As many of you may have already noticed, over the course of this last year we have introduced what feels to us to be an entirely different brand; one which we feel represents the level of quality and integrity of the coffees we source and roast. To achieve this, it took us almost a year of discussions, drafts, seeking external inspiration and creating mockups with our designer Lauren Gallagher to deliver our new and improved line of retail haptic varnish packaging which range in sizes from 8 ounces, 12 oz, 2 lbs and 5 lbs. Still, internally we wanted to find a way to communicate the special nature of certain releases which often happen to be small in size and are either “special prep” which refers to different methods of fermentation that lead to unique flavor profiles to traditional techniques with the common thread being that they are limited and of the highest quality.
After considering many ways to help us communicate to our customers how we would plan on packaging and releasing these coffees, we arrived at the conclusion that we would develop an entirely different packaging for these special lots. With much trial and error, we are proud to present the Modecum box.
The Optics- What’s in the box?
No one would ever argue that we aren't all “Visual Creatures”, I mean, heck, how many times have you bought a bottle of wine based on how pretty the label is? When considering packaging, we first took into account how we wanted to present the roasted product. We knew that we wanted to create an entirely new (to us) bag shape and feel. To achieve this, we asked our bag manufacturer, Savor Brands, to create a slim, block bottom bag that would perfectly fit 250 grams of lightly roasted coffee (with some +/- wiggle room) in a semi transparent plastic bag. The exterior Modicum box uses natural, recycled paper, instead of using flashy colored foils. Text is only used for essential information, and is debossed so it doesn’t become dirty or illegible after handling the box. Finally, each box carries an informational card which includes lot info and sourcing notes.
Coffee Wise, we have created a few internal parameters which will help us classify which coffees make into the Modicum box. Here are our key parameters.
- Lots will range as little as 25 kilograms but never exceed 500 kilograms in size
- Must meet our standards for Single Origin
- May be composed of Special Prep Coffees, Rare Varieties and or Traditionally processed lots.
The ultimate goal for us is to feature the limited nature of each of these releases and to highlight the hard work and inherent quality of each coffee. What is not a goal for Modicum is to use this as a) dumping ground for seemingly rare or cheap coffees pawned off as “expensive” or b) our way to only highlight the ever evolving trend of unique special prepped coffees.
Caveat on Trends
Is there merit to experimenting on fermentation? Of course. More and more, we are asking a few key partners to push the envelope ever so slightly with fermentation in order to see what we can achieve together, but never at the risk of pushing them to do something they have a) never done or b) performing these experiments on all of their harvest. The reality of it all is- we have had both great success and utter failure with exploring different fermentation techniques and while we understand that it can be monetarily disastrous for a producer to undergo techniques that are not appropriate due to their level of skill or climate, we always commit to buying the experiment regardless of the outcome.
If you have been following us over the last 3 years, you may have noticed our transparency efforts in blog, social media posts and webshop. Of course, ask any supply chain professional their own opinion on what transparency means and we would venture to say their answers would be similar to one another- “It’s complicated!” The fact is- it is not easy to prove without a doubt that each price, each contract, each transaction is beneficial to the producer growing the coffee. Alternatively, without including this information to the best of our ability, we risk operating in a gray area that we feel is dangerous to the future of coffee as we know it, so we feel compelled to do our part to offer this information for you to make your decision at the checkout.
We are excited to share Modicum with all of you and can’t wait for you to see all of the work along with experiencing the unique quality of each release. For us, Modicum is both an exploration of flavor and highlighting the limited nature of relationship. Our hope is that with each box, you spend a little more time with each brew in a slower setting, consider the awesome miracle of a clean, intentionally sourced, beautifully roasted, well structured coffee and smile.