coffee

Coffee Packaging Favors Bold And Splashy Over Minimalistic

As a fan of maximalism and coffee packaging, this article is a match made in heaven. I’ve been collecting coffee packages for the past few years and I’m thrilled to say visual personality is at an all time high.

If you’re looking for a dose of artistic inspiration, check out this compelling article from the (newly revived!) Fresh Cup Magazine. The author takes a look at several specialty roasters and how they’re using packaging/branding to stand out on a visual level. There are some truly gorgeous examples of coffee packaging here, particularly Couplet and Felix Roasting Co.. My retro-and-classical loving heart is a-flutter.

This approach is style meeting substance. Not only is powerful visual design a must-have for any brand that wants to stand out, minimalism has garnered a rather meager reputation over the years. Too much of specialty coffee is modeled after the wine industry in terms of exclusivity and an ‘in the know’ attitude. Many of the roasters in this article hope that a fun, splashy approach will encourage people to get into a new passion.

Do you have any favorite coffee packaging designs? I’m always on the look for more bags and boxes to add to my collection, so let me know in the comments.

a bright orange hand peeling back sticker on decaf coffee bag
coffee, guide

How to Improve Your Decaf Coffee Marketing and Attract More Buyers

Decaf coffee marketing is pretty archaic. For all the developments the coffee industry makes technologically and culturally, this niche might as well be in the stone age!

Coffee marketing in general aims to provide several critical values in a single package. On average, a coffee bag will boast its environmental sustainability, ethical sourcing commitment, and/or specialty bean cultivation. Where decaf coffee marketing often stumbles is its missed opportunities. When today’s approaches are not spouting tired catchphrases, they’re failing to stress the physical or mental health benefits.

Falling back on clichés may be easier, but they won’t make your business stand out from the competition (and may even turn buyers off entirely).

How can you improve your decaf coffee marketing to raise awareness or clinch more buyers? I’m going to share a few tips on how to promote your coffee business, from my perspective as both a coffee marketer and a passionate decaf drinker.

Continue reading “How to Improve Your Decaf Coffee Marketing and Attract More Buyers”
coffee marketing banner with a hand holding a deck of cards surrounded by coffee beans
coffee

Coffee Marketing Tips (and Predictions) for Ten Growing Industry Trends

What new standards do you think the coffee industry will have over the next ten years? Working on coffee marketing over the next three months seems like a tall order in the pandemic.

If we can rely on anything, it’s the fact that coffee comes in waves. First wave coffee was as simple as could be, focusing on introducing this plant to a mainstream audience. The second wave completed the deal and turned coffee into an everyday beverage. Third wave is what Western coffee drinkers – particularly those interested in the specialty space – are most familiar with, focusing on environmental sustainability and cultural growth. 

The fourth wave of coffee is still in the air, but current trends are already setting the stage. I’m going to look at ten coffee trends set to become standards over the next ten years and what that means for the cards in your deck – your coffee marketing strategies. 

Continue reading “Coffee Marketing Tips (and Predictions) for Ten Growing Industry Trends”
coffee, industry news

Ireland Is Reducing Coffee Cup Waste One Fee At A Time. Is It Helping?

The coffee industry produces tons of waste. It’s mind-bending at times. From used coffee grounds to piles of accessories, daily coffee usage is hysterically unsustainable.

Ireland is going the extra mile to impose a fee on disposable cups to encourage businesses to start implementing greener alternatives. The bill comes into effect soon and aims to shrink landfills, reduce carbon emissions, and target illegal dumping. This country sees an average of 200 million coffee cups being landfilled or incinerated every year. That number isn’t even touching on accessories like sleeves, lids, straws, bags, or wrappers.

I ran this bill over my head a few times and actually think it could be a little more strict. A big problem with eco-friendly initiatives is the pervasive myth they’re ‘optional’. A similar news story dropped a few years ago on cafes phasing out reusable cups to much success, though it took a while to catch on because of the small fee. Some customers still bought the paper cups because they didn’t care about the higher price and prioritized their convenience over long-term change.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Irish law’s fees will add up mightily over time, but we’re past the point of incremental alternatives. We simply don’t have the time needed for slow-yet-steady change. Not with climate change deadlines on our doorstep.

What do you think about this new law? Do you think it’s too harsh or not harsh enough?

banner of a black crow in autumn
coffee

What Happens When You Rescue A Baby Crow? They Become A Coffee Fan

Why do I sing the praises of decaf coffee? Because without it, you couldn’t have a cup of joe with your crow baby.

I’m being 100% serious here. In this three-minute video from The Dodo, a man rescued a baby crow — he taught him how to be comfortable around humans, nursed him back to health, and now has him as part of the family. He makes his little crow a cup of decaf, specifically, because caffeine isn’t good for birds. These are the kinds of stories that sound straight out of a whimsical children’s book.

The next time some coffee snob blathers about the evils of decaf coffee, I’ll ask: “But can you give it to your winged children?”

Speaking of once-in-a-lifetime segues, check out my recent coffee review of Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack. I’ll be updating with a sequel soon reviewing the rest of their portfolio.

banner for talking crow roasters decaf sampler pack
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack

Am I dreaming? I must be dreaming. A coffee roaster that specializes in decaf…with decaf sampler packs?

