Paper Coffee Bags vs. Plastic Coffee Bags   

sack package with coffee beans
Paper Coffee Bags vs. Plastic Coffee Bags   
Coffee beans coming out of the paper bag and scattered on white background, close up.

Packaging of coffee has recently made waves in the market due to an increased consumer desire for eco-friendly packaging of their beverage of choice. In an attempt to provide sustainable, user-friendly, and convenient packaging solutions, companies now provide paper and plastic coffee bean options. Eventually, it’s about fulfilling the packaging needs of coffee beans and, at the same time, having affordable, user-friendly, and sustainable packaging solutions. 

Why Does Packaging of Coffee Beans Matter?  

Proper packaging of coffee helps maintain its quality, protecting it from losing any of its flavors due to air-borne pollutants like oxygen that accelerate oxidation and reaction between flavor molecules. The best way to preserve coffee’s flavors is to store your beans in an airtight, sealed package or container. Roasted coffee beans are particularly sensitive to their environment; their colors and intensities vary with roast intensity, so packaging must protect its flavors from oxygen and moisture exposure.  

Coffee beans roasted and packaged for shipment directly to customers should remain as fresh as possible for as long as possible, whether through retailers or directly. While the freshness may seem like a minor component, business owners shouldn’t ignore its significance; having the appropriate packaging like brown coffee bags, plastic coffee bags, coffee paper bags, or hermetic packages will ensure fresher products and, more likely, brand recognition by keeping customers loyal longer.  

Finding the appropriate coffee packaging for any coffee packaging supplier or producer starts with understanding what type of coffee they are selling. Different roast levels require unique forms of packaging to protect their flavors. While lighter roasts require something that protects from oxygen, moisture, and light, darker roasts are typically more stable and can be packed in simple bags without losing flavor. The targeted market also matters when choosing the right coffee package.  

Coffee companies prefer packaging that can be customized with various designs and finishes for optimal presentation of information such as origins, processing methods, and roast date of their product. Another function of paper bags is that they can even be sealed using standard heat seal machines and hot stamp or label printing machines, making this type of packaging suitable for storing whole bean coffee and ground coffee – but also grains or nuts may need their special care during shipping! 

From Brown Coffee Bags to Coffee Bean Paper Bags and Much More  

brown coffee bags

Let’s dig deeper into the world of coffee bags, where the tantalizing aroma of freshly roasted beans is preserved, and the flavor is locked in until that blissful moment when you take your first sip. From the sleek and modern to the charmingly rustic, brown coffee bags come in various styles and materials, each with unique characteristics. 

Plastic coffee bags, with their superior barrier properties, provide an airtight shield against moisture and oxygen, ensuring your coffee stays at its peak freshness for longer. On the other hand, coffee paper bags offer an eco-friendly appeal, allowing the beans to breathe and maintaining their natural flavors. But let’s not forget other intriguing options, such as compostable coffee bags made from plant-based materials or the elegant sophistication of tin tie coffee bags with their resealable feature.   

For any coffee packaging supplier or coffee producer, having the right coffee packaging solution is vital for your coffee business. Whether you’re captivated by the sustainable allure of biodegradable bags or enchanted by the classic charm of kraft paper, there’s a coffee bag out there to suit every taste and preference, ensuring that the perfect packaging experience accompanies your beloved morning ritual.  

It’s important to note that advancements in packaging technology have led to the development of more sustainable and eco-friendly options for coffee packaging, such as compostable or biodegradable plastic alternatives. The two most common types of coffee bags are widely used by coffee producers, suppliers, and distributors: Paper Coffee bags and Plastic Coffee bags.  

Let’s discuss point-by-point the comparison of paper coffee bags and plastic coffee bags:  

Benefits of Paper Coffee Bags: 

  1. Environmentally Friendly: Paper coffee bags are typically considered more environmentally friendly than plastic bags because they are biodegradable and recyclable. 
  1. Oxygen Barrier: Paper bags can provide a good oxygen barrier, helping to preserve the freshness and flavor of the coffee.  
  1. Natural Look and Feel: Paper bags have a natural and rustic appearance that many coffee consumers find appealing.  
  1. Customizability: Paper bags can be easily printed with brand logos, product information, and attractive designs, allowing for effective branding and marketing.  

Benefits of Plastic Coffee Bags:  

  1. Moisture Barrier: Plastic bags provide a superior moisture barrier, helping to protect the coffee from exposure to humidity or moisture.  
  1. Durability: Plastic bags are more durable and resistant to tearing or puncturing, ensuring the coffee remains intact during transportation and handling.  
  1. Design Options: Plastic bags offer more flexibility in terms of design, allowing for vibrant colors, transparent windows, and various branding elements.  
  1. Lightweight: Plastic bags are generally lighter, which can contribute to reduced shipping costs and lower carbon emissions.  

Disadvantages of Paper Coffee Bags:  

  1. Moisture Barrier: Paper bags are not as effective at blocking moisture as plastic bags. They may absorb moisture from the surroundings, which can impact the quality and freshness of the coffee.  
  1. Durability: Paper bags are generally less durable than plastic bags and can tear or puncture more easily, which may lead to product wastage.  
  1. Limited Design Options: Compared to plastic bags, paper bags offer limited design options and may not be suitable for certain branding or marketing strategies.  
  1. Bulkiness: Paper bags are generally bulkier and take up more space compared to plastic bags, which can impact storage and transportation efficiency.  

