I'm in the midst of designing a new retail bag and am curious what you consider to be most important to the consumer.

Do consumers really care about:

The farm name?

Origin?

Roast level?

Fancily worded flavor profile?

Proper brewing instructions?

Your story?

There's  a ton of information that CAN be included, but in your
experience what do you hear consumers mention most from your
retail bags?

What information is most useful to the consumer when making a buying decision?

Thanks,

Dave

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Mac Pearce said:
When I'm looking at purchasing a bag of coffee from a shop outside my own, I usually look for a recent (not yesterday) roast date

Go ahead and get yesterday's roast date. If you want to use it today, or tomorrow morning, grind your coffee fifteen minutes to a half hour before you're ready to use your favorite extraction method, and it'll be danged close to what it'll be like when you've allowed to to rest appropriately.
Remember, ground beans de-gas far faster than whole beans, which is exactly why we want to grind per shot. If we actually *want* the beans to 'stale' a bit (de-gas, age, air out, whatever term you prefer), just grind 'em and let 'em set a spell.
I used to put roast level as part of the bag information but don't anymore. May again in the future, but choose not to for a few reasons. One reason in particular is the ambiguity of roast level. Not just in agreeing on terminology meaning like City, City+ or Light, Medium etc. and what actually mean short of Agtron measurement, but the same coffee can be roasted to the exact same drop temp in the exact same length of time but with strikingly different profiles to yield very different cups. To illustrate this very point and educate customers on just how much the roast profile effects the bean we are releasing an interesting Natural Process Costa Rica as a roast profile pairing, two 1/2lbs sold only together as a pound pairing. Both will be City+, both same roast time, and I guarantee two uniquely different cups.

We are striving to be a coffee company that doesn't target the lowest common customer denominators or their possible current level of uneducated understanding. Someone new asks for our darkest roast, education begins with explaining our darkest roast is our Vienna Roast Blend of Central and Indonesian Arabicas. Vienna roast the lightest of the considered as "dark roasts" with the barest few droplets of oil at end of roast rather than the coffees oils being forced out of the bean causing a sheen and roast notes totally eclipsing an varietal character. Another coffee on the darker side is currently a Full City Plus roasted Sumatra Manggala Gaya with rich wet forest earth and spice notes in the cup. Some people really like our Vienna/Light French roasted Monsooned Malabar, others hate it. It's a very unique coffee from India left in open warehouses letting the Monsoon Season winds blow across the bags creating a deep brooding cup reminincent of what our fore fathers experienced when coffees traversed the oceans on sailing ships. It's about dialoguing... And if someone really wants a dark French roast (other than Monsooned Malabar which does not loose it's unique character at a light French, but rather needs it to tame it!) we let them know we can do a special order French Roast for them no problem, 5# minimun.

But the vast majority of our coffees sold never touch 2nd....dark roasts need not apply:)
Do consumers really care about:

The farm name:
If we have a smaller lot we make mention of it on the bag.

Origin:
Always a must for us.

Roast level:
After a long debate, we went with packaging that you are able to see the beans in, and that seems to work better than anything else. We may make mention of its roast in a brief description, but that is not 100% guaranteed for us.

Fancily worded flavor profile:
I don't know about fancy, but yeah sure we do that.

Proper brewing instructions:

A huge must for us, hopefully the attached pic shows what we did.


Your story:

Just where the product was "made."



these images are not for the same front and back fyi, and ignore the typo at the bottom as this is an older image
It's your business. What do you want your customers to know about your coffee?

Forget what other industry people think. It's not their coffee.
Jason Haeger said:
It's your business. What do you want your customers to know about your coffee?
Forget what other industry people think. It's not their coffee.

Because its about sharing ideas?
I don't think anybody told David what to put on the bag. Its also nice to know how others in the industry are thinking.

I have been enjoying this topic.

Thanks David
I wasn't suggesting that the discussion stop. I was merely giving my opinion just like everyone else.

Carry on.
Luke,

Great point with the see thru or windowed bag. A visual is worth a thousand roast level descriptions!

Great info and thanks for sharing your actual label...

Nice!

Dave

luke hudek said:
Do consumers really care about:

The farm name:
If we have a smaller lot we make mention of it on the bag.

