Coffee Beans in a Paper Sack, the old way !

Oct 27, 2010
Visit site
Its Funny to hear the Long Time Coffee People talk about the Early days ,
Many were simply Roasting and putting the whole beans in a paper sack,

Most with no label, just the weight on the Bag.
SO let us Test the True Coffee Minds out there,

IS A Paper sack, dry enough to have done the Job,
or would Flavor or Quality be Lost quickly, would it absorb oil"s from the Bean,
and Lessen the Product.

And how Long would it remain Fresh ?

When I started in coffee we used the paper bags for bulk coffee. If I remember correctly they had a liner inside the bag and a tin tie to hold the bag shut. We always told people when they got home to transfer the coffee to an air-tight container that would keep it free of sunlight. Not sure how long ago the early days were but that was when you could buy a lb of Colombian supremo for under $5 and Jamiacan Blue moutain was under $20..thanks there Rick I officially feel old :(
I wouldn't want my beans in just a plain paper bag. Oils would definitely leech into the bag and there could also be off flavors from the paper making their way into the beans. Paper bags wouldn't be airtight either no matter how you tie them.

The coffee industry (as well as all things in life) didn't evolve to the point it is today simply by mistake. All things happen for a reason and we all learn through trial and error.

Our roaster packages all beans in Kraft paper-like bags with a thick foil inner lining as well as having a one-way valve and being heat sealed at the top. Once I open a bag I simply squeeze all air out of it, wrap a rubber band around it and store in a ZipLoc freezer bag at room temperature/darker area.

I have tried all sorts of storage methods. Vacuum packing with a FoodSaver device is promising, just don't attempt to pull all air out of the package as that seems to actually draw oils from the bean to the surface, which isn't a good thing by any means. I try to vacuum pack (when I have done this on a home level) about 90-95% of the air out and it seems to work quite well. This is also a great method if you want to deep freeze FRESH beans to maximize their long term storage. Later!
I like the bags we use now. They are identical to what you are using shadow but they also have a zip lock on top of the bag. We seal the bag and once the customer opens the bag it is easier for them to reseal. Every size is available from .5 lb to 5 lbs. I also like the fact that they are black and no sunlight is able to get in.
Yeah that does sound like a good improvement on what our roaster uses. Might you provide a link for those bags? Maybe I could encourage them to package our beans that way as it would accomplish the same thing I currently do once I open them. Thanks!
Bags/labels are the biggest part of my business... otherwise I am just like everyone else.

HOWEVER, the golden goose does seem to be a biodegradable foil bag with the plastic liner and resealable top. At CoffeeFest and the Coffee and Tea Show I was given samples but my roaster said he did not like them and they even changed the taste of his sacred bean. Printing right on the bag in full color is also pretty cool but the quantities you need for each SKU is not practical. What if my bean choice changes or a crop gets wiped out?

I produce my coffee similar to "Just in time" manufacturing so my beans are at optimum freshness and I can change the offering to my customers.

And besides, we drink the leftovers :)

Lisa brings up a good point. We get our bags preprinted but we also bought a printer to do custom labels. Its pretty cool. The printer does just as high quality as our preprinted bags. I will find out the brand and post it Monday. We are just in "time manufactures" as well..and started using our leftovers as donations for the troops overseas. We wanted to donate a million cups and then customers started donating as well...almost to 8 million cups so far.
Not to change the subject back to the bag but I've had a couple of roasters give me a really good explanation why they have refused to go to plastic bags with one way valves. I sat there for the longest time thinking wow that was stupid but a while ago it dawned on me wow that's where we have all kinda lost our way with what the consumer wants.

With that in mind these roasters are still using a paper bag but with a special lining inside as to not have any leaching going on. Still have the old tin wire to seal off the bag. As for the explanation, its pretty simple. They specifically put on the bag the roasted on date as well as the expiration date. The expiration date is no more then 2 week after the roasted date, some were only going a week. But simply put they were telling their customers yes they could go with the mainstream but they prefer to keep their local roaster attitude and the fact that their product is always fresh.

So when they sell a bag they tell people don't buy more then you can use in a week or little longer. Then stop on by again for another pound or so when your almost out. This way you'll always have fresh product. The last they thing want is a plastic bag and a customer thinking that after they crack the bag that it will give you the same great tasting coffee a month out as you had when you first opened it.

I know this was a bit long winded but after much thought I've decided that I really don't want to follow the consumer and what they would prefer to have. I would rather find a roaster willing not to sacrifice weekly quality for prolonged freshness in a bag. I have never cracked open a bag that has been properly packed that was a few weeks old and said wow this tasted like it was roasted yesterday.
I totally agree with the above post and if I had a retail store that would be my choice, especially since my beautiful graphics go on an an adhesive label any way. They can go on a paper based bag no problem.

But as an online retailer who does not do my own roasting, with no guarantee of turnover in a such a short time, I go with what my supplier tells me and what he uses. The Hawaiian Kona coffee I am drinking was roasted on Friday and it is great. Another time during the year it may be a couple of weeks old and even with my fussy palate I will not taste the difference AND THAT IS WITH TAP WATER BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH

Oh I am such a Sh*t disturber!!!!!


I allow 2-2.5 weeks MAX on an espresso roast and have no problem using beans for drip for 3+ weeks. Sure the taste does start to fade away at the end, but it's barely noticeable even to me. I should point out that if I'm not satisfied with a particular coffee I won't sell it just to cover cost. Will also add that I do use lighter roast levels on the beans I choose to use as they tend to age a bit slower than darker roasted varieties and also go to great lengths on bean storage for maximum longevity/flavor.

The SO Brazil I currently use for espresso doesn't even hit a decent level of maturity until the 5-6th day, so drinking something a few weeks old is far from drastic IMO. I have read of local coffeeshops bragging about using beans roasted on a weekly level and I'm not buying into that marketing hype. If so there is probably not enough time involved for the beans to mature for maximum flavor regardless of roast level. Too fresh is almost as bad as too stale. Later!
i was in Abu Dhabi a few weeks back, and went to a local roastery, where there was a line waiting to buy the freshly roasted beans.

they put the beans in paper bags, then inside plastic bags that they sealed. was quite interesting. really enjoyed the coffee, and can't wait to get more when my friends travel to and from, and bring back for me.
I think a paper sack is just fine for transport, but not for any storage time. An airtight screw-top jar (Ball/Mason,etc.) is best for daily use, as well as freezer storage.