Disadvantages of Plastic Coffee Bags:  

  1. Environmental Impact: Plastic bags have a negative environmental impact due to their non-biodegradable nature. They contribute to plastic pollution and can take hundreds of years to decompose.  
  1. Oxygen Barrier: Some plastic bags may have a lower oxygen barrier than paper bags, which can affect the shelf life and flavor of the coffee.  
  1. Perception: Plastic bags may be perceived as less eco-friendly by some consumers, leading to potential brand image challenges.  
  1. Artificial Look: Plastic bags have an artificial and mechanized appearance that many coffee consumers may not find attractive or worth buying.  

Other Factors to Consider about Paper Coffee Bags:  

  1. Recyclability: Paper bags are widely recyclable in most recycling systems, making them a preferred choice for environmentally conscious consumers.  
  1. Shelf life: The shelf life of coffee in paper bags is usually shorter compared to plastic bags due to their lower barrier properties.  
  1. Market perception: Some consumers prefer paper bags due to their eco-friendliness and association with natural products. This can be a positive factor for brands that prioritize sustainability.  
  1. Price: Paper bags can be more expensive than plastic bags, which may impact the overall cost of packaging for coffee producers.  

Other Factors to Consider about Plastic Coffee Bags:  

  1. Recycling Options: Depending on the local recycling infrastructure, plastic bags may have limited recycling options. Some types of plastic bags are not widely recyclable.  
  1. Shelf life: Plastic bags generally offer a longer shelf life for coffee due to their superior barrier properties.  
  1. Customizability: Plastic bags can be printed with various designs and branding elements, but they may not offer the same natural and rustic appearance as paper bags.  
  1. Cost: Plastic bags are generally more cost-effective than paper bags, which can be advantageous for coffee producers in terms of packaging expenses.  

Noteworthy Things to Know While Choosing the Right Coffee Packaging  

Both paper and plastic coffee bags can help keep your coffee fresh, but some methods may be more efficient than others. However, if at all you need to choose anyone, it’s vital to consider the following three aspects. Let’s learn about them in brief below:  


Whether you prefer a plastic or paper bag alternative, both are, in some way, a green choice for your coffee. However, if you are looking for something truly eco-friendly, look for a product that uses Omni-degradable packaging. This type of packaging is made with a combination of plastic and an organic additive. This allows it to break down naturally and is compostable in facilities with the right equipment. Many coffee companies use composite bags with aluminum foil and a thin layer of plastic.  

Many roasters are exploring biodegradable alternatives for their coffee bags, such as unbleached kraft or rice paper. They are biodegradable and compostable but require an inner layer to protect the beans. This inner layer is typically made of plastic, so it cannot be recycled or placed in your home compost. If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your coffee bags, ask your favorite roaster how their bags are made, or simply go for coffee bean paper bags.   


One essential function of paper bags that every coffee producer looks for is being Eco-friendly. Eco-friendly coffee bags are a good choice for those who care about the environment. They are made with a mix of materials, including recycled paper and compostable PLA plastic. These bags provide a barrier that keeps coffee fresh and maximizes flavor. These bags are a great option for small batches of craft-roasted coffee and can be custom-printed with your company logo.  

Many people believe that a biodegradable coffee bag is better for the environment than a conventional plastic one. However, there are several issues with this approach. First, if these bags end up in water streams, they could harm marine life just as much as traditional plastic cups. In addition, most home compost heaps don’t have the conditions to break them down completely. Also, if these bags are not broken down properly, they may end up in landfills, where they will remain for a long time.  


In today’s world, consumers are increasingly aware of the need to reduce their environmental footprint. In the coffee industry, this means using sustainable packaging. Many coffee companies now offer biodegradable and recyclable packaging for their products. However, the claim that a product is biodegradable or recyclable should always be verified. It is also important to avoid brands that make misleading claims about their products.  

Some coffee brands have developed a single-material bag made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE). LDPE is a recyclable material that can be recycled through the soft plastics recycling stream. Most specialty coffee bags are made with a combination of foil, plastic, and paper in multiple layers. This is called composite packaging, and it can’t be recycled through curbside recycling bins because the materials cannot be separated. Some companies have started to offer paid recycling programs for these bags.  


Both plastic coffee bags and paper coffee bags have their own set of advantages and considerations. Plastic bags provide excellent barrier properties, preventing moisture and oxygen from reaching the coffee and extending its shelf life. They are also lightweight, durable, and have a lower carbon footprint during production and transportation due to their efficient use of resources.  

On the other hand, paper coffee bags are often considered more environmentally friendly as they are biodegradable and can be recycled. Paper bags are made from renewable resources and have a natural appeal that resonates with consumers concerned about sustainability. However, they may have slightly lower barrier properties than plastic bags, which could affect the coffee’s freshness and shelf life.  

Ultimately, the choice between plastic and paper coffee bags depends on various factors, including consumer preferences, environmental concerns, regulatory requirements, and logistical considerations. It’s important for coffee producers and retailers to carefully weigh these factors and consider finding innovative solutions that balance functionality and sustainability in packaging.