As a site about bean to cup machines, you can definitely be forgiven for wondering why we’d even consider talking about coffee bags. They’re never going to deliver coffee like a multi-hundred-pound coffee machine are they? Fortunately for us, and especially for Delonghi, Sage and Melitta, no – they’re not a patch on freshly ground beans brewed at home. Phew!
So then, why would we want to talk about them?
Well – there’s actually a couple of reasons, and we’ll go into them in a little more detail before going on to talk about the various brands and variations in coffee bags you can buy right now. If you know you want some, and are ready to buy with a little guidance, no problem, just click here to head down to that part of the page!
Coffee Bags Are A Bit Of A Fad Right Now
Admittedly, when we say fad, it’s a fairly loose description used with a degree of poetic licence, but the fact of the matter is a TV ad or two in recent months have drawn attention to the fact that they exist. They’re not massively new, but having spoken to a few people including a couple of readers of the website, it seems some people have been taken in by the clever marketing and think there’s been a huge scientific development resulting in the best quality of coffee from a newfangled bag. If that’s what you were hoping to hear, sorry to burst your bubble!
Before we go on, it’s important to note that coffee sachets and coffee bags aren’t one in the same. Sachets are popular too, especially for instant latte and cappuccino, but you rip the top off them and dissolve them like instant in hot water. Coffee bags are like tea bags, which you brew and then remove the bag when ready.
On the subject of tea bags – we’ve all been using them for as long as we can remember, but generations gone by used tea leaves and strainers, and that’s a similar path to where the brands below are hoping to move us with coffee bags. In other words, the instant coffee market has been doing incredibly well for years, and its a very congested space to market new products. As a result, a new angle has been needed to create something perceived to be new.
If you ask people to try coffee bags, they might get a surge of excitement in trying a new product, and they might even taste a difference compared to their normal instant coffee. That’s probably also true too though if they just try a different instant coffee, so it’s important to see the bigger picture here. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with coffee bags, far from it, they just might not be the new saviour of the morning coffee the ads on TV are trying to make you believe.
Coffee bags can be considered to sit between instant coffee and ground coffee, with the latter being the type you might use in a cafetière. People love instant because it’s quick, even though most of us appreciate that it doesn’t give the same quality as using ground coffee from a foil bag or better still fresh beans in a coffee machine. What the bags are trying to do is get as close to the speed and convenience of instant as possible, while getting the step up in quality of using ground filter coffee and a cafetiere while avoiding the mess and faff of cleaning up afterwards.
You Can’t (Easily) Take A Coffee Machine On The Commute
One of the big reasons people buy a home coffee machine is to save a bit of money of their caffeine habit. If you get used to buying a coffee on the way to work every day, you could easily be seeing up to a hundred pounds of your hard earned cash disappear into their cash register each month, depending on where you buy. It’s easy to see how buying a decent coffee machine like the Delonghi Eletta or Melitta Barista TS could pay for itself within six months, and save you a few minutes each day queueing too! Yes, of course you might need a drinks flask and to buy the beans too, but it’s more than possible to be better off in less than a year, and you’ve got the benefit of great coffee on demand at home too.
Getting back to the point at hand, while you can’t take a machine to work with you, you can have a box of coffee bags in your desk drawer at work. That’s a great way to avoid drinking the muck that many employers lay on for their staff, if they even pay for the drinks at all. So, if you’re not in a position to buy a coffee maker, you can replace the Starbucks with a box of coffee bags for work and save up the money until you can get that amazing machine that would look so great in your kitchen!
The Best Coffee Bags
So, if we’re going to buy some coffee bags, lets take a look at what’s on offer and what might make a good choice.
To begin with, here’s what Amazon’s search results give us, which is often a good way to see what other people like to buy:
Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian Coffee Bags (10 Enveloped Bags Per Pack x 3 Packs = 30 Coffee Bags)
Moreish Coffee Bags - Smooth Colombian Fairtrade (50 Single Origin Coffee Bags)
Moreish Coffee Bags - Intense Brew - Rainforest Alliance (50 Strong Coffee Bags)
Coffee Bags - Rich & Bold Medium Roast Speciality Coffee Bags | 40 x 8g Coffee Bags
Old Grinder - All Day Long - Intense Brew (50 Coffee Bags)
As Amazon are one of the biggest shops in the world, you can bet they know what people like, which is why we’ve started their. No doubt their database spits out those as the top choices for coffee bags for a reason, but we also wanted to cherry pick a few choices ourselves too, so you can have some idea of what other people like and why.
Top Coffee Bag Reviews
Next up then, here’s our choices of common bags you may wish to consider, along with links to buy on Amazon if you’d like them to be delivered to your door. Of course, many are also available in supermarkets too if you prefer!
Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian
Whether it’s coffee beans, filter coffee or instant, Taylors of Harrogate are a heavyweight when it comes to the domestic caffeine injection. In this case, these Rich Italian bags carry notes of dark chocolate and almond. They’re supplied in packs of ten, with multipacks available to buy 30 or 80 at once on Amazon, or individual 10-packs in store.
