We've been following HEX Coffee out of Charlotte, North Carolina since their 2016 summertime build-out. We featured their coffee bags back in 2017 and a lot has changed since then—including some significant advancements in environmental considerations. We spoke with the folks at HEX digitally to learn more about their new look for 2021.
Hello! Tell us about the new design—who'd y'all work with?
Initial concepts for our branding were done in collaboration with good friend of ours and incredible designer, Eric Hurtgen, and the updated designs and packaging was designed by us in-house.
Tell us about some of the environmental considerations that were made in the new packaging.
Packaging is a complex issue with sustainability, usability, and affordability, quite frankly. As we've grown, we've always had goals to continue to push ourselves to consider the earth and the sustainability of what we do and how we do it. This is incredibly difficult to do as a small business, where the margin for error is much tighter.
Initially, I had contacted numerous companies about producing a biodegradable interior bag for our coffees. After getting into contact with Grounded Packaging Co. (who does also produces biodegradable materials), and consulting with them, they'd shared a number of alternative options for us and some great information on sustainable packaging.
While biodegradable materials are great, when they aren't disposed of in the right facilities, they can expel more methane gas into the environment in a much shorter window than regular plastics. Knowing that most of the US doesn't have easy access to composting facilities, we realized that most of our packaging would be disposed of through regular recycling or landfill. Grounded was able to produce for us a material made from sugarcane biopolyethylene, that's able to be produced at a net-negative carbon impact and able to be recycled in traditional streams for plastics. Additionally, this material seals the coffee from oxygen well and they're able to produce the zipper and valve from the same material—most biodegradable bags still have plastic zippers and valves which need to be removed before disposing.
Through production, we were able to achieve a net -2kg CO2 offset and a 70% reduction in virgin fossil fuel materials, compared to traditional bags. Additionally, through 1% for the planet, our production removed 144kg of plastic waste from the ocean. The impact of this will be even greater soon, as we’re also moving our bulk 5lb packaging to this same material, which should at least double the impact.
What coffees are y'all looking forward to as we head into Summer?
Continuing to get back to normal! The past year and a half have been very difficult for roasteries and cafes alike, and as vaccination rates continue to go up, we are able to operate and serve our partner cafes at a greater capacity as they’ve been able to serve more guests.
Other than that, Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees are beginning to land, which marks my favorite time of year.
Where is your coffee available?
On our website, at our roastery here in Charlotte, NC, as well as at one of our partner cafes.
Some spots you can currently find us at:
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