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What is the right packaging for coffee?

Coffee is a impressive product: small and large producers interpret the bean in surprising fragrances, aromas and intensities - in an infinite variety - which pleasantly enjoy consumers' days. But for those who deal with packaging, coffee represents something more: it is a real challenge.

caffè packaging

Preserving coffee and keeping its aromas as long as possible is not an easy job. Oxygen, light and humidity affect its precious, as well as delicate, organoleptic properties - the body, the intensity, the aromas - acquired thanks to roasting, while the recently roasted beans still emit carbon dioxide which must be able to flow out of the package. Good coffee packaging must take into account all these variables, protect it from bumps and breakages and at the same time communicate the value of its product to the consumer. In short, these are no small tasks!


Light, air and humidity ruin the aroma of the coffee

The roasting process gives the coffee aromas and body. The coffee - which is naturally green in color - changes chemically and physically during roasting: for example, the sugar caramelises and the acids are broken down. It is the roasting that makes the different coffees unique, giving the product its precious organoleptic properties.

green caffè


The task of good packaging is to protect these properties and keep them as long as possible, creating a barrier effect against the most harmful external agents. That is:

  • Oxygen: oxygen damages the taste of coffee and leads to the loss of aroma. Coffee beans, for example, if stored in the air, begins to lose aroma after ten days, decreasing its intensity by 60% in four to five weeks.
  • Humidity: the absorption of humidity from the environment damages the aromatic properties of the coffee and promotes the growth of mold, decreasing its conservation
  • Light: Light deteriorates the external oils of coffee and can lead to unwanted reactions.

How do the different types of coffee packaging work? Let's see together three types of the most commonly used coffee packaging with all the pros and cons.


The jar


packaging caffè

Jars and cans - in aluminum or composite material - are used for the packaging and storage of coffee in different occurrences: both for coffee beans and for ground coffee, and in different sizes for catering and home use.

The jars are often vacuum-packed or filled with inert gas and are hermetic in order to avoid as much as possible the entry of new oxygen into the jar once opened.

As mentioned, the materials used may be different: there are completely metal jars, others put together cardboard and aluminum to ensure the barrier effect against moisture and oxygen and have a plastic cap.

This package is practical enough for home use, but bulky, heavy and expensive to transport. A lot of material and energy is also used to create the packaging, decreasing its sustainability.

The vacuum bag

lavazza packaging caffè

When it comes to ground coffee and large producers, one of the most used coffee packaging is certainly the vacuum bag. Also in this case, the materials used can be different: one of the most common mixes couples an aluminum layer to plastic materials such as PET and PE.

The vacuum bag is very practical, resistant and solid for transport. Before opening, it manages to keep the product practically intact for a period of three years, providing an strong barrier against light, air and humidity. However, these properties are less once the package is opened, when the coffee inevitably comes into contact with external agents and especially with oxygen. For this the product must then be moved by the consumer to another container - usually a jar or a flexible bag.

If used for coffee beans, packaging must take place after the coffee degassing process is completed.


Flexible pouch

The pouches in flexible material are among the most used coffee packaging by small and medium producers and, often, they are associated by consumers with premium, artisan or high quality coffee.

packstyle packaging caffè

Among the most used bags are the so-called stand-up pouches or doypacks, bags that stand up on their own and have a greater volume to fill thanks to the bottom. The most classic materials are aluminum, alone or used with paper in order to maintain the barrier effect and provide a good base for external printing. Other more sustainable choices are recyclable film which still provides excellent protection from oxygen, and recyclable paper, also with an EVOH barrier against external agents.

This type of coffee packaging tends to be less expensive than the can. It is also more sustainable as fewer resources are used to produce flexible packaging and allows for more efficient transport thanks to its lightness [because flexible packaging is sustainable we have explained it here].

Particularly useful for storing coffee are accessories such as the resealable zip that allows the bags to be opened and closed after use, helping to protect and maintain the properties of the coffee, and above all the degassing valve. In fact, the coffee beans continue to generate gas inside the package. To prevent this gas from bursting the bag, the degassing valve releases the carbon dioxide but does not let oxygen in, preserving the aroma and freshness of the coffee.

Discover here Packstyle's solutions for packaging coffee in pouches!

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