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How the top of cold brew cans can affect the consumer drinking experience

As the demand for cold coffee continues to grow, aluminium cans have emerged as a popular and preferred form of packaging. The sleek, portable, ready-to-drink (RTD) nature of cold brew cans makes them an ideal on-the-go option for those seeking a convenient, flavourful, and high-quality beverage. 

Aluminium cans are accessible and lightweight, ship well, and faithfully represent branding and product information. Beyond this, aluminium is infinitely recyclable and is one of the most widely recycled materials globally. This makes it one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable materials on the market. Notably, a 2023 report projects that the global market for aluminium cans will be worth $92.31 billion by 2033. 

Their widespread availability and easy recyclability have made aluminium cold brew cans a staple in grocery stores and coffee shops. I spoke to Sarah Eagles from Australia’s Veneziano Coffee to learn more about how brands are meeting the demand for RTD coffee and what to consider when investing in cold brew cans. 

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Why are cans a popular form of packaging for cold brew coffee?

The convenience of cans for cold brew coffee is likely why they’re the preferred choice for both businesses and customers. Similar to a soda or an energy drink, customers get the pleasure of cracking open a can of cold coffee on the go. Additionally, there’s less waste associated with RTD cans compared to hot takeaway coffee, which often comes with sleeves, lids, and spill stoppers. 

“Cold brew, or ‘coffee in a can’ as we call it, has been incredibly successful in our business,” explains Sarah, a brand strategist at Veneziano Coffee in Melbourne. She adds that the brand initially launched with a simple black coffee before growing the range to include four core products: an oat latte, a Neapolitan latte, and a chai latte. 

“The extension of our product range to RTD cans has meant we can make our specialty coffee more accessible, reach more customers via new channels, and enjoy it at any time of the day, anywhere.”

How are cold brew cans sealed?

Despite the many benefits of aluminium cans for cold brew, there are still concerns about food safety. Cold brew cans share similar risks to canned vegetables, fruit, or meat. Missing a spot check when washing, filling, or sealing the cans can create an environment for harmful – even deadly – bacteria to thrive. 

In most cases, sealing cold brew cans involves a combination of intense pressure and heat to create an airtight barrier, locking in the beverage flavour and carbonation. The most common way to seal cold brew cans is by using aluminium lids and a seaming machine. During this process, the lid is placed on top of the can, and the seaming machine crimps the lid onto the can’s rim, forming a tight seal that prevents any air or contaminants from entering.

Another popular method of sealing cold brew cans involves the use of plastic or peelable lids. This option is usually heat or pressure-sealed to the top of the can to create a secure closure. These lids offer consumers the convenience of easy opening and effortless resealing, allowing the cold brew coffee to be enjoyed over time without sacrificing freshness. Additionally, peelable lids provide a tamper-proof seal, perfect for peace of mind during transportation. 

The sealing process is crucial in maintaining the quality and shelf life of cold brew cans, regardless of the packaging materials used. Beyond this, the type of lid used on the cans impacts not only the pouring experience but also the mouthfeel of the cold brew coffee.

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Exploring lid types for cold brew cans

Carefully considering lid design and functionality can help cold brew coffee brands enhance the overall sensory experience of the product. Additionally, it helps ensure consumers enjoy every drop of the beverage. 

For example, lids with a wide mouth provide a smooth, unrestricted flow that allows consumers to savour every sip. Conversely, narrow or tapered openings may impede pouring and result in a less enjoyable drinking experience, thus providing a bad customer experience. 

Investing in cold brew cans is accompanied by a wide variety of lid types, each of which offers unique benefits and functionalities. Therefore, understanding the different options and how they affect the consumer experience can help brands optimise packaging potential and differentiate their products in the competitive market. 

Aluminium lids are a highly durable and lightweight option. Additionally, these lids provide a handy, tight seal that preserves the freshness and carbonation of the cold brew inside. Aluminium lids are typically crimped onto the can’s rim using a seaming machine, creating a secure closure that prevents leaks and contamination. Beyond this, aluminium lids offer excellent product protection.

Plastic lids are another common option for cold brew coffee cans. They offer easy opening and resealing. However, brands should opt for a sustainable plastic material, as sustainability has become a priority for consumers. These lids are often made from polyethylene or polypropylene and can be heat-sealed or pressure-sealed onto the can’s rim. They also provide a tamper-evident seal and allow consumers to reseal the can after opening. Beyond this, plastic lids can be customised with features such as pull tabs or tear strips for added convenience.

Peelable lids are a type of plastic lid that features a thin, flexible film that can be easily peeled away from the can’s opening. Just like plastic lids, it’s imperative for brands to opt for sustainable materials to keep up with consumer sustainability expectations. These lids also provide a seal against tampering and allow for quick and effortless opening without the need for additional tools. Peelable lids are ideal for single-serve cold brew coffee cans, offering convenience and freshness in a compact package. 

Resealable lids are a relatively new innovation in cold-brew coffee packaging. They offer the convenience of easy opening and closing without affecting freshness, thus improving the customer experience. These lids feature a built-in mechanism that allows consumers to reseal the can after opening, preserving carbonation and freshness for extended periods. 

“We’ve experimented with our RTD cold brew products in a couple of different formats, including glass bottles,” Sarah explains. “But we like the ease of use, versatility, and sustainability factor of cans. We’ve found the product quality is better in a can, as is storing and merchandising.”

By carefully considering the lid design of your cold brew cans, brands may see a steady increase in consumer satisfaction. By choosing a suitable lid for cold brew cans, brands can enhance the sensory experience and differentiate their products in a competitive market landscape. 

At Cold Brew Pak, we understand the importance of offering attractive, convenient, safe cold brew coffee packaging. We’re dedicated to transforming your business for the better. Guided by sustainability and safety, we’re empowered by pioneering technology to deliver high-quality, fully customisable cold brew coffee packaging solutions for your brand.

Our cold brew packaging solutions include bag-in-box options, flexible spouted pouches, fully recyclable cans, and BPA-free bottles. Plus, we offer a range of customisation techniques to ensure your cold brew packaging perfectly represents your brand. 

Reach out to create your bespoke cold brew packaging today. 

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About the author

Holly Szakal is a Melbourne-based copy and content writer and is deeply immersed in her city's vibrant specialty coffee culture. She infuses the rich aromas of the specialty coffee scene by delivering compelling narratives on the industry's current events.