How to Ship Coffee

Learn the best ways to ship coffee, as well as why waiting to ship your beans a few days after you roast pays off
how to ship coffee
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Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? In our opinion, there’s nothing like waking up and taking that first sip of fresh brew in the morning. Nowadays, more and more people are turning to the internet to buy coffee. A couple of clicks later and BOOM! Their chosen blend ships to their doorstep, and they’re able to brew it at home for their own enjoyment. If you’re looking for more information on shipping coffee (or you’re already shipping it), you’ve come to the right place! We’re here to reveal the best ways to ship coffee…and why it may make sense to ship it a few days after you roast your beans. Let’s get brewing.

Table of Contents

Understand Degassing and Why It Matters

The first step to properly shipping coffee is to understand degassing. Degassing describes the process of carbon dioxide being released once coffee beans are roasted. When coffee is roasted, carbon dioxide forms inside of the beans. Then, when coffee is a few days fresh off the roast, a good portion of that carbon dioxide leaves the beans. During this period, carbon dioxide escapes so quickly that it actually negatively affects your coffee’s flavor! This “limbo” period in the degassing process is why most roasters wait to sell their coffee until a few days after they roast the beans. Just something to think about when you ship coffee. It might pay to wait a couple of days after the roast to ship it out, so it’s full of its optimum flavor by the time it reaches your customers.

Different Roasts for Different Folks

Most of the carbon dioxide inside coffee beans leaves during the first twenty-four hours after the roast. However, the length of the degassing process varies depending on the type of coffee and the roast. Darker roasts usually take longer to degas than lighter roasts. The longer the roast, the darker the bean, therefore making the degassing process longer.

Oxygen is the Enemy

You probably already know this, but oxygen is the worst enemy of coffee beans! Exposing your beans to oxygen while degassing results in oxidation, which is the leading cause of staleness in coffee beans. Nothing will make your beans lose their flavor faster than growing stale. Therefore, make sure you pack your beans in packets with one-way valves when you’re ready to ship. These valves allow carbon dioxide to escape your packets, while also preventing oxygen from reaching the beans inside.

Don’t Grind Your Beans Before You Ship Them!

For the record: by no means are we telling you how to treat your coffee. However, we see a lot of coffee manufacturers grinding their beans in order to pack in more product. While you can follow suit if you really want to, we advise against it. Grinding your beans speeds up the degassing process too much and exposes your beans to oxygen (remember: oxidation makes beans stale). As a result, your coffee will lose a ton of its optimum flavor. Coffee beans also lose flavor if you wait too long to ship them out…or if delivery takes too long. That brings us to our next point.

Speed is the Name of the Game When You Ship Coffee

Speed matters! When your coffee is degassed and ready to ship, it’s crucial to deliver it as fast as possible. Therefore, you need to be smart about which shipping carrier you choose. You can use FedEx for overnight delivery, sure—but their shipping rates are the most expensive of all the carriers’. USPS gives you the best mix of fast delivery and affordable rates, and will therefore be the best choice for shipping coffee.

Always Use USPS Priority Mail Cubic to Ship Coffee

Speaking of shipping with USPS: there’s a special mail class that you can only access when you use shipping software to buy postage called Priority Mail Cubic. Priority Mail Cubic is different from other services because postage prices are based on your package’s volume, not its weight! Like all Priority Mail services, delivery only takes 1-3 days, and it also includes $100 of built-in insurance! Since coffee weighs a good amount, Priority Mail Cubic will be the cheapest and fastest way to ship it.

When you ship Priority Mail Cubic, you can load your packages with as many coffee packets as you can fit, and the postage price won’t change! Just make sure the total weight doesn’t exceed 20 pounds. Also, pay attention to your package dimensions—no dimension on your package can exceed 18 inches.

Using Custom Packaging is in Your Best Interest

A lot of coffee manufacturers decide to use free USPS flat rate boxes to ship their packets, but this is a mistake! They think they are saving money because the shipping rates are flat and the boxes are free. However, you’ll save more money when you ship Priority Mail Cubic instead of Priority Mail Flat Rate…even with the free boxes. Since that’s the case, we highly suggest that you invest in custom branded packaging for your coffee business. Good branding is the cornerstone of the customer experience! Your business is no different. If you can save money by shipping Priority Mail Cubic AND give your customers a memorable unboxing experience at the same time, why wouldn’t you?

Custom packaging is always worth the extra cost. If you’re looking for some custom packaging companies, start by checking out our Reviews page!

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