Joe Coffee Company in New York now offers instant coffee alongside their whole-bean selections, joining a growing number of specialty coffee companies like Ritual Roasters and Black and White Coffee Roasters. Joe partners with specialty instant coffee makers at Swift Cup and currently offers three selections in their specialty line: The Daily ($18), Nightcap Decaf ($20), and the La Familia Guarnizo single origin coffee ($20). Like Swift Cup, Joe Coffee’s instant comes in paper packets housed in a sturdy box. To find out more about Joe’s transition to instant and their design choices, we talked to Graphic Designer Leina Sanchez.

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When did Joe release instant coffee?

Joe debuted its Specialty Instant Coffee line in April 2018.

Tell us a little bit about the design process.

Our partners over at Swift Cup Coffee really helped us get the ball rolling. They had already found success packing their instant coffee in these little boxes, and we were pretty happy with them. There’s a sticker that wraps around the box, and I thought of it like a ribbon wrapping around a present.

We’re big fans of the little box—were there a few prototypes of packaging the instant?

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I could start a little museum showcasing the evolution of the box and sachet with all the mock-up packaging I made along the way (although I’m not sure who would visit!). The sachet probably underwent the biggest transformations. At one stage, I made some intricate ink-drawings of coffee flowers and leaves, with the idea that we could have a unique illustration for every variety of instant coffee and these sachets would be collectibles of sorts. Our team quickly realized that real estate would be better used to show people how to actually make the stuff! Maybe an idea to revisit for the future?

Who designed the package?

It was really a collaborative effort. I definitely had my ideas to get us started, but many people on our team and on the Swift Cup team weighed in along the way. I took all that feedback and brought it into every design stage, hoping to get closer to our vision of what this exciting new product could be.

How would you describe the look?

When we first launched, instant coffee was still relatively new to the specialty coffee scene, so it was important for us to show our customers that it was a product to take just as seriously as our whole bean coffee. The look is largely a reworking of our existing bag design, chosen to make sure the two could live together in harmony.

Instant coffee is becoming more popular as specialty coffee companies continue to push the category forward—how long has Joe instant been in development?

We started considering the idea in January 2018 and it took about three months to come to fruition.

What’s next for the instant line?

We feel that Swift Cup’s process results in a more nuanced cup, which means as we develop this product line, we’ll likely be exploring more interesting and complex single origin coffees. We’re particularly excited about featuring a Rwandan single origin from the Hingakawa Women’s Association. We expect it to be available later this spring!

Where is it available?

Joe Specialty Instant Coffee is available for sale in our New York City and Philadelphia cafes, on our website, on Amazon, and at select REI locations in the Northeast.

Company: Joe Coffee Company
Location: New York
Country: United States
Design Debut: April 2018

Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.

Disclosure: Joe Coffee Company is an advertising partner on the Sprudge Media Network.