Bad Bags and Bag Weights
Well, this isn't the most interesting topic in the world but I wanted to post about some recent issues we've been having with our ziploc bags and how we weigh the coffee into these bags.
First, we use standard 4 mil zip poly bags in 3 main sizes, 5X8 (1lbs), 6X10 (2lbs), and 9X12 (5lbs). These are low-cost bags manufactured in Asia and our suppliers are constantly brokering deals with their suppliers to keep prices low while maintaining good quality. This doesn't always happen the way we wish it would and sometimes the bags we get are not up to snuff, so we stop using them and return them. This is to make sure that we are packing your coffee into bags that have strongs zips and side welds to keep the beans where they are supposed to be and not rolling around the box we ship them in. Currently we are on our fourth supplier in as many years in an ongoing effort to keep the bag quality high and the cost low. We aren't that excited about having to use poly bags in the first place, since they are not the most environmentally friendly option, but they are the best low-cost option which helps us keep prices reasonable.
Second, we use automated weigh and fill machines with a vibrating chute that funnels coffee into a hopper connected to a load cell. This load cell accurately weighs the coffee within a fraction of an ounce. Recently some customers have noticed that some of their 1 pound bags weigh slightly more or less than 1 pound. This is because the beans don't always stop on command when the machine reaches the desired weight. Sometimes a few extra beans will roll into the hopper and sometimes the vibration stops too soon and not enough beans reach the hopper. We are talking about 10-20 beans here. So, we adjusted the 1 pound program to weigh out 1.01 lbs to hopefully ensure that no one ever receives a bag that is slightly under. I told you it wasn't the most compelling topic in the world, but there you go...the mind numbingly boring, yet crucially important process of taking big bags of coffee and making them in to little bags of coffee.