Choosing the Right Coffee Bag Material

Last updated: July 3, 2024.
Writen by :
Customer Associate

Coffee bag materials are crucial for preserving the quality and flavor of your favorite brew. The ideal coffee bag is typically made of multiple layers, each layer's material protecting the beans in a specific way. For coffee brands and enthusiasts, selecting the right custom coffee packaging is key to maintaining freshness and addressing environmental concerns.

This guide explores what are coffee bags made of, examining their impact on coffee quality and environmental footprint. We'll look at options from traditional plastics to innovative compostable materials, helping you make informed decisions for your coffee packaging needs.

Understanding the pros and cons of different materials will equip you to choose packaging that aligns with your brand values while ensuring your coffee stays fresh. Let's explore how the right coffee bag material can preserve flavor and promote eco-friendly practices.

What Are the Key Properties of Quality Coffee Bag Material?

Coffee bag material

Quality coffee bag materials must possess several essential properties to effectively protect and preserve coffee. These key characteristics include:

  1. Barrier properties: The material should create a strong defense against oxygen, moisture, and light. This protection is vital for maintaining the coffee's freshness and flavor.
  2. Durability: Coffee bags need to withstand handling, shipping, and storage without tearing or puncturing.
  3. Sealability: The material should allow for secure sealing to prevent air from entering the bag.
  4. Printability: For custom coffee bags, the material should accept high-quality printing for branding and product information.

The right coffee bag material significantly impacts the freshness and shelf life of coffee. By creating an effective barrier against external elements, quality packaging can preserve the coffee's unique flavors and aromas for longer periods. This protection helps extend the shelf life of the product, ensuring that consumers enjoy the coffee at its best quality.

Material choice also plays a crucial role in the overall consumer experience. The look, feel, and functionality of the great coffee bag packaging contribute to the perception of quality. A well-designed, durable bag with easy-to-use features like resealable zippers can enhance the user experience and reinforce brand value.

What Are the Common Materials Used for Making Coffee Bags?

Coffee bag packaging utilizes various materials, each with unique properties suited for different needs.

Aluminum Foil

aluminum foil 1

Aluminum foil is a thin sheet of aluminum, typically less than 0.2 mm thick (150-180 microns, depending on the specific laminate structure). It is resistant to high temperatures (up to 121°C) and low temperatures (down to -50°C). It is a durable and protective choice for premium coffee packaging, often used in multilayer laminates to enhance its functionality.

M. Lamberti et al in his study: "Aluminium Foil as a Food Packaging Material in Comparison with Other Materials." Food Reviews International, 23 (2007): 407 - 433. Notes that: Aluminium foil offers higher barrier properties in food packaging compared to plastic laminates, ensuring longer shelf-life stability and is considered safe for use in food packaging.

Aluminum foil has nearly zero Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR) and Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR), making it an excellent barrier against external elements.

  • Barrier properties: Excellent protection against light, oxygen, and moisture.
  • Durability: High resistance to punctures and tears
  • Cost: Generally higher than plastic alternatives.
  • Recyclability: Can be recycled, but requires proper separation.


Aluminum foil is often used in multilayer laminates for coffee bags. Its barrier properties ensure that the coffee remains fresh for a longer period. However, while aluminum is recyclable, the process can be complex and costly, especially when it is laminated with other materials.

Kraft Paper

Kraft paper

Kraft paper is a strong, coarse paper made from chemical pulp produced in the kraft process. It Its natural brown color comes from the wood fibers used in its production.

  • Biodegradability: Naturally decomposes over time.
  • Strength: High tear resistance, typically 60 to 180 g/m² in weight.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Natural brown color and texture.
  • Customizability: Excellent printability for branding.
  • Cost: Generally lower than synthetic materials.


Kraft paper is often used for artisanal and organic coffee brands. It is commonly used as an outer layer in coffee bags, providing a natural, eco-friendly appearance and good printability. It is typically lined with other materials like PLA or aluminum to enhance its barrier properties.

Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

LDPE is a thermoplastic made from ethylene. It has a density range of 0.910–0.940 g/cm³ and a melting point between 105–115°C. LDPE offers good flexibility and moisture resistance.

  • Sealing Properties: LDPE film works as the inner film layer, enabling the foil to be formed into a certain package and providing excellent sealing properties.
  • Flexibility: It is soft and flexible, making it suitable for various packaging designs.


LDPE is often used as an inner layer in coffee bags, providing a moisture barrier and heat-sealing properties. It is also used in stand-up pouches and other flexible packaging formats. LDPE is recyclable, but it requires proper disposal and recycling facilities.

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

PET is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family. It has a density of 1.38 g/cm³ and a melting point of 260°C. PET offers excellent barrier properties against gases and moisture.

  • Flexibility: Can be formed into various shapes.
  • Durability: High resistance to impacts and moisture.
  • Recyclability: Widely accepted in recycling programs.


PET is often used in coffee bags as a middle or outer layer or in combination with other materials to enhance durability and barrier properties. It is recyclable, making it a more sustainable option compared to other plastics.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources like corn starch. It has a density of 1.21–1.43 g/cm³ and a melting point between 150–160°C. It is known for its compostability and transparency, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics.

  • Compostability: Breaks down in industrial composting facilities.
  • Transparency: Can be clear or tinted.
  • Strength: Comparable to traditional plastics.


PLA is used in coffee bags as a lining or as part of a multilayer structure. It provides a good barrier against moisture and can be composted in industrial composting facilities. PLA is ideal for brands focusing on sustainability.

Rice Paper

Rice paper is a thin, translucent paper made from rice straw or other plant fibers. It has low density and is highly porous. It is known for its compostability and natural appearance, making it an attractive option for eco-friendly packaging.

  • Lightweight: Very low density
  • Porous: Allows some air flow
  • Biodegradable: Naturally decomposes


Rice paper may be used as an outer layer in specialty coffee bags for a unique aesthetic appeal, often combined with other materials for functional properties.

These materials can be used individually or in combination to create coffee bags that balance freshness preservation, sustainability, and visual appeal. The choice of material depends on factors such as coffee type, target market, and brand values.

What Is the Structure of Coffee Bags?

Unlike coffee packaging type in rigid style, the structure of a flexible coffee bag often involves multiple layers, each serving a specific purpose. This multi-layered approach combines different materials to create a laminated film, which is then formed into the final custom coffee bag. This method maximizes both protection and sustainability.

pouch Material Structure

Benefits of multi-layering include:

  1. Enhanced barrier properties: Different layers protect against moisture, oxygen, and light.
  2. Improved durability: Multiple layers increase the bag's overall strength.
  3. Customizable functionality: Each layer can be chosen for specific properties.
  4. Balanced sustainability: Eco-friendly materials can be incorporated alongside high-performance layers.

A typical multi-layer coffee bag might include:

  • Outer layer: Kraft paper for a natural look and printability
  • Middle layer: Aluminum foil for excellent barrier properties
  • Inner layer: Food-grade plastic for moisture resistance and heat sealing

This combination creates a custom printed coffee bag that preserves coffee freshness while offering an appealing appearance.

Multi-layered structures can be applied to various custom coffee bags, including:

  1. Stand-up pouches: Convenient, self-standing bags with a wide base
  2. Gusset bags: Expandable bags with extra space for larger quantities
  3. Flat bottom bags: Stable, box-like bags that sit upright
  4. Stickpacks: Single-serve, elongated packets
  5. Fracpacks: Fractional packs in lay flat bag style for precise portioning

By carefully selecting and combining materials, coffee roasters can create custom coffee bean bags that meet their specific needs for freshness, sustainability, and brand presentation. The multi-layered approach allows for a balance between functionality and environmental considerations, ensuring that your coffee stays fresh from roaster to consumer.

Latest Innovations in Coffee Bag Materials

How to make Coffee Pouches

The coffee packaging industry continues to evolve, introducing new materials and techniques to enhance freshness and sustainability.

