It’s been a busy morning and you’re in need of a coffee, but you don’t have the time (or patience) for pots, filters or fussy loose grounds. In the past you would begrudgingly pull a jar of instant from the cupboard, but now there’s another way to get a quick fix – coffee bags – and we are going to be rounding up the best coffee bags available in the UK.
What Exactly Are Coffee Bags?
Clean, easy to use, pre-portioned, and environmentally friendly, coffee bags are billed as a handy (and tasty) alternative to a fresh brew. They resemble tea bags, but, as you would expect, the little heat-sealed material bags contain ground coffee instead of tea! Thankfully, making a cup is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Fill and boil your kettle
- Pour boiling water over your coffee bag and leave it to steep (2-3 mins should do)
- Squeeze the coffee bag and remove from your cup
Then simply sit down, take the weight off your feet and enjoy (don’t forget to give your coffee a good stir to maximise the taste).
Top 9 Coffee Bags
It’s fair to say that, with coffee being the go-to drink for many, the arrival of coffee bags has caused quite a stir. So, without further ado, let’s check out some of the most popular brands on the market right now, and find out a bit more:
Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian Ground Coffee Bags
Taylors of Harrogate source their coffee beans from renowned growers worldwide, and on arrival at their Harrogate site every single coffee bean passes through the traditional drum roaster. Taylors insist that the key to the perfect roast lies in locating the ‘sweet spot’ of the coffee – in other words pinpointing when the flavour is at its best.
Labelled a roast 4, and defined as rich, I enjoyed the full-bodied taste of this 100% arabica coffee. The blend may be African and Latin American, but the inspiration is undeniably Italian.
I closed my eyes, half hoping to be transported to the winding streets of Northern Italy, but alas although Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian Ground Coffee Bags certainly pack a punch, I opened my eyes to find I was still sitting on my sofa!
So, what else can I say about these little bags of fun? Well at around 28p per bag, they are certainly affordable, and they do have a quality taste. You can also rest assured that the bags are produced with health and safety in mind. The bag material is whitened via a chlorine free method, and the sealing material is made from a plant-based bioplastic that’s actually produced from corn starch (also classed as renewable).
The rich ground coffee bags boast great green credentials too. As Rainforest Alliance Certified, you can drink your coffee safe in the knowledge that you aren’t damaging the environment, and satisfied that you are helping to ensure sustainable employment for locals.
What’s more, the bags are compostable, so you can chuck them into your food or garden waste bin with a clear conscience. Oh, did we mention that they are carbon neutral too? How satisfying to be able to kick back and drink a good cup of coffee – and give the environment a hug at the same time.
Moreish Coffee Bags
Made with 8g of coffee, these Moreish Coffee Bags are blended from South American beans, producing a bold and unflinchingly intense brew. As a fan of dark, strong coffee these were just my cup of tea (oops – sorry coffee), and at around 23p per bag they offer good value.
I poured on the boiling water and left mine to brew for a full five minutes, but three minutes is enough if you prefer your brew slightly less hard-hitting. For maximum squeeze factor a dessert spoon works well, that way you can ensure you release every drop of flavour. The aroma proved stimulating and the natural kick of caffeine provided a welcome boost during a hectic afternoon.
Let’s give these coffee bags a tick for their eco-friendliness too. If you want to be formal, the bags successfully achieved European EN13432 Certification (in simple terms this means they are renewable and sustainable). Once used, you can pop the used bags in your food waste or compost bin and they will break down nicely.
The product packaging earns plus points too. For a start, there’s not much of it (less waste is always a bonus), and the bags themselves are resealable. This results in locked in flavour plenty of aroma, and ensures your little bags of coffee retain their freshness for longer.
New Kings Coffee Bags
New Kings Coffee bags offer a quick and tasty hit, useful when you experience that familiar coffee craving. These bags boast a medium roast straight from a land dotted with rainforests, volcanoes, and ancient sites – Guatemala (Central America).
A few sips allowed me to get the measure of these 100% arabica fresh ground bags. They exude plenty of body and depth, and a fruity acidity that tickles the tongue. I also picked up on a hint of toffee and a dash of almond, a nice touch which added something extra to the flavour.
As per the other coffee bags we’ve looked at so far, New Kings Coffee bags are produced with the well-being of the world in mind. It’s praiseworthy that the bags are fair trade and organic certified. They are also sustainably farmed, single origin, and ethically sourced.
