All about our coffee packaging
A big part of a coffee roastery’s identity is tied into its choice of packaging – that’s usually how you recognise what coffee you are buying and also helps communicate to you what the values of the company are you are buying coffee from. We thought we’d write a small introduction about some of the active choices we’ve made when choosing our packaging and why.
Bigger is better
One of the first decisions we made when thinking about our packaging was that we wanted to challenge the ‘normal’ things that happen in the industry. 250g has become the standard sizing for a home use bags of coffee. If you use 16g of beans per coffee, you get around 15 coffees out of one bag – so if you drink one coffee a day, that’s half a month. So if you’re drinking a coffee per day at home you buy a coffee around twice per month. We thought, wouldn’t it make more sense to sell coffee in a larger quantity, reduce the number of times someone needs to buy a bag of coffee and gains all the advantages that offering a bigger bag does.
Here is what we summarized the advantage of bigger bags of coffee has:
Less packaging per coffee
The best example of this is that almost every coffee bag has a non-recyclable valve that lets gas out. Double to coffee per bag means half the valves are needed. Half the valves that need to sit in landfill for however many hundreds of years a plastic valve takes to degrade.
More money for what’s important – quality coffee and fair pay for farmers
Coffee bags and labels are surprisingly expensive. Our bag and label costs us around 40-50c per unit. That wouldn’t change much if we offered a 500g bag or a 250g bag. While 40-50c doesn't seem like much on the surface that's 1,6€-2€ per kg of coffee if you sell coffee in 250g bags. THAT IS ONLY MARGINALLY LESS THAN FARMERS GET FOR THE KG OF COFFEE IF YOU BUY COMMODITY LEVEL (SUPERMARKET) COFFEE.
By selling coffee in a greater quantity per bag, we are almost halving the cost of packaging materials. That allows us to offer higher quality coffee for the price you pay. Higher quality coffee costs more and we pay our farmers based on the quality of coffee they produce.
So whether you consider you prefer getting a better quality product for your money, or you prefer that we are paying the farmers we work with a higher price per kg the good news is that by offering 500g we are doing both.
Great espresso isn’t easy – so don’t waste it!
Making a great espresso takes a lot of trial and error work. Once the bag you have ‘dialled in’ is empty, your good work is done as each bag of coffee is slightly different (coffee is a natural product after all). That means the bigger the bag of coffee you buy, the less percentage of that coffee you will waste on dialling in your espresso.
Our Solution? 500g
All of these reasons contributed to us wanting to sell coffee in 500g as our smallest size. Does that mean we will never sell 250g bags? Of course we are a business and it is you, the coffee drinker that at the end of the day decides if 250g or 500g bags are better by deciding what you buy.
Reusable where possible
We work with a number of cafes in Berlin that use our coffee on their espresso machines or batch brewers on a daily basis. Coffee shops, unsurprisingly, use a lot of coffee. We strongly encourage our wholesale partners to receive the coffee they will use in their café in 4kg reusable tins. We simply pick up the old tins when we drop off the new. A busy café uses anywhere between 10-50kg of coffee on their coffee machines per week, so that’s up to 500 1kg bags less per café per year.
We hope to create a reusable container program for home coffee drinkers at some time this year – but in the meantime if you are in Berlin you can buy our coffee in your own reusable container at Herbie Unverpackt in Neukölln.
We’re realists here at Field Coffee – we know buying coffee in reusable containers doesn’t fit into most people’s day to day lives. The bags we sell our coffee in are carbon neutral.. take a read of the projects that our bag manufacturer invest in to achieve this carbon neutrality.
Thinking outside the box
We are currently testing out some new 100% compostable bags for people who order their coffee from our online store. Right now we’re sending most orders made on our website in these bags instead of boxes which also require tape to close. If you’ve received a bag of coffee from us in one of these 100% compostable bags we’d love to hear from you if your coffee arrived in good shape (let us know in the comments, or send us an email)!
- Field Team
P.s. If you have any feedback or suggestions about how we can do things better please let us know - we're always looking for new ideas and inspiration about how to improve.