Compostable Bags

Materials like Compost+ can be industrially composted, breaking down naturally without harmful residues. These compostable flexible bags maintain necessary barrier properties while addressing eco-friendly packaging demands.

Returnable and Reusable Packaging

Some companies now offer refillable containers or accept used packaging for recycling. This approach reduces waste and aligns with circular economy principles.

Minimalistic and Custom Designs

Minimalist designs reduce material usage while maintaining visual appeal. Custom designs optimize space and materials, enhancing sustainability efforts.

Technological Advancements

Innovative techniques like nitrogen flushing and vacuum sealing are extending coffee shelf life and maintaining freshness.

  • Nitrogen flushing replaces oxygen in the package with nitrogen, preventing oxidation and preserving flavor.
  • Vacuum sealing removes all air from the package, creating an environment where coffee can stay fresh for extended periods.

These innovations demonstrate the coffee industry's commitment to improving packaging sustainability and functionality. By adopting these new materials and techniques, coffee brands can enhance their product quality, reduce environmental impact, and meet evolving consumer expectations for responsible packaging.

How to Choose the Right Material for Your Coffee Bags

Selecting the right material for your coffee bags involves careful consideration of several factors. Here are some practical steps to help you make an informed decision:

Assess Your Needs

Consider these key factors when choosing your coffee bag material:

  1. Shelf Life: Determine how long your coffee needs to stay fresh. For longer shelf life, prioritize materials with strong barrier properties.
  2. Branding: Choose materials that align with your brand image. Eco-friendly options may appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
  3. Budget: Balance cost with quality. While some sustainable options may be pricier, they can add value to your product.
  4. Target Market: Consider your customers' preferences and values. Some markets may prioritize sustainability over traditional packaging.
  5. Coffee Type: Different coffee varieties may require specific packaging properties. For example, whole beans may need stronger puncture-resistant materials than ground coffee.

Sourcing Materials

To ensure a reliable supply of sustainable coffee packaging materials:

  • Research suppliers: Look for companies with a proven track record of providing eco-friendly materials.
  • Check certifications: Verify that the materials meet relevant sustainability standards.
  • Evaluate pricing: Compare prices from different suppliers to ensure you're getting the best value.

Communicating Sustainability

Effectively market your eco-friendly packaging to consumers by:

  • Highlighting the benefits: Clearly explain the environmental advantages of your packaging.
  • Using visual cues: Incorporate design elements that convey sustainability, such as the use of green or recyclable symbols.
  • Providing transparency: Share information about your packaging materials and production processes to build trust with customers.

By following these steps, you can choose the right material for your coffee bags, ensuring both freshness and sustainability while effectively communicating your eco-friendly efforts to consumers.


In this guide, we've explored the importance of choosing the right coffee bag material for freshness and sustainability. We've discussed the key properties of quality coffee bag materials, common materials used in coffee bag packaging, the benefits of multi-layered coffee bags, and the latest innovations in coffee bag materials. We've also provided practical advice on how to choose the right material for your coffee bags.

Now it's time to take action. Evaluate your current coffee bag packaging and consider switching to more sustainable options. By making informed choices about your coffee packaging materials, you can enhance the freshness and quality of your coffee while reducing your environmental impact.


What is the most common coffee bag material?

The most common coffee bag material is foil. Foil bags offer excellent barrier properties against moisture, oxygen, light, and odors. They help preserve the freshness and aroma of roasted coffee beans or ground coffee.

Are plastic bags suitable for packaging coffee?

Yes, plastic bags can be suitable for packaging coffee if they are made from high-quality polypropylene (PP) material. PP bags provide good moisture resistance while being cost-effective.

Can kraft paper bags keep coffee fresh?

Kraft paper bags can keep coffee fresh if they are lined with a barrier film or have multiple layers to protect against air and moisture intrusion.

Are there sustainable and biodegradable coffee bag material options?

Yes, there are sustainable and biodegradable coffee bag material options available, such as compostable films made from renewable resources like plant-based materials or cellulose.

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