Types Of Packaging Materials For Green Coffee? The deterioration in the quality of coffee beans can cause significant financial damage for both the manufacturer and roaster. However, a certain degree of decline may not be inevitable over time. But packaging materials can significantly impact the shelf life and quality of green coffee.
Fabric, high-barrier, vacuum: what kind of material is the best? How much impact do these packaging materials have on green coffee? And how can we measure this? Let’s learn about packaging materials to preserve green coffee in this article.
Evaluation Of Coffee Packaging Materials To Preserve Green Coffee
The packaging of coffee beans is usually made from some common materials—for example, canvas or canvas, plastic, and vacuum. Let’s evaluate these materials with us to see their advantages and disadvantages.
People make the fabric from natural fibers extracted from plants and jute. And this is the oldest and oldest traditional material ever used to make coffee bags. The United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization reports that the fabric can be 100% biodegradable or recyclable. So, the fabric is a very environmentally friendly option. Moreover, the material is also highly durable and relatively affordable.
However, the canvas has a drawback. It’s this fabric that’s easy to absorb. In other words, it does not provide resistance to moisture and oxygen. These are the two factors involved in the quality of the coffee reduction. And there are even some defects such as mold.
Moreover, traditional cloth bags can only hold 60kg of coffee. Or in some other countries, it can contain 70kg of coffee. Larger bags made of plastic can hold up to 20 tons. Depending on the shipment being stored or shipped, manufacturers may decide how to keep it more prominent.
Typically, people make plastics of polyethylene or polypropylene. Plastic is a cheap material; moisture and gas resistance is better than fabric. But plastic is still easy to absorb some options for plastic coffee packaging as large bags of 60kg or more and container liners.
Professor Flávio Meira Borém is a geographic engineer specializing in vegetable production. He spent many years researching coffee. He says coffee packaging made from high-barrier plastic is a bag with different components and structures. These factors allow it to prevent the exchange of gas and water between leaving coffee closed or outside the air. This type of packaging is highly waterproof.
Although it is more expensive than other types of packaging, this type of packaging is designed to maintain the quality of coffee over time by preventing chemical reactions to moisture and oxygen. You can find high-barrier plastic packaging of various sizes. That includes a container liner.
When people pack coffee in a vacuum, people also store it in waterproof plastic bags. Then, in addition to the cup of coffee by enclosed isolation, voids will create negative pressure to remove all the air inside the packaging.
People believe that multi-layer vacuum packing is the most effective way to preserve the quality of coffee beans. However, this way of packaging costs significantly higher. And therefore, it is usually only used for sample coffees or specialty coffee micro-lot and nano lot.
Effect Of Packaging Material On Quality Of Green Coffee
The chemical changes that occur inside the coffee will result in the taste and aroma of the coffee beans will be reduced. Especially the sweetness and acidity. And cupping on the Q Grader scale offered by the SCA remains the most common way to measure the quality of coffee. However, we still have other ways to track the quality of the coffee.
Monitor the quality of the coffee.
One of these ways is not to focus on the sensory qualities you may notice when drinking coffee. Instead, it is the chemical composition of coffee beans and how they affect the “profile” of coffee. You could say it’s a relatively new field. But these studies allow us better to understand the decline in the quality of coffee beans.
Giselle Figueosystemo Abreu is an agricultural engineer and author of Raman spectrometers. She said this is a new strategy for monitoring the quality of coffee beans during preservation that she has published as part of her graduate research work. And she implemented this strategy under the supervision of Professor Borém.
Abreu cross-referenced sensory reports from Q Grader with results from the Raman spectrum. She then used this result to analyze coffee beans stored in permeable and impermeable packaging over time.
The coffee samples used are natural coffee and pulped natural coffee. All have cupping points on 84 points. Three materials are used for packaging: paper, waterproof high-barrier plastic, and vacuum bags. All coffees are analyzed every three months for 18 months.
Impact Of Packaging Materials On Green Coffee
From 0 to 6 months
According to Professor Borém, in the first six months, the Q Grader scale could not identify significant differences in the test scores of natural or pulped natural coffees. No matter what packaging they packed them in. He said taste-testers’ chances of finding a sensory difference in specialty coffee in the first six months were meager. But it’s insignificant.
But he also stressed that he could notice changes in chemical composition over three to six months. That came when he used both NMR and expectation measurements for coffee samples stored in bags with absorbent materials. However, the opposite is the case for pieces stored in waterproof bags. There is no clear evidence of any chemical change.
He explained that he could prove that the chemical composition of coffee began to change very early on. And this change will only be tested by professional tasters after six months of preservation. He stressed that this change is irreversible.
We don’t find any difference between water-absorbent packaging types. Such as a canvas bag or a high-barrier plastic bag. But the coffee beans have started to metamorphic.
Leandro Martinoto is the P&D director at Videplast. That is a packaging factory focused on specialty and fine coffees. Leandro recommends that people store coffee in packaging made from high-barrier after processing. It could be large bags, sacks, or liners.
Professor Borém also recommends that natural or pulped natural coffees be protected immediately with high-barrier packaging after a break.
In the warehouse, bags made from high barriers will help save space and minimize costs. For smaller lots and transportation, high-barrier bags take precedence over fabric bags.
From 6 to 18 months
After six months, the cupping point of coffee stored in water-absorbent packaging begins to decrease. Professor Borém says sensory differences have become prominent.
Take, for example, a pulped natural coffee. The original cupping score was 85- 86 points and stored in waterproof packaging. By the time it was nine months, its cupping score had dropped below 80. And, of course, it’s only considered a commodity coffee now. After 18 months, cupping scores fell below 75.
In contrast, people store coffee in waterproof bags. Its cupping points still reach the threshold of 83- 84 points after a year. And after 18 months, its score dropped to 82 points.
Studies also found differences between different types of permeable packaging, such as high-barrier packaging and vacuum packaging. But those are just insignificant differences.
Unlike in the first six months, the processing has a significant impact at this stage. Professor Borém said the changes were more pronounced for natural coffee than pulped natural coffee.
Although people have recommended that specialty people store coffee in waterproof bags, after six months, this became mandatory. This way of preserving is especially true for dried coffee.
Note that these are studies based on coffee in a stable environment. Coffee shipped, especially shipped abroad, can expose to environments with greater humidity. Their quality is at a higher risk of being reduced. If not stored with waterproof packaging. Container liners can also help mitigate these risks.
When it comes to specialty coffee, preserving the quality of coffee beans for as long as possible is essential. Doing so can protect the value of coffee. And as well as business relationships form between producers and roasters. Paying attention to the packaging materials of preserved green coffee can significantly reduce the quality over time, especially for natural coffee and pulped natural coffee.