The quality of packaging, when it comes to either whole beans or pre-ground coffee, seems to be one of the selling points of many brands. Why is this?

To understand why companies are seeking to put out better packaging, we first have to understand the search for freshness in coffee. Coffee is now the most popular beverage in the world, but that doesn’t sound all that impressive. However, look at it this way: coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity… second only to petroleum (or gas).

So you get the idea: people love coffee. And people are willing to spend more money on coffee than they would have a few years ago. This also means that people also pay close attention to the quality of the coffee they buy, precisely because of how expensive it is. All around the world, every coffee lover is looking to get the most value for their coffee as possible. And that usually means the freshest coffee that they can get.

…But how can you tell if your coffee is fresh?

It’s a tricky question. If you don’t have a lot of experience, you won’t be able to tell if your coffee is fresh or if it’s stale.

As a general rule, whole bean coffee can last anywhere from 4 months to 1 year before going stale. Pre-ground coffee can last anywhere from two weeks to three months. What makes the difference here is, you guessed it, the packaging.

A well-packaged product won’t let any air or humidity into the bag, which maximizes shelf life.

But to the naked eye (or nose), the difference between relatively fresh and completely stale is quite hard to tell. Most pre-ground coffee sold in supermarkets is probably stale or close to it. But you can’t really taste the difference unless you’re quite adept at it.

You can’t control how well the beans are kept before they are packaged. But you can control which type of packaging you want your coffee in. You can choose the type of packaging that will maximize freshness, keep your coffee in the best possible condition, and -most important of all the packaging that’s really worth your money.

So, you learn to trust packaging.


What Coffee Packaging is Best?

To answer that question is to know what causes coffee beans to go stale: humidity and oxygen.

So, a good packaging must effectively protect coffee beans from these two things.

Oxygen causes coffee to go stale through oxidation, the same process through which every other food goes bad (and the same process through which we get old and wrinkly). Oxygen breaks down the components in roasted coffee that are responsible for aroma and flavor. Whole beans are more resistant to this process, since they still have an outer layer, making it harder for oxygen to get all the way through it. Ground coffee is incredibly vulnerable to oxidation and must be handled with extra care.

Humidity, on the other hand, causes bacteria to proliferate. Although coffee isn’t particularly rich in any type of nutrient that would attract bugs, it does contain small amounts of natural sugars. These, along with humidity, make the perfect stage for bacteria, yeast, and even mold to grow and completely ruin our coffee. But humidity alone isn’t nearly as powerful as humidity and warm temperatures. Sunlight and yellow light will cause temperature to go up because they radiate heat: avoid exposing coffee to sunlight or yellow light. Conversely, seek out packaging that does not let light through.

What Have We Learned From This?

We’ve learned that good packing must be, (1) keep all the air out and, (2) keep all the humidity out. Finally, packaging should be tinted, reinforced, or anything but see-through. You want to keep all light out and away from your coffee.

Look for this in your coffee’s packaging to not only get the most flavor out of your coffee but to make it last double or triple as long before going stale.

AFPak: The Leading Manufacturer of coffee Packaging Machines

AFPak is the leading company in China to provide coffee packaging. We provide custom coffee packaging solutions for bags, tins, cans, capsules, and bottles, etc.

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