[I]t’s really unfair what we expect from a bag. Not only do we demand it hold our coffees and present our names—which is all we used to require of bags—we also expect it to describe our companies, explain to customers the ethos and ethics of our business, and we want the bag to tell a story about the beans, whether that’s the country they came from, the individuals who grew them, the GPS locations of the lots, the processes used, the roast levels, or the finer nuances of the flavor profiles. We even ask the bag to teach the art of brewing, with recommendations on equipment and recipes. If you haven’t thanked your bags for the work they do lately, for how much overtime you owe them, take a minute to rectify that.
Because today’s coffee bags do all that, and the best do it with unerring aesthetic grace. There’s no template for a great bag, no shape or size or color scheme or gusset style that must be used. Even the technology of the material doesn’t matter much. Some of the most stunning are simple kraft bags emblazoned with a letterpress logo. Others aim for high-concepts, executed by design houses that bring a boundless understanding of art to the formerly lowly bag.
The bag has always held our coffee fortunes inside its thin walls. It’s time we showed our respect.
—Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup’s editor.