Many of our customers ask what the best options are for coffee packaging bags. Being a leader in the flexible packaging industry for over 30 years we are more than happy to oblige. Coffee packaging bags are made from layers of laminated barrier film that are designed to protect the precious coffee (whether ground or whole bean) from moisture, vapor, odor, or any other negative elements. Historically one of the main layers of coffee packaging bags was aluminum foil, thought to be the best material available (at one time it was). However, new film structures and new coffee bag styles are taking the industry by storm.
As mentioned earlier, many coffee roasters feel that coffee packaging bags with aluminum foil is the only option but that is far from the truth. There are a few key issues with aluminum foil, one being its high price and the other is that it doesn’t “flex”. Aluminum foil is probably one of the most expensive barrier layers available in the industry and while it does offer superior protection many metalized films containing PET and other substrates have barrier properties similar to that of aluminum. Further, metalized film flexes and if bent or creased in any way it springs back and recovers whereas once foil is creased is stays that way and doesn’t rebound, leaving folds and lines throughout the package. Finally, don’t forget about clear film! Many clear films or even those with a matte type of finish can be designed to have incredible barrier properties as well as providing a very innovative and different look than opaque coffee packaging bags.
- Quad Seal and Center Fin Style coffee bags are probably the most common. These styles have been in existence for years and don’t lend themselves to a ziplock or re-closeable option other than a tin-tie or stick on label. These coffee packaging bags are beginning to get very “stale” and many companies are looking for new options.
- Traditional Stand Up Pouches are certainly an option for packaging coffee…whether with a round bottom gusset or K or plow bottom. Many companies ignore this style but this is a mistake as these can be made with different re-sealable options while protecting the coffee inside. In an industry filled with “followers” choosing this style would definitely stand out from the competition.
- Flat Bottom—Flexible Box Bags are one of the newest flexible packaging styles available. This innovative design mimics a box or folding carton and provides 5 different surface areas for custom printing and brand building. Even further, this style uses up to 15% less film than other styles yet holds more volume.
- Ziplocks remain one of the most popular options on coffee packaging bags. While quad seal and center fin styles don’t lend themselves to a functional zipper, the other styles work well with a zipper. Different ziplocks include press to close, slide zippers, and double tracks.
- Hang Holes allow the coffee pouch to hang in a display. There are round hang holes as well as more elaborate types known as “euro” or “sombrero” hang holes as they look like a sombrero hat.
- Tear notches help facilitate the opening of the bag. These notches can be on one side or both sides of the coffee packaging above the ziplock area usually. Recently manufacturers are able to use a laser and create perforated tear notches across a pouch so it tears evenly and straight across the coffee bag.
- Gas Release Valves are probably the most important feature for coffee roasters on their coffee bags. When coffee is ground it puts off an out-gas that needs to be released from the bag. A gas release valve allows this out-gas to exit the pouch but does not allow air to enter into the pouch. So the contents stay fresh and the out-gas is released.
In closing this is a quick review of the available film structures for coffee packaging bags along with the different styles and features that are available. As always, consult with your packaging professional for help and guidance.