If you’re environmentally and ethically conscious (as we should now all be!), it’s good to know these bags are certified under the Rainforest Alliance scheme, in other words Taylors have agreed to work towards sustainable business practices. That relates to both farming methods and the treatment of workers, but it’s important to recognise that the Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade certification are not the same thing.
The Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee bags are their Roast 4, which signifies their place in a family which also includes a decaffeinated version of the same product, as well as the Flying Start breakfast coffee with a hazelnut flavour (Roast 5) and Hot Lava Java which is a strong and smoky for those that enjoy a delightfully dark coffee hit (Roast 6).
If you’re not sure which to go for, we’ve chosen the Rich Italian blend purely due to its popularity, and you can check out its price on Amazon here:
Moreish Intense Brew
Much like Taylors, there’s a range available from Moreish of which their Intense Brew is one offering. Again, these fall under the Rainforest Alliance rather than Fair Trade, but that’s a better choice than nothing.
Moreish describe their Intense Brew as ‘Strong, Dark and Delicious’, which is music to our ears as espresso fans and they do manage to get a good strength out of a bag, admittedly more so that we expected.
It’s similar to tea in that it needs a good few minutes brewing time, and we’re going to upset people if there’s an equivalent to the tea police when we say this benefits from a good squeeze against the side of the cup to get the final boost to the strength of this coffee.
The Moreish packaging is a bag (or resealable pouch as they call it) of fifty individual one cup bags which function very much like tea bags. In other words, put one in a cup of mug, and pour not-quite-boiling water over them. Leave for three or four minutes then give them a bit of a stir and squeeze as you remove the bag.
According to Moreish, the coffee bags are best used within a month of opening.
Moreish also have an Organic Honduran variety which is slightly less strong than the Intense Brew with a nuttier flavour, and also a Columbian version with a similar strength to the Honduras which is a fruitier blend. Finally, there’s a decaf edition too called Swiss Water Decaffeinated if you prefer to avoid caffeine altogether or like a coffee close to bed time.
Percol Espresso Noir
If you’re partial to really strong coffee and love that instant hit, Percol might just be your bag of choice. Interestingly, if you look for reviews onlnie you might find a few complaining that they’re not as strong as billed, but we’ve not seen that issue.
Where Percol really shine is their environmental focus. They enjoy the same Rainforest Alliance certification as the Moreish and Taylors, but in addition boast plastic free packaging, both in the coffee bags and the outer box too. Obviously, in a world where we’re all increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, that’s an important achievement in products we buy.
Each box contains ten bags, and we link here to a multi-pack of six boxes giving 60 Percol coffee bags in total. You can of course change the quantity to what you need, but typically you’ll get a better price per bag in higher quantities.
Where To Buy Coffee Bags
While we’ve provided links above to Amazon, that’s because it’s the most convenient place to order, given that you’re already online reading this!
You can of course also buy coffee bags in the real world too, with the most obvious place being the supermarkets. All the big name stores are now in on the act, with the big four of Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons all having a wide range available, particularly in their bigger stores. More recently they’ve occasionally been on the shelves in the discounters too – so if you like to shop in Aldi or Lidl, keep your eyes peeled next time you’re in store, with the same being the case in places like B&M, Home Bargains and even in the pound shops!
Bizarrely, while researching where to buy coffee bags, we discovered they’re rarely stocked in convenience stores. When you consider that shops like the Co-op are often located in residential areas that are densely populated, it’s a bit odd not to offer premium options like coffee bags. There will be a lot of people living in flats in these areas, particularly those in inner cities where there’s not enough space in the kitchen for a big coffee machine, so you’d think there’d be quite a market for these bags!
Here’s a quick guide to which supermarkets are stocking which bags at the time of writing (last updated December 2020). If you’re reading this on a small screen, you can scroll the table horizontally:
|Taylors of Harrogate
Taylors Flying Start
Taylors Hot Lava Java
Taylors Flying Start
Taylors Hot Lava Java
Taylors Flying Start
Taylors Hot Lava Java
Azera Espresso Roast
Azera Espresso Roast
|Lyons Go Joe
Lyons Go Joe
Bean Bags Breakfast Blend
Bean Bags Deliciously Dark
Bean Bags Definitely Decaf
Note, we’ve not included the discounter stores like Aldi and Lidl for the time being, as we’re yet to see them reliably stocking bags.
The Last Word
If you’ve got a bean top cup machine, and rarely (if ever) drink instant coffee, then coffee bags are probably not going to be your thing. On the other hand, if you like a decent coffee (note decent, not great) when you’re out and about, at work or anywhere else where great coffee isn’t available, hot water and a coffee bag can get you something to improve on a poor instant coffee.
While you’d never choose to use pods in a machine like a Nespresso or Tassimo if you’ve already got the luxury of a bean to cup maker at home, I can see the reasoning for buying coffee bags to use when you’re away from home. Personally, I’m not a great fan of them, but I work from home most of the time so I’m always near to my trusty Delonghi Eletta. If that wasn’t the case and I had to work from an office without such luxuries, I’d certainly be willing to try my luck with a few brands to see how I got on.