Who doesn't love sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of cereal, soaking in the back-of-the-cereal-box copy? Who hasn't spent ten extra minutes in the shower to pore over the teeny-print Dr. Bronner's manifesto that circumnavigates their bottle of peppermint soap? ALL-OR-ONE OR NONE! That's distinctly the feeling I had when Oskar Garberg handed me a box of Johan & Nyström Kenya Ruiruiru at the London Coffee Festival.
The coffee itself is wrapped in a glorious package crafted by a European perfume box company. Lines and lines of names and facts and copy parade down the box, printed on lovely textured linen. We brewed a Chemex of the Ruiruiru and sat with our mugs of coffee and read it as though it were a box of Corn Pops.
As told to Sprudge by Oskar Garberg.
Tell us a bit about Johan & Nyström!
Johan & Nyström was the first specialty roasters in Sweden, founded 2004 by a group of coffee-loving friends with the vision to make the Nordic people drink better coffee. Our mission was, and still is, to promote the craft by transparent sourcing, roasting tastier, more fun and more sustainable coffee. We started a movement here and the people who are the ones we value most, sees this more like a lifestyle than a job. We try to innovate, improve and challenge the coffee industry´s misconceptions about quality.
When did this new coffee package design debut?
We launched the product just a few weeks ago with a small 30-kg lot coffee from Nicaragua that our green buyer Lars Pilengrim carried personally on the plane straight from harvest. To showcase the bonds from producer to customer, consumer and the challenge to try to get 30 kgs of fresh greens through customs…
The JN Box has been a ongoing project for the last year and we are extremely happy and proud of the final product.
Who designed the package?
We are a bunch of artists and writers working at the roastery. Half of the production was made in-house and the other half with help from our friends at Garbergs Project who also created our tea brand ”TT”. Great bureau with a minimalistic, Nordic design style in everything they do. They also have patience with our crazy detailed focused ideas.
Please describe the look in your own words!
The devil is in the details.
From the beginning, we wanted to create a box made of recycled textile but couldn’t get the texture and feeling right. Design for us is both the looks and the feeling to hold it. Function goes hand in hand with design. So the quest for the perfect material continued.
The final product was the result after a ”fika” with our co-founder Johan Damgaard and Ben Gorham, known as the founder of the perfume brand Byredo. Johan was helping Ben's friend Waris Ahluwalia at the House of Waris, with a new concept and Johan got the idea to switch the textile idea to the structured material you find on perfume boxes. What can we say. We put a lot of effort focusing on the details. Normally we always have our customer in mind when we create something but this time we wanted it to be a bit more narrow since it's a special, narrow and important product. Focus on the coffee and the people. The text is the design element so we wanted to keep it subtle in the background. The colored stripe will then switch depending on origin and style and makes the box ”Pop!”.
We also like the unexpected. Everything doesn’t have to be obvious. Inside the box, you will find more surprises that will impress and increase the interest of specialty coffee. (Mission complete)
What coffee information do you share on the package? What's the motivation behind that?
We celebrated 10 years last year, sourcing and roasting coffee. We wanted to give something back to the people we work with. From farmers to customers and our own people. So we wanted to create a product, this box of coffee, unlike anything we had seen before. The best of what we could find and the essence of everything we learnt during our 10 years working with specialty coffee. We realized that we had too much to say and too less space to write on, so the text became the design. You can read about our vision and what we do, all the steps from seed to cup to explain the complexity and how much effort it takes to serve that perfect cup of coffee. Then we wanted to add all the people. The 147 names on the box are the farmers and the people that has been around us over the years. People, all with a small part, and the reason why where we are here today.
On top of all that, the box contains a card stating all yummy details about the actual coffee. Everything from soil to roasting details…
Where is the bag manufactured?
It's produced in Europe, made by a perfume box company. We promised Byredo Ben not to reveal our source.
What *type of package* is it?
The amazing material of the box is a pressed paper process that allows us to produce the exact shape that we want. Inside the box, we use a solid bag in plastic without metal with a one-way valve. We spent a lot of hours finding the stripe with a glue that doesn’t stick on the box. You can open and reseal around 7 times before the sticker is starting to look bad. But then, hopefully, you have finished the coffee inside the box.
Is the package recyclable? Any other pro-environment info about the package you want to share?
The bag is recycled as plastics and the box as carton. But since it's a beauty, we recommend everyone to keep the box for candy or pens on the shelf. One of our colleagues is planting coffee seeds in the box and believes that it will degrade after some months.
Coffee Design is a feature series by Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge. Read more Coffee Design here.