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Cold brew coffee bottles: The rise of BPA-free plastic

Cafes and coffee roasters are capitalising on the growing popularity of cold brew by offering a variety of ready-to-drink (RTD) options. These include concentrates in flexible, spouted pouches, bag-in-box options, canned coffee, and cold brew coffee bottles. 

Cold brew coffee bottles are designed to be convenient and easy to handle for on-the-go consumers. Specifically, BPA-free plastic bottles have emerged as one of the safest forms of packaging for the RTD market. Their sleek and versatile design offers not only practicality but also aesthetic appeal, making them a preferred choice for both brands and consumers. 

But why are more brands investing in plastic bottles instead of glass? And what does this mean for the growing plastic waste crisis?

I spoke to Nisa Yaptinchay, part-owner of Cafe Seventy Six, about why the brand transitioned to BPA-free bottles for its signature cold-brew coffee.

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The rise of BPA-free plastics 

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, has been a staple of plastic packaging since the 1950s. It became vital to the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and rapidly gained widespread use in consumer products due to its durability and heat resistance.

However, in 1997, studies showed that BPA could be toxic in high levels. Over the next decade, the body of literature on BPA toxicity grew to include over 100 publications, linking the synthetic chemical to health issues such as breast and prostate damage, early puberty, and behavioural problems. 

In response to mounting evidence of BPA’s potential health risks, regulatory agencies worldwide have taken action to limit its use in food and beverage packaging. Several governments have implemented bans or restrictions on the use of BPA in certain products. By April 2008, several major manufacturers and retailers abandoned the use of BPA in plastics.

After this, the packaging industry saw a huge demand for BPA-free alternatives, forcing innovation and adaptation in the bottle manufacturing sector. This shift not only addressed consumer health concerns but also forced a re-think of packaging materials and production processes as a whole. 

As a result of this shift, BPA-free plastics emerged as an attractive alternative. These promise similar durability and versatility without the health risks associated with traditional BPA plastics. 

Why your brand needs BPA-free plastic cold brew bottles

The popularity of cold brew coffee continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing. Notably, sales of the beverage have reached record highs year by year. This prolific rise may be attributed to the drinks’ smooth, mellow flavour and lower acidity-which makes it an appealing choice for those seeking a quick refreshing caffeine fix. 

Bottled cold brew coffee is convenient. Consumers can grab it and drink it on the go, re-sealing the bottle as they please. Unlike traditional glass, BPA-free plastic bottles are lightweight, durable, and shatter-resistant, making them the ideal vessel for cold brew. 

Cafe Seventy Six, based in the Philippines, has been using PET bottles for its cold brew coffee since it launched in 2020. Nisa, who has worked with the brand since its inception, explains why.

“We’ve been serving our beverages in the same polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles since we launched and have seen no significant drawbacks with the packaging. If anything, it’s quite thick yet lightweight and durable, which also makes it reusable for some of our customers,” she notes. 

“The caps are self-locking, allowing for airtight packaging as well. Apart from the material itself, it is quite cost-effective and affordable, especially for businesses that are into ready-to-drink beverages,” she adds. 

Nisa explains that Cafe Seventy Six launched during the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant the brand’s bottled cold brew was only available for pick-up or delivery. 

“Now that our cafe is fully operational, we also serve our beverages in double-wall paper cups, to stay in line with the city’s ban on single-use plastics. We also offer our PET bottles for those who prefer to stock their bottles at home.”

Beyond their aesthetic appeal and eco-friendly attributes, cold brew bottles offer a host of benefits that contribute to their growing popularity. Unlike some forms of cold brew packaging methods, plastic bottles are transparent, providing consumers with a clear view of the beverage inside. This small detail allows cold brew enthusiasts to appreciate the rich colour of the beverage on a more profound level. 

Essentially, it all comes down to subconscious factors. The transparency of cold brew bottles enhances the overall drinking experience. Beyond this, it can foster greater trust between brands and consumers by offering a clear view of the product’s quality before purchase.

The durability of BPA-free plastic cold brew bottles also ensures the contents inside remain protected from external factors. Designed to withstand the transportation and handling processes, these bottles safeguard the product’s integrity while enhancing its shelf presence. 

Beyond this, the reusability of these cold brew bottles aligns with the growing expectations of eco-conscious consumers. Recyclable, BPA-free plastic bottles offer a sustainable alternative to single-use packaging, as they can be reused multiple times and then easily recycled. 

Research surveys found that 78% of consumers admit that a sustainable lifestyle is essential to them. Therefore, it’s imperative for brands to align product and packaging materials with these modern expectations. Investing in BPA-free plastic bottles made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) ensures you’re offering consumers a convenient form of eco-friendly packaging that is easy to dispose of.

Beyond this, it also ensures that consumers are not just purchasing a beverage; they are making a commitment to reducing their environmental footprint and contributing to a more sustainable future.

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What to consider when customising cold brew coffee bottles

Customisation is a journey that begins with a deep understanding of your brand’s identity. Marion Andrivet, the founder and co-owner of the Branding Journal, defines brand identity as “the unique characteristics that influence a brand’s perceived personality, appearance, and behaviour.”

Paper labels offer a classic option that speaks volumes about your eco-friendly nature, all while providing ample space for visual branding and necessary product information. Plastic labels, on the other hand, offer durability and moisture resistance, ensuring the labels remain well intact despite the external environment. 

Ultimately, the choice depends on factors such as budget, branding objectives, and desired aesthetics. Regardless of the method chosen, investing in BPA-free cold-brew coffee bottles ensures both quality and peace of mind for consumers.

At Cold Brew Pak, we offer sleek, square-shaped bottles that are meticulously crafted from high-quality, BPA-free plastic to ensure durability and a modern aesthetic. This unique design not only maximise shelf space efficiency but also provides a secure grip, making them perfect for on-the-go enjoyment.

Our BPA-free plastic bottles for cold brew coffee are available in clear PET, biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA), and natural high density polyethylene (HDPE).

Contact us 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.