In fact, New Kings go one further to make an impact. They are determined to support farmers, workers and communities in their coffee growing regions by donating to the charity Grounds for Health. The charity organises treatment, health screening and training in developing regions – with the aim of helping patients suffering from cervical medical issues.
The eco-qualities don’t end there. The bags are manufactured from a biodegradable product known as Bioweb (renewable and sustainable corn starch).
The bags are wrapped in foil sachets (to make sure they stay fresh – but don’t worry, these are recyclable too. New Kings have got together with TerraCycle to make this happen, you just sent the empty sachets back to TerraCycle, and they will do the rest.
NESCAFÉ AZERA Americano Blend
There’s no fuss and no mess – a simple combination of cup, bag and boiling water, and then you can enjoy this medium roast.
I found this American blend both smooth and flavoursome, and I enjoyed the fruitiness of the citrus tones running through it. I prefer my coffee nice and hot, but this makes a good cold brew too, if that’s your thing.
At around 30p per bag this product is on the pricier side, but for that you are getting high-quality coffee. Freshness is of paramount importance, and each bag is wrapped and sealed to confine the flavour.
Sourcing is careful and considered too. Coffee beans are imported from a number of countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Sustainability is a key element, and the arabica and robusta coffee beans used are all Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Black Donkey Coffee Roasters
Java lovers step this way, Black Donkey Coffee is produced from beans amassed from far-flung coffee regions such as Kenya, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, and Columbia. A Colombian supremo coffee blend (100% Colombian arabica), these bags contain 8g of coffee in each serving, so they offer good value for money.
But, what about the taste? As a creature they aren’t always looked upon in the most favourable of ways, but donkeys are actually plucky and strong – so this coffee has a name that suits! Black Donkey Coffee Roaster bags manage to be both robust and creamy, proffering a well-rounded taste and an aroma that’s very inviting.
I particularly like the smack of dark chocolate and trickle of almond that add a little jolt to the flavour, which lingers and leaves a pleasant taste on the tongue.
Lyons Coffee Break No3
A traditional and well-known brand, Lyons initially launched this product as Lyons Coffee Break, but now it’s got a new moniker (and funky green packaging to match)! Allow us to introduce Lyons Coffee Break No3 Coffee Bags.
At around 15p per bag, these vegetarian coffee bags offer great value for money, and are great for those looking for an easy-going, everyday drink. Made from 100% arabica coffee beans, the smooth flavour hits the spot if you’re seeking a gentle buzz, but might not be intense enough for those who like their coffee to be full of oomph. That said, you can maximise the flavour of the coffee bag by leaving the bag in your cup for a little longer (and squashing it with a spoon before removing).
We do need to give a nod to Lyons for the freshness of these coffee bags. Each sachet is individually wrapped – so you can pop a couple in your bag just in case you run into an emergency ‘I need coffee right now’ moment!
The Little Coffee Bag Company Blend No. 1
Stylish on the outside and delicious on the inside, The Little Coffee Bag Company Blend No. 1 coffee bags would make an ideal gift. That said, why buy them for someone else when you could treat yourself? The bags contain 100% roasted arabica coffee sourced from coffee regions in Rwanda, Sumatra and El Salvador, and I have to say, they are pretty good!
The bags come in at around 25p, which isn’t bad at all, especially in light of the contemporary packaging – and the taste is rather sophisticated too. You can expect a full-bodied drink with a fruity medium acidity. For me, the draw has to be the chocolate flavour (as a self-confessed chocoholic I can’t help myself)!
The chocolate brings a richness to the coffee, but the assault on your taste-buds doesn’t end there. I thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness of this drink, and the blackberries added a perkiness that proved delectable.
New Kings Quality Ground Coffee Bags
Described as gourmet coffee in every cup, New Kings Quality Ground Coffee Bags are made from 100% arabica beans, single sourced from Sumatra in Indonesia. This area is close to the equator and possesses fascinating micro-climates, and the wet-hulling technique that is used results in a variety of intricate flavours.
So, does this dark roast coffee live up to its own hype? Well, at around 69p per bag, these aren’t for those who prefer the cheap and cheerful end of the scale! That said, the coffee bags are presented in a smart box, and they have a lot going for them flavour wise – being both robust and indulgently rich. Take a few sips and you will pick up on the peach syrup and spicy notes, and there is a deep and brooding dark chocolate finish to wrap things up nicely.
