Lorena Buitrago - User Experience Designer - User Experience Designer đź“ŤBased in San Francisco
Lorena Buitrago UX / UI Designer

Buencafé Liofilizado de Colombia


Packaging a Delightful User Experience

Buencafé Premium Soluble Colombian Coffee

Company Overview

Buencafé Liofilizado de Colombia has existed since 1973. It is one of the leading premium soluble coffee suppliers in the world, and it has the reputation as being the only one with a social orientation.

Buencafé responsibility not only lies in producing excellent coffee, but it has a deep social commitment to coffee growers, as well as the environment.

I was part of an ambitious project to create a new package that could captivate the Russian and Japanese markets.

Colombian Coffee is increasingly international

With 40 years of experience exporting 100% Colombian freeze-dried coffee, Buencafé is one of the main producers of the world´s freeze-dried coffee industry.

Buencafé reaches over 60 countries on five continents, and the latest markets developed are: Thailand, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Belize, Bolivia and Costa Rica.

In 2008 the company increased the capacity from 7500 to 11500 tons annually, and changed its name to “Buencafé Liofilizado de Colombia;” this change came with a great interest of offering a new package design.

The Challenge

Sculpting glass In 5 months

The goal was to create a package that not only summarizes the values and aesthetics of the Juan Valdez brand, evoking feelings of elegance, quality, nature and sustainability, but to also represent it as a high quality product in the markets of Japan and Russia.

Business Requirements

1- Create an ergonomic easy to pour coffee package

2- Establish the brand as high quality and innovative in new markets (Japan & Russia), creating a relationship of deep emotional engagement.


My Role

I led the design of the package experience between January 2008 and June 2008, during which I collaborated with the design leader in creating virtual prototypes.

In addition, I worked alongside the lead production engineer, packaging provider engineer, sales and marketing managers.


Discovery - Users in Context

How did all start?

At the beginning of the project we didn’t have a clear idea of what the user would be looking for in a glass package, so I started by doing general research of the competitors and conducting interviews with experienced engineers and sales department staff.

Understanding the User

Due to limitations of time and resources during the user research, I focused on general cultural analysis, customs, taboos and omens rooted in each culture and how these could influence the choosing of Buencafe Colombian coffee over the competition.



Competitive Analysis

Euromonitor International Market Research

Russia & instant Coffee

Studying Russian coffee consumption trends, I focused on key cultural behaviors, collected by Euromonitor findings, like how the recent release by Nescafe of Latte, Moccacino and flavored coffees on 2006 influenced the increasing consumption of these varieties; nevertheless the standard freeze-dried coffee continued dominating with 70% of the value by 2006.

Japan Coffee Culture

The Japanese market, on the other hand, had an established acceptance of western influences derived products like coffee candies, ice cream, pastries etc. They also seemed to prefer strong coffees. The biggest prospective of consumption was focused on organic and flavored coffees.

The culture, architecture and artistic principal icons were also a place of inspiration and guide for the creative process of the package design.

Morphologic Analysis and Scenarios of Use

The morphologic analysis helped us determine opportunities of innovation and differentiation through a detailed study of each function of the package, the user expectation, user experience and the multiple possibilities to achieve the desired outcomes.


Following the morphological analysis came the creation of design scenarios: “Optimistic,” “Realistic” and “Pessimistic.” The optimistic defines the design attributes of the package if there were no limitations of technology, time, resources; it is focused on a prospective idealistic user experience. The Realistic Scenario takes into account technical actual top-of-the art possibilities and accepts small investments into creating the best user experience. The pessimistic scenario focuses on how to create a great experience for the user with the actual resources and technical possibilities.




Next, I began hand sketching. I also had iterative meetings with the marketing, engineering, design and the manufacturing (Peldar) teams in order to have a real understanding of the strategy and scope of the project and how to distribute my time to best accomplish the company goals.


Once I completed my first sketches and the draft designs, marketing and engineering teams approved the ideas. I then created virtual prototypes to aid in satisfying government regulations, stacking optimization, stability and production line possibilities (including labeling, lining and lid sealing production).

Virtual prototypes

user experience_packaging_design_proposal3_coffee_flower.jpg

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Positive results & what’s next

I was lucky to start working with Buencafe Liofilizado de Colombia when they just had their third expansion and changed their name from Freezed-dried coffee factory to Buencafé liofilizado de Colombia as part of the National Federation of Coffee Growers added value strategy. Since then, the company keeps growing and expanding throughout the world.

The work presented here belongs to the Phase 1 of the new package design project and it had a positive impact on the company’s image and focus on creating the perfect packaging user experience.