Remember VHS? The “Video Home System” was an icon of late 20th century media design, comprising a two-part closed loop of memory storage and display. The VHS player could be found in nigh-every home, sometimes incorporated directly into a television set, and would allow users to play back media from the VHS tape. This tape, comprised of physical analog tape upon which moving images and sound were recorded, would have to be rewound after every use. Large archival hubs—”video rental stores”—allowed users the ability to “check out” tapes on-demand, and extensive home collections were also not uncommon, along with free rental privileges at city libraries.
Yes, it’s hard to imagine a time when media was restricted to such a format. But clunky though it was, VHS remains a visceral emblem of 20th-century media consumption, and so it’s no surprise that it would inspire gorgeous, genre-bending consumable packaging design here in the 21st. To learn more about this unique form, we turn to Process Coffee of Belfast, Northern Ireland, whose founder, Ben Hamilton, has harnessed the deep nostalgia of VHS to create a one-of-a-kind approach to the modern coffee bag. We were hipped to Process via their inclusion in a recent Dayglow Coffee subscription box and just had to learn more about the brand’s unique approach to design, nostalgia, and coffee.
Tell us about Process Coffee!
Process is a coffee and lifestyle supply co. It was born out of my passion for coffee and people back in 2020 during the early pandemic days… and it has taken a few different shapes since it was launched. I want to get people stoked on coffee, hyped on life, and supply products that helps you drink in the daily of each day. I started by collaborated with some amazing roasters over the last two years, showcasing their coffee to my community through the Process web store. Roasters like Hex, Onyx, and Creature kept me hyped in the early days. And then in October of 2021 I launched my own coffee to share with the world and started roasting for myself.
Personally it is suuuuuper rad to be able to go a level deeper in my coffee journey through roasting, and it’s a privilege to continue to showcase other roasters alongside Process now through my own subscription service and by seeing my coffee racked up on the retails shelves of coffee shops around the world.
Who designed your unique packaging?
The packaging for Process Coffee was designed in collaboration with Angel & Anchor. They are a Belfast based branding studio and the founder also happens to be one of my closest friends. I have worked with them on many projects over the years and they always knock it out of the park, so trusting them with my vision for this coffee packaging concept was way easier than you’d imagine. I couldn’t be more proud of what we created!
Tell us about the design elements.
The packaging is really experiential, and I wanted to experience to continue all the way from lifting the box off the shelf through to sipping your way through your brew. There are heaps of little easter eggs I want people to discover and experience for themselves as they enjoy opening the box every time they choose it for their brew.
My memories of finding that favorite VHS on the shelf and the excitement that built as you pushed it into the VCR, is how I now feel choosing my box of Process coffee and sliding the tray out from the sleeve to reveal the coffee I’m about to brew.
I added a different brew recipe to the back of each of the four sleeve designs to help you engage further. These are just some of my go-to brew guides on different brew methods, that I hope the homies can use as a starting point in exploring each coffee. And if you collect all four boxes you can keep those recipes on your shelf for future brews.
Finally, the bag reminds you to “trust the process” as you lift it out of the box and pour your beans out getting that first smell of the coffee you’re about to brew. The back of the bag says that these coffees are experienced by you, to be shared with others, and I hope people pass these boxes around and share out these special coffees.
What coffees are you currently excited about?
I have been able to work with some amazing coffees so far and I’m only getting started! I am super hyped to release new coffees from producer Yenni Esperanza again soon, after launching with her thermal shock Castillo from last year’s crop, which I’m sourcing through Cata Coffee Export who work with some of the best young producers in Colombia. I can’t wait to release these coffees, but again, it’s just a privilege to bring in coffees from different origins, producers, and co-ops, and try my best to deliver them to the best of my ability. I put a heap of pressure on myself with every coffee I bring in.
All Process Coffees are selected to showcase the origin, terroir, varietal, process, and producer in the best way that we can.
Where is your coffee available?
Firstly, you can head straight to process.coffee and buy the coffees that are currently available. Worldwide shipping always! 🤙
You can also find Process Coffee ALL OVER and I am loving connecting with some of the raddest people and coffee shops who have been sharing Process with their customers. There’s too many great shops to name, that are getting involved but I have to holler about a few. Dayglow, Lukes Drug Mart, Revolver, Local, Rosslyn, and Edge Coffee, have been on the PRO TEAM since launch. Legends!
What’s next for Process?
I am still here for the collab and have some really exciting projects coming up this year. Can not wait to share those with the world! And I’m hyped to keep sharing great products and experiences that connect a wider audience to speciality coffee, and the story and the journey we’re all on.
I’m also focused on striving to improve my roasting with every coffee I bring in. That’s a big one! And as soon as the sun comes out here in Ireland (which isn’t often), I’ll be grabbing my skateboard and packing in as many coffee-fueled sessions as possible over the summer.