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”
a pair of hands holding cocao beans
industry news, video

Cocao Farmers Are Giving The Chocolate Industry An Overhaul

There’s a ton of overlap between coffee and cocao. It’s not just in drink recipes, either: both industries face widespread criticism for harmful business practices. Small wonder why terms like ‘direct trade’ and ‘blockchain’ are gaining such traction, right?

Cocao farmers in several African countries have been struggling under poverty wages and brutal working conditions for generations. Business Insider took a deep dive into a Ghanian cocao farm looking to change things from the inside out. These farmers are not just creating the raw product, but also processing and packaging it within the country. This simple change does wonders for increasing their prices, while also eliminating greedy middlemen.

With many coffee farmers leaving the industry for adjacent fields like sugarcane and cocao, here’s hoping these business changes have a positive ripple effect.

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?

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…

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.

a gold hand reaching out to a red cup and a pink cup
coffee

Roasters And Cafes Should Raise Their Coffee Prices…And Keep Them That Way

Cold snaps, endless shipping delays, and a global pandemic. Caring about anything these days feels like juggling plates. 

Why are coffee prices up? Well, the Brazilian cold snap compromised millions of tons of coffee bags earlier this year, setting a record for the coldest harvest in over two decades and cranking up prices to almost double what they usually are. With the pandemic causing shipping delays and the food and beverage industry struggling to retain workers, it’s small wonder coffee prices have skyrocketed. 

Roasters, cafes, and roaster-cafe hybrids are understandably concerned about customer retention. Raising prices on an already expensive daily commodity is a surefire way to drive the end consumer into the arms of the competition, right?

The question isn’t whether prices should stay raised: it’s whether or not the end consumer will be willing to pay them. 

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence as a coffee buyer and a coffee worker, now’s the best time to get used to what will be a new standard. Roasters and cafes should not just raise their coffee prices, but keep them that way.

Here’s why. 

Continue reading “Roasters And Cafes Should Raise Their Coffee Prices…And Keep Them That Way”
coffee cherry
coffee

A New Coffee Certification Is In Town

Keeping track of coffee certifications isn’t easy. The brew already has a thousand and one details swirling around every purchase, from origin to bean variety to altitude.

The complex web of certifications have already come under fire a few times lately, such as the USDA admitting they might have to completely rehaul their organic certification due to a lack of compliance and oversight. That isn’t to say these labels are completely untrustworthy. Rather, it’s our duty as customers to be extra diligent about what we buy. Just because something says it’s sustainable doesn’t mean it actually is. As such, this detailed article on a new coffee certification had me feeling a glimmer of hope.

Not only is the Jaguar Friendly program a mutually beneficial partnership between farmer and animal, they go into great detail in how the certification actually works.

Coffee farms under this certification have to dedicate certain areas of land to the jaguar’s territory, including planting trees in certain locations and focusing on shade-grown coffee to reduce the need for expensive methods of cultivation. The goal is to reduce dangerous encounters and the worst-case scenario of killing an already threatened species.

Consider looking for this label on your next bag of coffee beans. What goes around comes around, as the saying goes, and this is a very forward-thinking initiative, indeed.