What Coffee Shops Need to Know About “To Go” Packaging

There’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee, cocoa or tea to start your day, right? But when it comes to choosing between a few extra minutes of sleep and having your morning drink at home, most of us opt for the former. After all, a coffee shop on the way to work can have our needs covered even better than we would ourselves. So, it’s safe to say that most working people prefer to have the first drink in the morning “on the go”. Not only does it save time, but sipping on something while you’re stuck in traffic or on a crowded bus or train can help you relax.


With that being said, if you’re running a coffee shop, you probably want to use this common habit to your advantage and offer your drinks “on the go”. When it comes to coffee, cocoa, smoothies and other drinks on the go, there are two things that make up the product – the beverage itself and the packaging. So, besides making sure your drinks taste great, you also need to pay attention to how they’re packed and presented to the customers. Here are some tips to make sure you have the right “to go” packaging.

A Note on Cups

When it comes to choosing what kind of cups to serve your drinks in, you need to consider several factors. First of all, it’s important to choose a suitable material. Paper cups are best for serving hot drinks like coffee, tea or hot chocolate. To make sure that your customers can safely hold the drinks in their hands without getting burned, opt for paper cups lined with a coating of polyethylene (PE) or polylactide (PLA) which will provide extra insulation.

But if you want to keep things eco-friendly, stick to paper cups that haven’t been treated with any coatings. In this case, you can use additional coffee sleeves made of paper to provide insulation and make the cup comfortable to hold when full with a hot liquid.


On the other hand, cold drinks like frappe and smoothies are best served in plastic cups. You can choose between plastic cups in solid colours or translucent ones which allow people to see your delicious products and can even encourage impulse purchases.

Besides the material, you also need to make sure that the cup is in an appropriate size for the drink. With that being said, a regular coffee shop should have several sizes of cups to serve anything from small shots of espresso to extra large frappe.

Don’t Forget Lids

It’s also crucial to provide every cup with a matching lid. This way, your customers can easily transport their drinks without spills or mess. Plus, they protect the drinks from getting dirty with dust or other particles. You can choose between flat lids and dome lids, depending on the type of drinks you offer.

Flat lids are used for tea and plain types of coffee like for instance, espresso. They can be made of plastic or biodegradable materials such as bagasse. But for smoothies and those fancy types of coffee that come with toppings, it’s best to use clear dome lids. Clear dome lids will allow you to easily fill the cups to the brim with delicious whipped cream, sprinkles and other toppings.


If you’re worried that by using plastic dome lids you’re causing harm the environment, that doesn’t have to be the case. You have the option to purchase clear dome lids made of polyethylene terephthalate, or commonly abbreviated PET. PET is currently the number one recyclable plastic. It is also lightweight and non-toxic while being strong enough to offer protection. This material can withstand freezing temperatures which makes a PET dome lid perfect for serving ice cream and frozen yogurt.

What About Boxes?

When a customer orders several drinks, they are going to need something in which they can conveniently carry them. With the help of coffee to-go boxes, you can pack several drinks and include things like spoons, straws, napkins, sugar and cream for extra convenience. Just make sure that they have compartments large enough to fit your cups. Coffee to-go boxes are usually made of paper. If you want to pick a biodegradable option that can help keep the Earth clean and green, opt for boxes made of Kraft paper.

Custom Design Will Make You Go Places

“To go” cups are a unique opportunity to promote your business. Just think about it. Once a customer gets out of your door holding a box of your drinks, they become a free walking advertisement. And an attractive packaging design can encourage interest in people. Cups with your business’ name and logo along with vibrant colours, interesting catchphrases or fun images can make you stand out in the sea of plain cups. And if you opt for eco-friendly packaging solutions, you can even add a green product stamp to the cups to let potential eco-conscious customers know that they can shop from you without feeling guilty.