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What to consider when it comes to cold brew coffee packaging

The specialty coffee sector thrives on innovation, ingenuity, and creativity – and one beverage that encapsulates all this is cold brew. As a unique brewing method, cold brew coffee helps further the artistry of specialty coffee and makes it more accessible to the public. This makes the style of cold brew coffee packaging essential. 

Cold brew packaging needs to tick several boxes: it should be convenient, lightweight, and most importantly, safe. Additionally, the packaging materials should be sustainable to align with the demands of eco-conscious consumers. 

So how can cold brew and RTD coffee brands ensure their packaging meets all these expectations? While ensuring it captures the consumer’s attention? I spoke to Joe Bailey from Afficionado Coffee Roasters and Alan Gilbody, owner of Slice Design.

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Why more brands offer cold brew coffee

In recent years, the popularity of cold brew coffee has skyrocketed. It has risen from a small corner of the market to become one of the most popular trends across the specialty coffee sector.

Essentially, it is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for between 12 and 24 hours, allowing for a low and slow extraction process. Preparing it in this way achieves cold brew’s trademark sweetness, low acidity, and smooth mouthfeel. Furthermore, it allows the full variety of the coffee’s flavours to shine through.

Cold brew also provides the ideal ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee. For consumers, it is convenient and offers the ideal alternative to their usual coffee during the hotter months. For coffee roasters and cafe owners, the popularity of cold brew allows them to open new revenue streams and introduce their products to a wider, younger audience. 

Alan Gilbody is the owner of Slice Design and works alongside coffee businesses to understand their target market and cater to their design needs. He mentions that there is a “huge drive towards sustainability and customisation” within the cold brew and RTD coffee sectors. 

“This is particularly evident in younger consumers, who want to feel that the product is made especially for them and with their needs in mind,” he adds. Alan notes that younger consumers are demanding sustainable or biodegradable options for packaging formats. However, it’s important to note that this may mean the cold brew has a shorter shelf life. 

“While [sustainable packaging] may be a trade-off with shelf life, this move best resonates with [customer] values. Brands that will do well are often those that best represent the values of the younger generation,” Alan adds. 

The most common forms of cold brew coffee packaging

Much like soft drinks and alcohol, cold brew coffee can be packaged in a variety of ways. It’s important to note that each type of packaging offers its own pros and cons. Therefore, the best fit will largely depend on business operations and the outlets in which the cold brew is sold.

Typically, cold brew coffee products are packaged in one of five ways:

  • Glass bottles
  • BPA-free, recyclable plastic bottles
  • Aluminium cans
  • Flexible, spouted pouches
  • Bag-in-box

Glass bottles: An affordable option that is infinitely recyclable, making them highly sustainable. That said, glass bottles come with a risk of breaking during transit and storage. This can present a serious health and safety hazard, which may take considerable time to clean up. 

Recyclable BPA-free bottles: Plastic bottles made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are a classic form of cold brew coffee packaging. As PET is 100% recyclable, it offers consumers a convenient form of eco-friendly packaging that is easy to dispose of. Specifically designed for on-the-go consumers, the food-safe material makes PET bottles an exemplary alternative to glass.

Aluminium cans: These can be an effective way to improve a business’s sustainability standards as aluminium is also infinitely recyclable. Cans for cold brew coffee are popular because they are convenient, sustainable, and aesthetic.

Flexible, spouted pouches: One of the more unusual forms of packaging used for cold brew coffee are flexible pouches that have a small spout on the top. This form of packaging may be more common for cold brew coffee concentrate, as they conveniently fit into consumers’ bags. 

Bag-in-box: This innovative cold brew packaging option can dispense almost every drop of cold brew because of its ergonomic on-tap dispensing system. Perfect for the home, office, or any social occasion, our cold brew coffee boxes have a minimal environmental impact and certainly stand out from other packaging choices.

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What to consider when it comes to cold brew coffee packaging

Joe Bailey is the creative director at Afficionado Coffee Roasters and the team at Origin Coffee, a UK-based coffee roastery. He has seen the many benefits of bag-in-a-box packaging first-hand. “Bag-in-box coffee has really blown up in recent years for its efficiency in shipping products and its large consumer appeal,” he says. “There’s something tactile and aesthetic about a well-designed corrugated box that people find more appealing and environmentally friendly than the plastic cartons of the past.” 

Afficionado Coffee Roasters offers cold brew in bag-in-box packaging and aluminium cans. This allows the brand to cater to on-the-go consumers, as well as social functions. 

It’s essential that brands consider their target market before investing in one form of cold brew coffee packaging. For example, there is no benefit in stocking cold brew coffee cans when consumers tend to sit down and drink the beverage on ice. Additionally, brands will have to consider which packaging format is affordable at the time. 

Four factors that cold brew coffee manufacturers should consider when looking for the ideal packaging include:

  • Durability
  • Affordability
  • Availability
  • Eco-friendliness and legal compliance

By investing time and consideration into these elements, roasters can ensure their cold brew coffee captures consumer attention and stands out in a crowded marketplace. At Cold Brew Pak, we offer sustainable cold brew packaging that is both affordable and fully customisable. We can create bespoke cold brew coffee packaging for your unique collaborations while ensuring the carbon footprint of your business remains low. Cold Brew Pak offers complete cold brew coffee packaging solutions to suit your budget and business needs. 

Image courtesy of Afficionado Coffee Roasters

Talk to our team to find out more. 

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About the author

Victoria is a highly experienced content creator, writer, and editor based out of South Africa. With the experience gained by working in newsrooms and writing for lifestyle magazines, she is now focussed on creating insightful and relatable content for the specialty coffee community.