Next time you’re in line at the super market, look into your basket. All the best things, all the things you’re most excited to eat, are things you can see. Grapes, potatoes, even boxes of pasta have windows so you can see the shape and color of what you’re getting. This is how shopping for whole foods should be – intuitive and clear.

Coffee is a whole food, the seed of a small, cherry-like fruit that is simply harvested, cleaned, dried, and roasted. It’s one of the most natural, least processed foods we consume, but it’s sold in a cloak, an impenetrable foil fortress that protects the beans – but it also prevents us from connecting to the coffee before we buy it. There’s a better way.

Packaging should be raw, recyclable, and natural. Today, we launch a completely new way of packaging coffee. A clear, airtight bag of delicious coffee beans, carried and protected in a structured paper box, featuring art that connects you directly to the coffee’s spirit and origin. Bean color and quality you can literally see, with more farm info to help you choose the right beans for you.

With this packaging, we’re increasing transparency while decreasing environmental impact, cutting our use of plastic and non-renewable fossil fuels nearly in half. The outer box is fully recyclable, and the labels are made with wind power and 30% post-consumer material. The plastic bag is made from a mix of plastic, wood pulp, and a starch additive that promotes biodegradation. When you pick up one of these boxes, know that in 5-10 years, nearly all of the packaging will be completely reabsorbed into the natural cycle.

And we’re not stopping there. This is Phase 1. We’re moving towards zero fossil fuels used in our packaging, and a biodegradation timeline of less than 2 years. Because America Deserves Better Packaging.


    1. The bag is not compostable, but it is biodegradable and that’s very exciting! It’s made from a mix of plastic, wood pulp, and a starch additive that promotes biodegradation. The bags consist of two layers: a cellulose barrier made of wood pulp that disintegrates in 12 weeks and a plastic layer with a starch additive that helps it disintegrate in 5-10 years. Hope this clarifies for you!

  1. What is the shelf life for the coffee in this type of packaging compared to the traditional foil package? Is it a “breathable” bag or totally hermetic?

  2. I will no longer buy your coffee because of the packaging change:
    a. one can’t conform the bag easily as the product is used;
    b. no way to expel the air from the closed package (so this is worse than the former packaging).

    Bad idea, in my view.

    I like to be kind to the environment, but not when it affects the shelf-life of the product.

    In a totally different vein: you need different graphic designer. Packaging is indistinct and flat. Not attractive to my eye. (:

    1. Maybe you could try a bean storage container from the online site, one is frosted and, as another, I think you could use the coffee tin.

    2. This change does not affect the shelf life of our coffee. The bag still has a valve to release air and post-roasting gases. The box protects the beans and stands up better on the shelf than the old bags.

      We. Love. Our. Designer. She is passionate, artistic, love/lives/breathes coffee, and we think her designs are completely beautiful.

  3. not afan at this point…once you cut the bag open, there is no way to seal it closed…I use a container for my beans, but when I travel and by ground beans, well, what happened to the standard “fold-over and tuck” tabs?

  4. It’s kind of sad to see people saying they will no longer buy a product due to packaging that has been made better for the environment and doesn’t affect shelf life. I buy your coffee cause it is the best around. Period. Maybe Maxwell House tubs are a better fit for them.

  5. You can still put the sticky re-sealer things on these bags and fold them down like the old bags and chances are that if you have the beans ground in one of the stores, the barista will put the sticky thing on for you. If you really cared that much about the integrity of the coffee then you would have your own container at home instead of keeping the beans in a bag that isn’t air tight. At this point people are just looking to point out ‘problems’ that don’t exist.

    1. I’ve got everything I need to care for my beans, but when I am traveling and I order GROUND COFFEE from La Colombe……OHHHH, you say, yes…..I am right and the bags are not shipped with “sticky re-sealer”. The lack of an “industry standard” resealing method is a step backward.

  6. I’m glad that La Colombe is updating their packaging. I also see the concerns that posters here have about the lack of resealing functionality. While a bean storage container is a great idea, I think that it is callous (snooty?) to assume that because a person doesn’t own one, they don’t care about their beans. This is a change that some will like, some will get used to, and others will hate because of the lack of a built-in method to reseal the bag. It is something for La Colombe to figure out. In the meantime, I’ll continue to roll up my bag tightly with a thick rubber band as I have for the last few years as that old resealing tape was more often than not – useless. Just don’t change the coffee!!

    1. I hope they stay true to their original vision and care for making great coffee, and don’t go down that road of figuring out every little gimmick to maximize profits. I once bought some tea at Teavana and they asked me “do you want that in a bag or a canister?” and me without thinking or asking, said “canister” and I was charged $6- they didn’t tell me it would be more for the little piece of crap. I will never buy anything from them again.