It’s no secret that being a decaf drinker means being comfortable with disappointment. When we’re not faced with The Token Decaf Bag while scrolling through a roaster’s portfolio, we’re sometimes faced with no bag whatsoever. To top things off, we’re inundated with lazy marketing tactics that treat decaf coffee like a punishment, a joke, or a cryptid to be whispered about.

It’s a little obnoxious, to say the least.

This purchase is a lesson in great coffee marketing. Talking Crow Roasters has eschewed the silly approach with a celebration of decaf as a coffee category worthy of nuance. They’re also Washington-based, which means I really had no excuse to take this long.

What do Talking Crow Roasters bring to the table other than a commitment to decaf coffee? Let’s take a look:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Talking Crow Roasters’ Decaf Sampler Pack”
coffee, industry news

A Tiny Cafe That Unfolds Like A Present

Step aside, hole-in-the-wall shops. We now have a business that’s so small it could give Polly Pocket a run for her money.

Miharashi is a tiny cafe is designed much like a toy box, able to be situated just about anywhere due to its small size and ability to unfold like a present. Japan is well-known for being densely concentrated, with its metropolitan Tokyo and Osaka regions taking the cake. As such, they need to get extra creative just to put down basic locations such as coffee shops, parking lots, or one-bedroom apartments.

This rooftop cafe comes fully equipped with all the bells and whistles to deliver delicious coffee quickly. This is a novelty I can see catching on very quickly. As populations expand and space becomes increasingly expensive, these locations provide a much-needed middleground.

Or…one-fourth of a middleground, anyway!

coffee cherry
coffee

Big Island Coffee Roasters Debunks Hawaiian Coffee Myths

Last month I took a look at a growing lawsuit concerning Kona coffee, the unique Hawaiian coffee variety, and how it’s been a hotbed for marketing exaggeration and low quality.

Big Island Coffee Roasters, a small-batch roaster specializing in Kona coffee, has a lot to offer to the conversation. Their recent blog post on Hawaiian coffee tackles a common myth about the ‘inherent magic’ of the origin. Too many people believe you can grow your coffee in Hawaii and voila! It’ll automatically be delicious and tick off a high score on the grading scale. Clearly, that’s not how it works.

The roaster proceeds to discuss their recent experience with a Hawaii-based food manufacturer, who had brought up a concern about the bad flavor of the Kona coffee they had sourced. Turns out the beans were overloaded with defects and, despite multiple roasting sessions, always tasted sour and metallic. I’m pretty open-minded, but aluminum flavor notes don’t sound very appealing.

While some coffee drinkers may think it’s a lot of fuss to worry about details like single-origin, altitude, and storage, they all mean the difference between a fantastic coffee bag and a bag you can’t finish. As of recently, a new bill is being proposed to improve quality control in Kona Coffee. There is also keen interest in providing financial consequences to businesses who try to circumvent honesty in their marketing campaigns.

I recently tried one of Big Island Coffee Roasters‘ coffees, which I’ll be reviewing soon in my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. While it’s sourced from Peru, I enjoyed it quite a lot and commend it as one of the best darker-roasted coffees I’ve had.

Maybe someday I’ll get to try an authentic decaf Kona coffee, but until then…

topeca coffee roasters house decaf banner
coffee, review

Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Topeca Coffee Roasters’ House Decaf

Something I love about ordering freshly roasted coffee are the pleasant surprises. It’s not just a delicious cup awaiting me: sometimes I get entirely new gifts.

I’ve opened up coffee packages and received little postcards. I’ve gotten stickers. Occasionally I get a handwritten note from the roasters, which always puts a huge smile on my face. The surprise this time around was a real conundrum, because the first clue I had concerning an addition to my purchase was how heavy the box was. Before we dive into that…

If you’re embarking on your own coffee journey and want to lay off the caffeine, check out my Decaf, Decaf Everywhere series. I explore the brewing methods and flavor notes of a wide variety of origins, specialty roasters, and commodity-grade coffee. I also analyze packaging design and discuss elements like ethical sourcing and coffee culture.

Why is Colombian coffee so good? Much of it has to do with the history of the region. Let’s take a look at Topeca Coffee Roasters’ unique surprise below:

Continue reading “Decaf, Decaf Everywhere: Topeca Coffee Roasters’ House Decaf”
coffee, industry news

The First Coffee Chain From A Coffee-Producing Nation?

A tall order to live up to, but more than possible. Kopikalayan is an Indonesian coffee chain with their sights set on becoming a global household name.

Their biggest difference? They don’t just distribute coffee, but source it from home.

The implications of major coffee corporations being located in the West is uncomfortable at best, damning at worst. Today’s biggest coffee producers by sheer volume are Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam, yet local coffee culture has struggled. It’s hard to develop an interest in coffee when most of it is exported to other countries, right?

This article is a lengthy read, but worth every second. It breaks down key details into why several Asian nations are seeing a boom in local coffee culture and consumption. The main factors are:

– Generational shifts (namely, Millennial and Gen Z)
– Rise of the middle-class
– Growing awareness of local businesses, inequity, and sustainability
– Online trends (particularly on Instagram and TikTok)
– Rise in homebrewing during the pandemic

While some of these trends are definitely in response to increased social isolation, most shifts were bound to happen. Awareness of our impact on the planet is going to keep increasing as climate change and social inequity continues to push our collective backs against the wall.

I’m very interested in seeing where Kopikalayan goes from here.