About Our Packaging

In the coffee industry, there are many standards that have just been blindly accepted. One of them is packaging. We at Quaffee believe that rather than go with the flow, to rather do our own experiments. This was the case with packaging our fresh roasted coffee.

Locally made

Quaffee packaging selected to keep coffee bean freshness

Quaffee’s Locally made package

We did a number of tests on available packaging around coffee bean freshness.

The result was that we found that the medical grade poly-prop based packing we use. This packaging, in most cases met if not exceed expectations on the storage of the coffee.

Our Test

Packaging that was tested?

Coffee packaging available is as follows:

  • Craft bag (brown or white paper) with a wax or plastic coating, and a tin tie to seal.
  • The vacuum or valve-based bag that is a triple-layered bag with foil and two plastics. We tested the one without a zip lock.
  • Our sample medical grade (normally use by pharmacies) poly-prop bag, with Zip lock.
  • Low cost reusable plastic container (like a margarine tub).

Methodology and result

The methodology was to take fresh roasted coffee and then, in a blind taste test, taste that coffee against coffees we had stored in the various packaging options. We used a panel made up of coffee people, wine people and novices. Each week we tasted the coffees. Fresh roasted coffee was left for 24 hours to rest. Then coffees were lined up and anyone that more than 70% of the panellists agreed tasted different was excluded.

The best performer was the reusable plastic container. In second was the medical grade Zip-lock bag. The coffee in the zip-lock bag was excluded after 6 weeks.

When also did freezer testing. Here the triple laminated bags did not fare well at all and these bags should never be used in a freezer. With the medical grade zip lock bags, we could extend the life of the coffee to about 2.5 months until cupping the coffee found a difference.

These tests were done on whole bean coffee, we tested a commodity grade African, and specialty grade Colombian.

Medical grade a winner

In the test, we had used samples from a local supplier, that mainly supplies pharmacies. These bags are locally made (near Atlantis, with South African plastic). We contact them and asked if they would manufacture for us. We had to order 30,000 of the small bags, and 15,000 of the other sizes. Which we did.

Recyclable

The bags are a type 4 recyclable poly-prop. Please recycle them, or return, and we will recycle them (or reuse for you).

But what about compostable?

Compostable bags come in two types, the craft and the triple layered. When wax or plastic is used, this means that if the packaging is placed in an aerobic environment, it will decompose to smaller and smaller pieces. Plastic does not totally break down (unless made from vegetable oil) it just gets smaller and smaller. If it is thrown in the bin, it ends up in landfill, which is NOT aerobic. This means it never breaks down. So, we did not test these, as they are effectively the same as the packaging we did test.

Conclusion

The packaging allows the coffee to be fresh for as long as we recommend, it is made locally and can be recycled easily.

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