Katherine Galatola of Jacob Douwe Egberts (JDE) had stared at Piazza D’Oro’s coffee packaging many times before. She’d held it, read the description, and appreciated its simplistic design, but had never really thought about the effort that went into the colours staring back at her.
It wasn’t until she visited the printing plant of flexible packaging solutions company Jet Technologies that Katherine’s eyes were opened to a whole new industry of colour production, which like JDE, takes a hands-on and passionate approach to the craft.
“I was blown away by the scale and professionalism involved in colour production,” Katherine says. “In my mind I had always thought that coloured coffee bags were produced at some sort of printing press, but what Jet Technologies presented was a first-hand look a large-scale food service packaging facility.”
Piazza D’Oro has worked with Jet Technologies for the past four years to reline its packaging solutions. When Piazza D’Oro decided it was time to unveil its new-look packaging for each of its six individual blends, there was no time to waste.
“We knew it was an important step so we had to ensure the packaging colours were spot on. Piazza D’Oro is JDE’s global brand so the colours we chose to present would be replicated throughout the world. We had to do it right and we had to ensure the colours came alive on the bag, which ties in with our new brand message,” Katherine says.
As many roasters who have been through the packaging phase would appreciate, the colour selected on a computer screen can be very different to a printed proof. As such, to meet a quick turnaround time and make a universal decision, Katherine travelled with Jet Technologies to China for the pre-press approval process.
What Katherine witnessed was a printing facility of great proportions: 10 different machines printing colour bags for everything from soft drinks to yoghurt packaging.
“I quickly discovered there’s a high degree of complexity and skill involved in the production of getting colour just right. Green is not just green, and red is not just red. There are so many variations. It took hours of swatch samples and colour matching to get the six different packaging colours as accurate as possible,” she says.
The production starts with a clear film, and colour is built layer upon layer. Technicians use a hands-on approach to mixing the colour for the most accurate result.
“The colour technicians put the same level of skill and passion into packaging printing as we do into producing quality coffee for our customers,” Katherine says.
“Jet Technologies has every kind of global quality standard in place, which made us feel comfortable as our company [JDE] also operates with the same quality assurance standards.”
At the printing facility, large Gravure printing machines engrave the requested image or logo onto an image carrier. The image is then engraved onto 30-kilogram cylinders for printing in a rotary printing press.
“Gravure is the industry standard for flexible packaging due to its print quality and consistency. Flexo and digital printing have also advanced technically. Jet Technologies selects the best print technology based on the type of packaging and print run length the client requires,” says Jet Technologies’ Rebecca Lamont.
Coffee bags of a customer’s specified material and thickness from 250 grams up to 3 kilograms go through the first “colour pass.” The client is given a colour swatch to determine if the colour needs to be lighter or darker. If the colour isn’t strong enough, for instance, a little more cyan, magenta, or yellow can be added.
“We have the ability to control everything and match it to Pantone Matching System colour standards,” Rebecca says. “You’ve got to know your colours. Our press printing technicians have been working in their field for 15 years and more – their eye for detail is spot on.”
Customers can do up to five different colour passes if they like before they give the tick of approval and run the job.
“In person, there’s really no excuse for getting it wrong,” Rebecca says.
Most customers in the coffee industry are aware of Jet Technologies’ history as a specialist importer and distributor of products for the flexible packaging industry, but not many know it offers customers the opportunity to experience its printing press facilities or a final sign-off on colour standards.
“We offer customers a level of service and expertise that is unrivalled in the industry. Print approvals are a service we’ve always offered and one available for companies big and small. For some clients, they just want to understand more about the printing process, and for others, it’s about making a very big decision for a global brand and product. Getting the right colour and finish for your coffee bag is a big decision and we want each customer to be 100 per cent happy with the quality and colour of its product,” Rebecca says.
“This direct process avoids back and forth interaction and lets the customer select and approve the colour scheme all in one go. We’re very transparent in our processes and quality. Our role is to help each customer from start to finish. Coffee is our passion and we offer the complete package.”
Rebecca says the most rewarding part of this service is working with passionate individuals – customers and colour technicians – to create something they’re proud of.
“JDE is one of the largest coffee businesses in the world. Working with JDE’s staff has been such an enjoyable experience right through its suply chain from marketing through to production. We’ve put two of our Goglio machines in their factory and supply JDE with all its flexible packaging options,” Rebecca says.
As such, Jet Technologies is keen to extend the same flexible packaging solutions and close working partnerships to the coffee industry.
“In Australia and New Zealand, Jet Technologies has more than 30 years of experience. We understand the changing demands of the coffee industry and customers’ demands to package their beans in a premium way, and we’re here to help,” she says.
As for Katherine, she’ll never look at a bag of beans the same way: “The next time you see a bag sitting on the shelf, don’t just read the label or study the flavour description, appreciate how the bag was actually printed. I certainly do now.”