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Custom Chocolate Bar Packaging: The DoubleShot Coffee Story

How rebranding with custom packaging and premium design effects helped DoubleShot Coffee find greater success with their popular Maduro chocolate bars.

August 11, 2022     5 minute read

You’ve probably never ordered a specialty coffee from inside of a barn—let alone a barn that is more than 150 years old—but that’s exactly where you can get a fresh cup when visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The old barn’s rugged and weathered exterior instantly evokes emotion, perhaps nostalgia, transporting you to another place, another time. Once inside, waves of emotion wash over you upon witnessing massive, hand-hewn beams juxtaposed against sleek, modern, silver espresso machines.

It’s unlike any coffee shop you’ve ever seen.

You have yet to taste the coffee, but the space’s design triggers a visceral reaction, gripping you with anticipation. You imagine an exceptional cup before the first sip even touches your palate.

This rich aesthetic experience is provided by DoubleShot Coffee. DoubleShot Coffee has built a reputation for its rich flavors and attention to detail. Every aspect of the company is carefully considered—including its packaging. 

Here’s how DoubleShot Coffee developed a unique take on chocolate and found the right partner to elevate its brand and delight customers with memorable packaging. 

 

DoubleShot Roasts Coffee a Bit Differently

Brian FranklinFounded and owned by Brian Franklin, DoubleShot Coffee is known for doing things their own way. Franklin began roasting coffee decades ago, and launched his shop in a small retail space in downtown Tulsa.

DoubleShot doubled the size of its shop’s footprint and expanded its in-house bakery program. A few years later, it was time to expand yet again, this time into a custom-built space. This new home needed to accommodate another coffee roaster, a full bakery program, and, most importantly, room for their increasing number of regulars.

In 2019, DoubleShot opened the doors to The Rookery—their new location, created from a reconstructed barn that dates back to the 1860s. The handcrafted barn was relocated from Berne, Indiana, and reassembled piece by piece in downtown Tulsa.

 

Creating a Coffee Ground-Infused Chocolate Bar

Of all the things that DoubleShot has become known for, it’s most often remembered for the coffee it exclusively produces: Maduro. Franklin is a purist and insists on traveling to the small farms where he sources coffee. This process is as much about forming relationships as it is understanding the peculiarities of a region that contributes to the overall flavor of the coffee.

Specialty coffee is similar to wine in that factors such as soil, weather, and processing methods all impact the final product—specifically, its taste. In the hands of different roastmasters, the same crop could taste wildly different once brewed.

Roastmasters precisely dial in custom roasts for each farm’s lot, grind the beans according to the brewing method, and then extract it at an exact temperature to within tenths of a degree, using water with a specified pH balance and mineral content. 

Playing with these variables intrigued Franklin. Thanks to years of building relationships with local farmers, he asked one of his Colombian producers about conducting a small experiment. Franklin requested one of the farmers to pick only the reddest, ripest cherries from a portion of his lot and to process them as a separate batch.

Ultimately, this experiment created one of their flagship roasts (Maduro), which has landed DoubleShot Coffee a mention in Wine Spectator magazine and the definitive java history book “Uncommon Grounds.” The sweeping success of this coffee led Franklin to think of what else he could create.

A coffee ground-infused chocolate bar seemed like a sure winner.

Franklin worked with a few chocolatiers before finding local gourmet chocolatier Glacier Confection to produce the Maduro chocolate bar. This premium bar is made with 68% Peruvian dark chocolate and infused with Franklin’s roasted Maduro.

 

How Effective Packaging Adds Value to the Chocolate Bar

Maduro Chocolate Bar on displayThis masterful pairing of coffee and chocolate makes the bar a premium product, and Franklin knew he needed to collaborate with an experienced, domestic packaging partner to capture that.

He believed custom packaging would be the key to communicating that value to customers. No stranger to custom packaging, Franklin releases two high-end coffees each year, each packaged in a gift set, often with a handmade mug or similar accessory. Since embracing custom packaging, he’s seen a direct impact on sales.

This would be the fourth year he’s sold the Maduro bar, but he realized that much like relocating his shop to a brand new building, the Maduro bar was due for some refreshed packaging.

So, DoubleShot turned to Oliver Inc. for help in designing a high-end packaging solution that would reflect the premium quality of their chocolate bars.

“We’ve always used a wrapper,” says Franklin. “We made a wrapper that looked like leather for a few years. I felt like they were selling well, but I believed we could take it to the next level.”

Custom packaging requires a certain level of commitment and cost, but Franklin says he wasn’t going to stop selling those bars.

In the scope of the bar’s overall cost to the customer, the cost of custom packaging is insignificant, particularly when it’s the key to catching their attention and making the sale.

To help draw that attention, Franklin chose a metallic copper foil finish to accent their logo.

“I think that without the foil finish, it was just a box,” he explains.

Foil stamping is a common design element for luxury food brands because it communicates scarcity, pedigree, and high quality—and apparently it’s working for the Tulsa-based coffee company.

“I’m planning on selling 600 this Christmas season alone,” says Franklin. “It cost a little more, but I think that when somebody looks at the bar now compared to the bar last year they’ll see a quality difference that will encourage them to purchase it.”

Whether it’s the architectural design of DoubleShot’s new building or the graphic design of their custom Maduro chocolate bar packaging, Franklin understands the importance of the first impression.

These visual cues entice and set expectations for his customers. The combination of exceptional coffees and attractive packaging is sure to keep new customers coming through the doors and enjoying his coffees for years to come.

Oliver is an industry leader in printing and packaging, with more than 250 years of combined experience. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you realize your custom packaging goals.

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