For a number of years now, I have been buying instant coffee products. Since the main brand has been Nescafe, this question is specifically about their products, even though I vaguely recall that the other brands also did this same thing. (I can't swear on it, though.)

When you buy a jar of "Nescafe Gold", for example, and unscrew the top, you are met with a thin but firm protection layer, obviously intended to increase the shelf life for the product. However, there isn't any part of this which allows human fingers to pull this protection layer up easily, in one go. In fact, every single time I open a new bottle, I'm scared to get little pieces of that protection layer into the actual instant coffee, since the only way I have found to actually unseal it reasonably safely is to take a tea spoon and carefully knock a hole in the middle and then start pulling away the pieces, hoping that it doesn't make a mess.

It always makes a mess.

There seriously doesn't seem to be any way to open it in a "sane" and "obvious" way. I'm absolutely baffled by how this can be, and I've been trying to imagine scenarios in my head where they sat in a board room somewhere and decided to design it this way (and keep it for a very long time) in spite of the problems and frustrations and intangible badwill it would produce. Not to mention that they probably use the product themselves.

I've tried numerous alternate ways to open it, including cutting along the edges, but nothing is efficient and safe, as one would expect from such a popular and well-funded instant coffee product. It almost seems like they want you to open as few packages as possible, which is the opposite of their best business interest...

Does anyone have any facts about this?

EDIT: It seems like the responses so far don't understand what I'm asking at all. I'm simply wondering why they don't have a little extra bit of the exact same material as they are currently using "overflowing", for a human to be able to "grab on" to something and thus open the seal without making a mess. Why require each customer to fiddle around with knives and stuff? With so many things having been simplified to an extreme degree in recent decades, why is this particular product still using what seems to be the "version 1.0" of vacuum sealers? You would still see if somebody has been tampering with it. It would just be much easier to actually open.

  • $\begingroup$ A rapidly applied and effective seal that is also cheap and easily removed by running a fingernail or knife around the edge. What more do you need? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 2, 2020 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ Why don’t you use a sharp knife to open them? $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2020 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Maybe this is actually what they design it for: to show immediately if someone tampered with the seal.

Big brands have to be prepared for acts of arson, sabotage, lunacy, sick people seeking pleasure out of hurting strangers, disgruntled employees, etc.


Regarding why there is no pull tab, this is most likely due to them employing a seal and strip operation.

enter image description here

Figure 1. A typical sealing arrangment. [Illustration mine.]

  • Jars pass below the sealing film.
  • The film stripping plate lowers over the jar top placing the film on the lip of the jar.
  • The heater tip contacts the film and melts it into the jar brim.
  • The stripper plate moves up while the sealer is down. This tears the film around the sealer tip.
  • The heater moves away from the jar.

Note that there is no option in this arrangement to cut a peel tab as no knives are employed.

There are ways to work around the problem but investment in equipment and lack of complaints may provide enough inertia not to do anything.


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