Compostable packaging is better for our coffee

We’re doing what’s important, not profitable.

To date, we have shipped out tens of thousands of coffee orders. Our old packaging used aluminum lined plastic bags that kept the flavours of our coffee perfectly, but unfortunately couldn’t be recycled. Polluting the planet isn’t something I signed up for and I don’t want to push the responsibility on to you, so since 2019 we’ve been looking at a few solutions:

Paper bags
Cheap and easy, but no way. Paper lets air in, making your coffee bitter. Oilier dark roasts tend to absorb the paper taste too.

Re-usable containers
Expensive for us to make, clean and I’m sure you don’t want to ship it back. May be viable if we open a physical retail shop one day.

Biodegradable plastics
Turns out not actually biodegradable, they break down into microplastics which poison the oceans and people. Also uses fossil fuels to produce.

Compostable plastics
Surprise, actually biodegradable! These containers break down into natural soil after 12 months, and use way less fossil fuels to produce.

Our compostable bags, version 1

Home Compostable Bags

Compostable plastics are made from some stuff called PLA and PBAT. PLA is built from plant and corn waste (YAY) which turns back into dirt nicely but is stiff as a board. PBAT is made from oil (BOO) but it keeps the PLA soft and breaks down into non-toxic organic stuff (YAY).

Can you recycle them? Nope. But we couldn’t recycle the old bags either and making these kinds of bags releases much less CO2. Plus if a bag escapes the trash cycle it won’t float in our oceans for a thousand years! The entire bag (including the valve) is designed to degrade to soil in the natural environment with zero microplastics left behind.

We tested the compostable bags and ended up with some pros and cons. On the pro side, they work great! The beans degas properly and the bag protects them from the air. On the con side, they leave a papery taste after a couple weeks in dark roasts. The other downside is these bags are wildly expensive.

Our old, plastic bags cost less than $1 HKD (0.13 USD) each. The compostable ones cost OVER $7 HKD ($1 USD) per pack!!! The capitalist in me cries. But hey I don’t want the earth to burn (more) so we’re sucking it up and making the investment. So as of 2021 all BeanCurious coffee will be shipped out using home compostable paper packs with no price increase.


  • They work great!
  • The valves degas, keeps air out
  • Zip-lock is surprisingly useful
  • Zero plastics
  • Reduced fossil fuel


  • After 1 month, leaves a papery taste in the coffee
  • Darker roasts absorb the paper taste in 2 weeks
  • Wildly expensive, 7 x more than normal plastic