What to Know About Coffee Labels

What to Know About Coffee Labels

When you manufacture or label coffee, there are certain regulations governing your label design. Not only do you need to make your labels stand out in a crowded market, but you’ll want to ensure that you comply with all applicable standards. Once you’ve designed a compliant label, you’ll also need the right labeling system to help package the products.

Here’s what you should know about coffee labels.

Coffee label regulations

The Food and Drug Administration oversees coffee labeling. Any product falling under their purview—including gourmet coffee—must comply with their regulations. Generally speaking, you’ll need both a principal display panel and an information panel.

The principal display panel requires three main pieces of information:

  • Brand name
  • Common or product name
  • Net quantity

Your common name must describe what’s inside the package. For instance, the common name might be “whole arabica coffee beans” or “ground coffee with artificial pumpkin spice flavoring.”

The net quantity should be written as the fluid weight for liquids or the net weight for solids, and needs to be described in both metric and imperial or customary units. This is typically met with statements like “one pound of roasted whole coffee beans.”

Meanwhile, your information panel should include the product’s ingredients as well as the contact information for your distributor or producer. Ingredients are usually listed from the highest amount to the lowest. In brewed coffee beverages, water is often the biggest ingredient by volume, whereas flavorings are often listed toward the end.

Is your coffee fair trade, organic or part of the Rainforest Alliance?

If your coffee company produces beans which are certified organic, fair trade or part of the Rainforest Alliance, you’ll probably want to mention that on your labels. However, there are specific requirements.

Organic coffee can be described as “100% organic” as long as it’s only roasted coffee—but if you’re using flavorings, anything over 95 percent organic ingredients can be labeled “organic.” If your product is 70 percent or more organic coffee, you are permitted to describe it as “made with organic coffee.”

The Rainforest Alliance has its own labeling rules, as well as organizations for fair trade coffee. When you produce, label and/or sell coffee under these designations, it’s your duty to ensure that they comply with all applicable organizational regulations.

Helpful information to include

Finally, you may want to include additional information on your labels, like the country of origin, a best-by date and how to brew the coffee. This is especially key for gourmet coffee producers, since those consumers are more likely to purchase based on that information. You may also want to use roast descriptions and flavor notes for true connoisseurs.

When you need smart labeling solutions for your coffee production or packaging line, Quadrel can help. We offer a number of different labeling machines designed with your products in mind—or you can reach out to create a custom labeling system. Contact us today to get started.