Origin:
Always a must for us.

Roast level:
After a long debate, we went with packaging that you are able to see the beans in, and that seems to work better than anything else. We may make mention of its roast in a brief description, but that is not 100% guaranteed for us.

Fancily worded flavor profile:
I don't know about fancy, but yeah sure we do that.

Proper brewing instructions:

A huge must for us, hopefully the attached pic shows what we did.


Your story:

Just where the product was "made."



these images are not for the same front and back fyi, and ignore the typo at the bottom as this is an older image
Hey Jason,

From a consumers point of view, what information is important to you when buying a bag of coffee.

I agree with you that it is a personal form of communication between roaster and consumer. And, what "industry" people look for will be quite different than what consumers understand and what influences their buying decision.

Thanks,

Dave

Jason Haeger said:
I wasn't suggesting that the discussion stop. I was merely giving my opinion just like everyone else.

Carry on.
I look for indications that the roaster knows what they are doing, and that they know their products well.

That having been said, a see-through window on a bag of coffee is something that would prevent me from buying that bag of coffee.

Descriptions and stories telling me more than I need or care to know tells me that the roaster knows their coffee, cares about where it comes from, and has a respect for their craft. While I don't expect the extra ink on the bag to contribute anything, I do expect the expertise portrayed on the bag to come through as results in the cup.

The bag is a first impression. So, I'll say it again. It doesn't matter what we think. What matters is what you want your customers to know about your coffee. You know your own market better than anyone here does.

David Lanning said:
Hey Jason,

From a consumers point of view, what information is important to you when buying a bag of coffee.

I agree with you that it is a personal form of communication between roaster and consumer. And, what "industry" people look for will be quite different than what consumers understand and what influences their buying decision.

Thanks,

Dave

Jason Haeger said:
I wasn't suggesting that the discussion stop. I was merely giving my opinion just like everyone else.

Carry on.
Mike, I'm relatively unexperienced in roasting, I've got a couple months apprenticeship with our shops roaster on a Probat L12. For a deeper coffee like your Sumatra Manggala I want to know how you go for that wonderful under-sweetness of most Sumatras without roasting it into the second crack? We charge it high with a roast time of about 14 min for our production roast Sumatra and a little longer and a lower temp for espresso. Could you explain some of the lighter roasting techniques so we may integrate them into our shop?

Mike McGinness said:
I used to put roast level as part of the bag information but don't anymore. May again in the future, but choose not to for a few reasons. One reason in particular is the ambiguity of roast level. Not just in agreeing on terminology meaning like City, City+ or Light, Medium etc. and what actually mean short of Agtron measurement, but the same coffee can be roasted to the exact same drop temp in the exact same length of time but with strikingly different profiles to yield very different cups. To illustrate this very point and educate customers on just how much the roast profile effects the bean we are releasing an interesting Natural Process Costa Rica as a roast profile pairing, two 1/2lbs sold only together as a pound pairing. Both will be City+, both same roast time, and I guarantee two uniquely different cups.

We are striving to be a coffee company that doesn't target the lowest common customer denominators or their possible current level of uneducated understanding. Someone new asks for our darkest roast, education begins with explaining our darkest roast is our Vienna Roast Blend of Central and Indonesian Arabicas. Vienna roast the lightest of the considered as "dark roasts" with the barest few droplets of oil at end of roast rather than the coffees oils being forced out of the bean causing a sheen and roast notes totally eclipsing an varietal character. Another coffee on the darker side is currently a Full City Plus roasted Sumatra Manggala Gaya with rich wet forest earth and spice notes in the cup. Some people really like our Vienna/Light French roasted Monsooned Malabar, others hate it. It's a very unique coffee from India left in open warehouses letting the Monsoon Season winds blow across the bags creating a deep brooding cup reminincent of what our fore fathers experienced when coffees traversed the oceans on sailing ships. It's about dialoguing... And if someone really wants a dark French roast (other than Monsooned Malabar which does not loose it's unique character at a light French, but rather needs it to tame it!) we let them know we can do a special order French Roast for them no problem, 5# minimun.

But the vast majority of our coffees sold never touch 2nd....dark roasts need not apply:)

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