Coffee bags. They offer convenience but not much else…
If you’ve visited a B&B recently, you might have seen something different tucked in beside your mini kettle and ginger nuts. Coffee bags. They’re the so-called coffee saviour if you need an easier way to brew. ‘As good as fresh!’ they claim. Hmmm…
Let’s peel back the packaging and suss it out 🕵️♂️
What are coffee bags?
Heat-sealed bags that are ready to brew? Sound familiar? We guess so because coffee bags claim to work just like teabags. You put it in your mug, top with boiled water and then leave to brew before discarding in the bin (yes, the bin – can you see where this is heading?).
Coffee bags aren’t a new invention. They first raised their head in the 1970s but failed to catch on. Over the past few years, however, they’ve started popping up in homes and hotel rooms all over the country.
Gotta say, we’re not a fan. If you know us, you’ll know we take loose leaf tea over tea bags any day. And it’s much the same with coffee bags. Plastic-packed rather than climate-positive, months-old rather than freshly roasted; coffee bags aren’t the way to your best ever brew.
Do coffee bags make a good brew?
Okaay… so, opting for coffee bags will give you a better flavour than instant, but it’ll never beat freshly roasted coffee. Coffee bags might claim to give you all the flavour and freshness of just-roasted coffee, but they simply can’t. Why? Because the grounds they contain were roasted months, not days ago, and will probably spend another four or five months sitting in your kitchen cupboard.
Also, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting speciality coffee in your bags. A coffee bag company might advertise their beans as ‘single origin’ and ‘arabica’, but this doesn’t mean it is a speciality. Remember, many commodity coffees contain 100% arabica beans yet still remain low quality and stripped picked.
How much coffee do coffee bags contain?
Not quite enough, in our opinion. Coffee bags contain anywhere between 7g and 12g of coffee, with the average supermarket coffee bag including about 8g. Put your maths head on and we’ll work out if this is any good.
A standard coffee mug contains about 250ml of water. Filter coffee (which is what coffee bags are supposed to taste like) has a brew ratio of 1:17. This means that for every gram of coffee, you want 17 grams of boiled water. So, if you were brewing a proper filter coffee, you’d start with something like 15g of coffee for your 250ml mug. We’re no Archimedes, but even we can tell that 8g ain’t going to cut the mustard.
Are coffee bags bad for the environment?
If you’ve read our piece on coffee pods, you’ll know we don’t like bundling coffee up in plastic. Not all coffee bags contain plastic, admittedly – some are made from plant-based plastics, paper or different types of fabric – but this doesn’t make them sustainable. The majority can’t be put on your compost heap (your AeroPress filters can! One nil to the AeroPress) because they need too much heat and space to decompose. If they are biodegradable/compostable/eco-friendly, the correct method is often so convoluted that most users dispose of them in the wrong way by mistake or end up just putting them in the bin. What’s more, coffee bags often come individually wrapped, giving us yet another piece of plastic the world can do without.
Are coffee bags expensive?
When it comes to value for money, coffee bags don’t score highly. They range in price, but a reasonable quality pack of 10 coffee bags can set you back £4.50. That’s 45p per bag. If each of these bags contains 11g of coffee, that’s 4p per gram of coffee. Pretty pricey, huh?
Subscribe to Two Chimps Coffee, and you get better value all round. A 250g bag of freshly roasted coffee costs just £7.95 bag. That works out at 3.1p per gram. Better value for superior quality coffee that’s climate-positive, speciality and properly fresh (it’ll have been roasted just a few days before arriving on your doormat). Now that’s what we want on our coffee break!
Say ‘bye bye’ to the bags and brew speciality instead. Get yours here!