We're starting the new year here at the Coffee Design department with an entry that's truly made for the new decade from Houston, Texas roaster Boomtown Coffee. It's got beautiful illustrations, delightful bits of fun tucked in, a touch of diorama drama—and the whole thing can be turned back into Boomtown to be sent to a specialized recycling facility (more on that later). Did we mention some bags have a crossword puzzle? It's got that too. We spoke with Arts and Crafts manager Chris Porto to learn more (and to get some help with 4-across).
Tell us more about Boomtown!
Sure! We’re a small-batch specialty coffee roaster in Houston, Texas with three shops. Boomtown began with the dream of serving coffees that we wanted to drink—roasted with care, brewed with precision, and always served with love. We think that that’s just the right way to do it, and we believe that doing things “the right way” with confidence, passionate people, and respect for the craft will inevitably lead to good things. We also think that it’s the least we can do to honor the hard work of the entire coffee supply chain that exists behind every cup. We always thought of coffee as something that was more than caffeine (though we definitely love that that’s part of it). When you walk into Boomtown, we want you to get that same feeling about coffee that inspired us to open up shop, and we chase that feeling in everything we do. Also, we think coffee should be fun.
How would you describe this look?
There are three components to the design: the bag, the sleeve, and the insert. The bag features a hand-drawn Houston cityscape (our home city) along with our brand logo. Around it goes a paper sleeve—the cityscape and our name become hidden behind a more detailed scene evoking either an origin or a destination, always allowing the sunshine from our logo to peek through and be part of the scene. Every coffee blend or single-origin has its own sleeve with unique artwork and information. As you remove the sleeve, the art on the bag evolves upward into a narrative skyscape featuring a balloon race, and a hunt for a hidden castle in the sky. The inner lining of the bag reveals a simplified Houston roadmap, the metaphorical arteries and veins that connect our city.
Finally, there is a tab on the back of the sleeve that lets us place a notecard-sized insert. Currently, the insert is a place where we can share recipes, activities, and educational content. We hope to expand it to include a variety of promotional material as time goes on.
For package nerds, what type of package is it?
The bags are done by Savor Brands in Hawaii and the sleeves are printed by Folded Color in California. Materials include polyethylene and paper. The printing process involves rotogravure and offset printing.
You draw inspiration from the craft beer industry—what are some beer designs you especially admire?
The biggest takeaway we had from the craft beer industry is how—for many craft beer companies—the packaging is designed around the beer itself instead of the company as a whole. There are so many examples of craft beer cans that have a totally unique character, logo, tagline, and color palette. A “Le Petit Prince” from Jester King or “Moo Caliente” from Eureka Heights stands out on the shelf from across the room. We want our bags of coffee to command that much attention!
Who are the illustrators involved?
Our CEO Andrew Loreman did the illustrations, and the entire packaging design was done in-house by him and our Marketing and Communications Manager Chris Porto.
Tell us about the zero waste program you're involved in!
We’ve opted-in to Savor’s really awesome “Zero-Waste” program. Coffee bags have traditionally been difficult to recycle because they have a protective layer of thin aluminum. With this program, our guests can turn in an empty bag to one of our baristas and we’ll put it in Savor’s box. When we fill the box, we’ll send it off and it’ll get recycled from a specialty recycler.
Where is it currently available?
You can find it in one of our cafés, online at boomtowncoffee.com/store, or at one of our awesome wholesale partners in Houston, including A 2nd Cup, Kolache Shoppe, and Mercantile.
Any offerings coming soon we should look out for?
Yes! We’ve got a natural Ethiopia from Daye Bensa in Shantawene as well as a honey-processed Bourbon from Hacienda Sonora coming soon to the shelves that we think taste incredible!
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.