When we started this business in 2007, we started with a commitment to the environment. In addition to ethical sourcing, we took steps to assure our offerings are among the greenest on the market, including investing in the Revelation, one of the cleanest roasters in the world, and packaging our beans in biodegradable, compostable bags.
But while we’re thrilled to go above and beyond to save the planet, there has been just one little problem: I never really liked our coffee bags. Sure, they compost rapidly, but that was about the extent of their utility. The most important job of a coffee bag is to act as a gas barrier, preventing the oxidation of the beans. Our bag, however, was a terrible barrier package.
So for five years now, we’ve searched for a replacement bag. But as it turns out, high-barrier, biodegradable packaging is harder to find than you might guess. The driver of the packaging film industry is food packaging, and food companies are still getting lots of mileage out of making packages smaller and thinner, so they are not yet motivated to invest in better materials.
Just when I was about to give up, it came to my attention that a West Coast US packaging company had launched a new product, a high-barrier bag made from a new technology, biodegradable film. The call the product BioTre. It’s a kraft-based film (60%), with a polymer that contains an additive to make it break down quickly. It has several advantages over the old bag:
- It has much better barrier properties, which keeps coffee fresher, longer;
- It has a better form-factor for retail shelves;
- It lends itself more readily to 12-oz put-ups;
- It holds up better in the damp weather we often experience at farmers’ markets;
- While the bag is more expensive, its billboard area is smaller, and it’s given us an excuse to rework the art in a way that makes the labels easier to read, while using less ink and being much less expensive. Net-net, we’ve made the transition to a higher quality bag at about the same cost of goods, which lets us keep prices down for you.
So far, we’ve had a lot of favorable reaction to the new packaging, and a few unfavorable reactions. The unfavorable reactions are mostly around the fact that it’s difficult to fit your hand in the bag. While we sympathize and recognize change is difficult, we’re asking you to please give this package a chance. It’s better for us, and better for you.