Ecologically speaking, the Quality Ground coffee bags are pretty sound too. Fairtrade and organic certified, you’ll be pleased to hear that this coffee is also sustainably farmed and ethically sourced, which means communities within the coffee growing regions receive support. We’re pleased to say the environment is given plenty of TLC too.
The coffee bags are produced using a biodegradable material known as Bioweb (this does not have any adverse impact on the flavour), and in order to lock in the taste and keep the coffee fresh, the bags are placed in foil sachets and sealed. Foil sachets are not considered to be the most environmentally friendly of wrappers, but the sachets can be recycled (send empties back and the company does the rest).
Emirates Blend Medium/Dark Roasted Arabica Fresh Ground Coffee Bags
A coffee bag with a kick would be a good way to describe the Emirates Blend Arabica Fresh Ground Coffee Bags. The beans used to form the base of this blend are sourced from the Minas Gerais state of Southern Brazil. In addition to those you’ll find a tinge of Central America arabica too (from the Jinotega area of Nicaragua), which gives this blend a light citrus acidity.
During an afternoon slump I thought I would give the medium/dark roast arabica ground coffee bags a whirl, and I’m pleased I did! Strong, but with a smooth flavour, the bags contain small batch roasted coffee that gives an intense taste – with real depth. I fell for the sweet caramel tones, and the interwoven tiers of soft honeyed fruits, a very nice way to brighten up my afternoon!
Like the other brands we’ve mentioned, Emirates are keen to make sure their coffee bags stay nice and fresh for you. Therefore, the coffee bags are all single serve and come in resealable pouches. The bags themselves are biodegradable, so you can put the bag and grinds straight into the food bin without worrying about the negative impact on the environment.
What Else Can We Tell You About Coffee Bags?
We’ve given you a lowdown on some of best coffee bag brands on the market, but there’s plenty more to share, so let’s find out a bit more.
Coffee Bags Vs Fresh Brew and Instant
Coffee has been a firm favourite for many years, and there’s been plenty publicised about the benefits of drinking a good cup of joe. As well as providing a welcome energy boost, it has also been suggested that coffee can lower the risk of several health ailments, including diabetes, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The drink has also been linked to improving physical and mental performance, as well as making people generally happy (and that’s always a good thing)!
With all of these benefits in mind, it’s little wonder that coffee is so popular. For some, making and savouring a good cup of coffee is almost a ritual. They enjoy nothing more than a plunge with a French press or the drip from a pour over!
However, brewing fresh coffee can be a time consuming and messy business. Instant coffee can be used instead, but as we know, it doesn’t always have the best reputation. All of this goes some way to explaining why coffee bags have become a popular option.
Price wise, you are paying more for coffee bags. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of rhyme or reason to the mark up – typically there’s not much of a gap between the price of loose-leaf tea and tea bags. However, loose coffee grounds are cheaper to buy than coffee bags. This could be down to the fact that there’s still a bit of a novelty factor attached to coffee bags, and not as many are produced. Perhaps this will change over time – if coffee bags become more of a mainstay in the market.
The Key Benefits of Coffee Bags
Coffee on the go has never been simpler. Bags are perfect for hectic mornings, busy afternoons, long road trips, the daily commute, camping, other holidays, in fact anywhere you might want a good coffee but might not be able to get one! You can even stash coffee bags in your pocket when you go and stay with the relative who only buys the cheap and nasty stuff that sets your teeth on edge!
We must also give a nod to the eco-friendliness of coffee bags in comparison to the likes of instant coffee and pods. Coffee bags generally produce less waste, and most are made from biodegradable materials (no plastic here thank you very much). The bags break down easily – so you can dispose of them in your food waste bin without the worry of adding to landfill.
In fact, used coffee bags can actually prove advantageous to the land. Coffee grounds are a great source of phosphorous, slow-release nitrogen (grounds contain around 2% of nitrogen), and organic matter. Simply spread the grounds around the earth surrounding your plants.
The Verdict on Coffee Bags
Coffee bags seem to be a quality alternative, more tasty than instant coffee and less fuss and bother than a fresh brew. No mess, no waiting around – you can boil a kettle, dunk a coffee bag and have nice cup of joe in your hand within a few minutes. Add to this their eco-friendliness, and you start to see why coffee bags are becoming more popular.
Whilst coffee aficionados may turn their noses up, we think these little bags are not only handy but also quite tasty. Convenience in a cup? Yes please, bring on the coffee tea bags!