Coffee, tea and chocolate drinks

Modern packaging has allowed sensitive products such as coffee to beenjoyed in many different ways rather than just freshly ground at the coffeehouse. Choices of method are now many: whether from  a cafetière using ready ground beans, using‘pods’ or capsules in one of the modern machines, or in the cup using singleportion sachets of freeze-dried ‘instant’. With every method alufoil plays animportant role.

For many years tea was mainly shipped in wooden ‘chests’ or boxes linedwith aluminium foil for protection. Now aluminium foil plays a big part inretail packaging – bringing fresh, aromatic teas to the discerning public.

In addition other powdered or ‘instant’ drinks such as drinking chocolateare enjoyed in perfect condition despite a sometimes long storage period thanksto alufoil.

The availability of aluminium foil, which combines total barrier protectionwith flexibility, as well as attractive appearance and compatibility with othermaterials, is one of the keys to enabling consumer enjoyment of all types ofcoffees, teas and chocolate-based drinks.

Brand owners and retailers now offer coffees and teas for every occasion inboth single-serve and family packs. In the workplace, in catering outlets and‘on-the-move’ dispense points cover every moment. Preparation processes forinstant coffees through to specialist varieties for cafetières, filter andespresso machines, plus single serve systems are adding to the multitude ofconsumer choices. This diversity, coupled with the need for product protection,has led to a large number of packaging alternatives featuring alufoil.

More detailed information about the LCA of "Coffee" can be found here

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Stand-up pouches

This format combines lightness and high protection thanks to the alufoillayer. It can be used as an ‘eco-refill pack’ for instant coffee, as well as aregular presentation for ground coffee and for the pods used in coffeemachines. There are now easy-open and reclosable versions, adding convenienceto full product protection. The latest ultrasonically welded valve systems are easilyincorporated.

Fine printed effects combining reverse printing, which exploit the gloss ofthe outer film laminate with the luxurious metallic effect of the aluminiumfoil substrate, can be used to convey high levels of quality and appeal.

Vacuum and modified atmosphere packs

An established high-barrier format, this is used particularly for groundcoffee. Scientific study* has demonstrated that a vacuum pack laminate, whichincorporates a layer of aluminium foil, achieves the best performance instopping the loss of vital aromatic properties of coffee.

Foil lined cartons

Cylindrical alufoil/board cartons featuring a tabbed ‘pull-out’ alufoilmembrane will ensure total protection of tea. Reclosure, that can be providedby a plastic cap, will allow use over an extended period and can give thecontainer a useful ‘second life’ as highly protective storage.

Single portion sachets

The alufoil sachet is a familiar packaging format, bringing instant one-cupconvenience to tea and coffee drinkers. The latest version – the ‘stick’ format– offers an easy-open system whether using laser scoring or slits in the outerfilm layer. A similar shape and convenience has been extended into the sachetsused for instant chocolate and malt-based hot drinks.

Alufoil laminate sachets are also in widespread use for the protection ofindividual coffee pods and single-serve coffee filters.


Domestic coffee making has reached new levels of sophistication with thegrowth in ‘home espresso’ systems. One uses an advanced combination ofaluminium foil capsules (small smoothwall alufoil containers with alufoil lids)and machine technology with a unique extraction system. The attractive capsulesare colour-coded according to coffee type – demonstrating creativity can becombined with excellence in performance.

The metal in the alufoil capsules is fully recyclable.

Alufoil ‘tea sticks’

This unique format uses the mechanical properties ofaluminium foil to create a rigid perforated container for the tea. Alufoil’s ‘deadfold’characteristic, heat resistance and conductivity, food safety and compatibilitywith its contents and its decorative appearance are all combined. The alufoilStick Tea format also has the advantage that the tea can be removed cleanlyfrom the individual glass or cup as soon as the desired strength has beenreached.

*Verpackungs-Rundschau1/96 Technisch-Wissenschaftliche Beilage 48 (1996) No. 1 AROMA changes incoffee vacuum packed using different packaging materials: A. Lindner-Steinert,M. Zou; Fraunhofer-Institut für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung(Fraunhofer Institute for Food Technology and Packaging), Munich, Germany.