We had the pleasure to interview Diego Lara, the Global Coffee & Cocoa Specialist at the Philippines based agricultural packaging manufacturer, GrainPro. GrainPro has emerged over the last decade as the industry leader for producing recyclable coffee bag- and container-liners that create an air and watertight barrier to prevent moisture loss or absorption.
Barista Hustle – What sort of plastic are GrainPro bags made from?
Diego Lara – GrainPro bags are made of high-strength, multi-layer, low-density polyethylene with a special gas barrier layer.
BH – Is there a reason why this material was chosen for coffee? Do other grains benefit from being packaged in other materials? Is this plastic recyclable?
DL – The special material and process to make a GrainPro bag is complex and unique because it gives enough strength to handle the bag in operations and in ports, but it is also flexible, for the benefit and comfort of the user. In the coffee industry, most of the coffee is packed in warehouses, with the need for a fast and efficient process, and then it is loaded into containers in the same warehouse or ports. Therefore, [if] the bag … does not have the necessary resistance and flexibility, it can break or lose its hermetic properties. GrainPro bags are suitable for any types of dry agriculture commodities. The coffee industry is one of the main users because the bag preserves freshness and aroma, key elements for quality.
A major change has come about over the last decade: the adoption of coffee sack liners, widely referred to by the name of the leading Philippines-based manufacturer, GrainPro. (We interview an engineer from Grainpro later in this chapter.)
Coffee trade statistics are usually based on 60-kg (132.3-lb.) bag sizes. As the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil sets the 60-kg bag size standard, which is also the standard in most of Africa. Colombia’s standard bag is 70 kg, however, and Guatemala packs coffee in 69-kg bags.