  7. An inelegant solution to a non-problem (It think the old bags had the same earth friendly logo and you don’t need more paper AND inside packaging to be environmentally friendly). You could reseal the old bags, too, without resorting to a little piece of electrical tape. You have no idea how you are diluting your branding with the new imagery, and replacing something strong graphically, and I would even say at this point “iconic,” with what seems like a desire to jump on a packaging bandwagon that so many other roasters are doing. This packaging gets lost in the crowd. The simplicity of the original was beautiful. It was evocative without trying to be anything other than authentic. It spoke to the simplicity of purpose, and unpretentiousness of your original mission, which seems to be going in a different direction now.

  8. Truly DISLIKE your new packaging for these reasons:
    1. Clear plastic and box…not the way I want to store my coffee.
    2. Too much packaging and box does not hold up.
    3. Cannot reseal the plastic bag.
    4. New design is confusing, too hard to find the roast name and looks too much like boxed tea
    ( except for the beans at the bottom).
    5. You LOST your distinctive unique strong branding.
    The new design is very hipster/ global. You have visually lost the essence of your brand, which was based on French and Italian roasts…but from PHILLY. New design conveys neither.

  9. Should the plastic bag be recycled with other plastic bags or go in the trash? How can this be better for the environment if it has plastic?

  10. I agree with other detractors, not an improvement or user friendly for the consumer. Double packaging is annoying, with every use must find a way to reseal the plastic bag and mark it sans the box or replace it in the box. At least with Hawaii’s Lion Coffee Co. they include a handy reusable metal clip to reseal the bag. I’ll use these or find the right kind of tape or rubber bands to do the same. Two thoughts: “Good coffee sells itself” and “A camel is a horse designed by a committee”

  11. Wow… I’m amazed at the response to a packaging change. I would’ve never guessed some would be so affected by it. That’s not a bad thing though. It shows just how passionate people are about your product and the environment. I think it’s a good change for the most part. If the clear packaging is better for the environment AND doesn’t affect product quality, that’s great. I kinda like the box since it sits much better on the shelf than a tipping over bag. I do agree however that a reseal zipper (I’ve NEVER liked fold over coffee bag designs anyway) and a name imprinted on the bags. For those like myself who use a container to store coffee, the label panel pulls right off the box so that actually makes it easier for me since I was cutting the label off the old bags anyway.

  12. Unfortunately, I have to agree with the other posters about the new packaging. While I have my own grinder at home when I buy whole beans, those of us who buy your beans at retailers because we don’t live in Philadelphia, near one of your coffee shops where it can be ground, suddenly have a big problem–the new packaging makes it impossible to grind it in the stores that provide grinders. I witnessed a customer having something of a meltdown about this and leaving without buying any of your coffee beans because he could no longer grind the beans at the store. Functionality trumps design. If you can’t grind the beans without the inconvenience of coming to the retailer with containers to hold the beans, it doesn’t really matter how pretty the box is.

  13. Disappointed the bag is not compostable.. especially since I assumed it was so I now have about 10 of them that I shredded and put in my pile. Oh well. The coffee is still great.

  14. I love your coffee and I am super excited to hear about the elimination of materials/thinking about what happens when it’s discarded, but this packaging really doesn’t work.

    I’m able to move past the frustration of it once I’m done trying to open a new box (I dump beans in an air-tight container anyhow) but I always love to give La Colombe as a gift and this holiday season, I decided not to. I basically have to tear apart the paper packaging (doesn’t rip or close back smoothly) and then cut it open (with no resealer provided) to grind it for my folks who don’t have a grinder, and by that point it looks like it fell out of the back of a truck.

    I’m not a fan of the new packaging overall but I think there are minor changes that could be made to the box if you are committed to this design, like a fold/tuck top instead of perforated or adding an option for resealing the clear bag inside (i.e. a sticker or bendy/twist thing).

  15. So much to say about packaging– read all comments
    Pro and cons and liked the defense by u on new packaging. The last change has yet to be made!!!
    Good coffee like lacolombe will win!!!

  16. It’s the coffee that counts. No doubt the attractive design is nice but more important is the coffee in a good insulated bag that seals easily is the most important. If it was packaged in a brown bag with pertinent info clearly printed on it covering the inner insulated bag, that would be judt fine. Keep it simple and keep the quality high and price as low as possible. We are paying for excellent coffee. Maybe without the expense of fancy wrappings the price might even be able to be more affordable.

  17. I commend you for the improvements in your packaging. As for people stating there is no “sticky thing” to reseal the bag, I’m surprised as my beans do come with a white tape to reseal. If people wish to buy the beans ground, a small package can still be purchased to keep the beans fresh even when traveling (I’ve done a LOT of traveling). I’ve purchased special cans to do just that.

    But, if people still have issues, come up with a better solution. So far all I’ve read are complaints with no suggestions.

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