A guide to green coffee bags


Coffee Warehouse

Hello everyone.

This is a basic guide to green coffee bags – in a nutshell, the different types of bags used to store and transport green coffee. Once green coffee has been processed, it must be packed and stored in the right environment in order to preserve the quality and to prevent any degradation before roasting.

The three main types of bag used for storing green coffee are Jute, GrainPro, and vacuum sealed. Each have pros and cons to and will suit different coffees and business models. Here’s a brief introduction to the three types –

Jute bags – also known as burlap/hessian sacks:

Jute is a vegetable fibre that is spun into what we know as burlap/hessian sacks. If you’ve ever seen a coffee sack, it’s likely that it was jute – they are the bread and butter of the coffee world and the industry standard. Jute bags are the cheapest option out of the three and you’re likely to find them at any operation where coffee is packed.

Jute bags, however, don’t protect green coffee from moisture or odours, which can have a detrimental effect on the bean. With the ever increasing focus on quality driven by the specialty sector, other alternatives are becoming more popular due to their superior effectiveness at preserving the integrity of the coffee. In the same way as with roasted coffee, there are many nasties that can try to attack and reduce the quality and flavour of green beans.

That said, there is a reason Jute bags are the industry standard. They are strong and robust and do a good job of getting your coffee from origin to roaster if all the correct procedures are fulfilled.

GrainPro bags:

GrainPro bags sit in between jute bags and vacuum sealed bags. They are essentially hermetically (airtight) sealed plastic bags and offer a step up from jute bags because they protect coffee from moisture and odours. They seem to be the bag of choice for many specialty roasters nowadays since they are a more affordable option than the vacuum sealed bags described below.

Vacuum packed/sealed bags:

Vacuum packed bags offer a further step up in quality because they remove all the air from the bag, preserving the flavour and soul of the coffee a lot longer. You will end up paying a high price for them though – they cost considerably more than the GrainPro bags. Coffee that is packed this way tends to be from microlots and all Cup of Excellence coffees are stored in Vacuum packed bags.

Green coffee bags

As outlined above, the different types of bags preserve the flavour and quality of the green beans to varying degrees. How long does each type of bag preserve the coffee for? As far as I am aware, research is still being done in to this issue and there is no agreed standard as of yet.

Not only are the bags themselves extremely important when thinking about quality control, but also the location that they are stored. Too much or too little of heat, moisture and odour can damage the flavour, so make sure that you have an operation in place that preserves the freshness of your beans!

Freshness aside, It is also interesting to note how many kilos of coffee are packed into these coffee bags. The quantity tends to depend on the origin/region of the coffee. In general, Central American bags are 69kg, Colombia & Bolivia – 70kg, and the rest of the world – 60kg. However, there are exceptions to the rule and often vacuum packed coffees are packed in smaller quantities. Here is a general guide –

Bolivia – 70kg

Colombia – 70kg

Costa Rica – 69kg

Cuba – 60kg

El Salvador – 69kg

Guatemala – 69kg

Honduras – 69kg

Mexico – 69kg

Nicaragua – 69kg

Peru – 69kg

Brazil – 60kg

Burundi – 60kg

China – 60kg

Dominician Republic – 60kg

Ethiopia – 60kg

India – 60kg

India Monsooned Malabar – 50kg

Indonesia – 60kg

Kenya – 60kg

Malawi – 60kg

Nepal – 60kg

Panama – 60kg

Papua New Guinea (PNG) – 60kg

Rwanda – 60kg

Tanzania – 60kg

Uganda – 60kg

Vietnam – 60kg

In theory you can have any green coffee bag size, the quantities mentioned above are just the standard.

I hope you found this guide useful. If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy reading about the coffee disease, Roya.




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