life of green coffee but also ensures it stays in optimal condition. 

Valve technology is another consideration when it comes to the efficacy of hermetic coffee bags. Some bags will have built-in one-way degassing valves that allow carbon dioxide to escape and prevent oxygen from entering. This innovative feature helps mitigate the risk of staleness. 

An additional important factor is ensuring the durability of the bags’ external material. This material must be durable enough to withstand transportation and storage processes. Hermetic coffee bags not only protect the green beans during storage and transit but also provide extra peace of mind knowing their quality remains uncompromised from bean to cup.

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Why do you need airtight bags for green coffee?

The need for durable, well-designed, airtight packaging for green coffee cannot be overstated. It serves as a guardian of quality and freshness from the moment beans are harvested until they reach the eager hands of creative coffee roasters.

Consistency is paramount in the competitive landscape of the coffee industry, and airtight packaging plays a role in maintaining consumer expectations. Hermetic bags act as a shield against the detrimental effects, which are notorious culprits in the degradation of coffee beans. 

However, many are unaware of the role airtight packaging plays in a more sustainable supply chain. It can help minimise the need for additional preservatives and packaging materials. More so, by reducing coffee waste and ensuring the longevity of green coffee beans, hermetic bags help support the environmental ethos consumers are craving within the coffee industry. 

“The manufacturing energy, use of plastics, and potential difficulty in some areas to recycle correctly are all worth consideration,” Phil concludes. “However, some of this can be mitigated by recycling where possible and protecting the product, meaning less coffee is lost to damage that would then need replacement shipping.”

Discover how to minimise the environmental effect of green coffee bags

At MTPak Coffee, our hermetic green coffee bags offer specialised storage and packaging solutions that seal in freshness and maintain the sensory attributes of your product. Multiple layers of high-barrier packaging mean these airtight bags extend shelf life significantly, preserving natural oils and flavours for richer, nuanced profiles.

Our range of hermetic green coffee packaging is made using high-strength PE and boasts superior water and air properties. More so, they can keep your products fresh without the help of pesticides or insecticides, for over a year. Our range of green coffee packaging includes: 

  • Multilayer coffee sample bags
  • Multilayer coffee storage bags
  • Vacuum storage bags. 

Learn more about our green coffee packaging solutions

Reach out to our team for more information. 

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Holly Szakal
Holly Szakal

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.

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