Best Coffee Bags To Buy 2023

What are coffee bags?

Coffee bags follow the same principle as teabags – as with tea leaves, the ground coffee comes completely sealed inside a (sometimes recyclable) bag. They are a quick and no-fuss way to make an individual cup of coffee. Simply pour hot water over the coffee bag and leave to brew for 2-3 minutes.

Best coffee bags at a glance

  • Best quality coffee bags: Raw Bean Coffee, £4.99 (10 bags)
  • Best ethical coffee bags: Heaped Coffee, £9.50 (14 bags)
  • Best versatile coffee bags: Taylors of Harrogate, £23.60 (80 bags)
  • Best decaf coffee bags: Paddy & Scott’s Brew Bags, £18.99 (31 bags)
  • Best for fast steeping time: New Kings Coffee, £9.99 (16 bags)
  • Best for a wide range: Whittard Coffee, £5 (10 bags)
  • Best dark coffee bags: Farrer’s Coffee, £6.40 (10 bags)
  • Best coffee bags to gift: The Little Coffee Bag Co., £4.50 (5 bags)
  • Best affordable coffee bags: Lyons Coffee, £2.20 (10 bags)
  • Best for large coffee bags: Faff Coffee, £24 (30 bags)
  • Best light coffee: Artisan Coffee, from £6.50 (20 bags)

How are coffee bags made?

One of the issues with both teabags and coffee bags is that microplastics are sometimes used in their production, meaning they won’t be compostable or biodegradable. Environmentally friendly coffee bags usually use a mix of paper, cornstarch-based products and degradable spun-bound, non-woven, microweb fabric.

Most coffee bags come in their own sachet (to keep the coffee fresh) and, on the whole, recyclable sachets were harder to tear open than their non-recyclable counterparts – I had to use scissors in most cases. A small price to pay, though, for the sake of the environment.

What kind of coffee do coffee bags hold?

Any kind of coffee can be used in a coffee bag, and even the quantity of coffee can range from 7.5g to 15g. When deciding on which bags to buy, consider the source/origin of the beans and whether it’s a dark or light roast.

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What are the benefits of coffee bags?

The main benefits of coffee bags is that they are quick and convenient. No grinding, weighing, pressing or extracting to worry about, and the whole process is usually done in no more than three minutes.

Decaf options are available (perfect for your evening cup), and coffee bags are ideal if you’re going away and only have a kettle to hand. The coffee in coffee bags is likely to be of a better quality than instant coffee.

What to look for when buying coffee bags

Flavour and quality are paramount, the former of which will come down to personal preference. If you like milk in your coffee, go for the darker roasted options. How a coffee brand sources its beans is important too, although unlikely to be detailed on the packaging.

The other factor to consider is whether the packaging is eco-friendly. Unlike teabags, each coffee bag usually comes in its own sachet, which may or may not be recyclable. There’s also the bags themselves to consider, as well as the outer packaging.

If the coffee bags are not individually wrapped, it’s best to store them in an airtight container (if they don’t already come in a sealed bag that lets CO2 out).

How to use coffee bags

Coffee bags can be used just like teabags. Put a bag in a cup or mug, then fill to the top with boiling water. Use a teaspoon to squeeze or dunk it (this lets the water in and the air out), completely saturating all the coffee grounds. Let it steep for 2-3 minutes or as desired, then when you’re ready and it’s done, give the bag another squeeze to release any excess water. Add milk and sugar, or drink black.

Best coffee bags to buy in 2023

Raw Bean Bean Bags x 10 bags

An orange and black cardboard pack of coffee bags

Best quality coffee bags

I like the name of these – ‘coffee bags’ can be ambiguous – and the bags immediately feel fancy, because they’re attached to a dunking string and are pyramid shaped (which seems to help with drainage). The fabric of the bag feels soft.

Each box holds 10 coffee bags (not individually wrapped), or you can buy larger boxes of 50 which are individually wrapped. I was pleased to see that the decaf bags use the certifiable Swiss Water® method.

The freshness dates were short, which is good news in terms of coffee quality. The roast level was even, as were the coffee grounds, and the weight of ground coffee per bag was slightly heavier than most other options. There were some fines at the bottom of the cup, but this was the case for almost every coffee bag I tried.

I enjoyed the Deliciously Dark blend of Brazilian and Nicaraguan coffee, while the Breakfast Blend was pleasant and sweet. The El Salvador bean bags were noticeably different – lighter, with fruity characteristics.

Available from:
Raw Bean (£4.99)
Waitrose (£4.50)
Amazon (£5.70)

Heaped coffee bags x 14 bags

Best ethical coffee bags

Heaped sources its coffee from indigenous small holders and donates 50% of all profits to charity. The roaster Tom Haigh and his partner Shoair Mavlian have many years of coffee roasting experience between them, and Tom is also responsible for the Tate’s Gender Equality Coffee Project, which aims to source coffee equally between female and male coffee producers.

The coffee is roasted medium and the grind is not too coarse. Individual coffee bags are compostable, plus the sachet each bag comes in and the outer packaging can be recycled. The sachets were a little hard to rip open, just as with most recyclable sachets.

Not only is the aroma great, but the taste is as close to fresh filtered coffee as you can get – just without any mess or equipment. These bags produce an easy-to-drink, pleasant and clean cup. The coffee has chocolate notes, strong, rich and smooth but not overpowering. For black coffee drinkers, this would be my pick of the bunch.

Available from:
Drink Heaped (£9.50)

Taylors of Harrogate x 80 bags

Best versatile coffee bags

The range as a whole (there are three different blends to choose from, plus a decaf option) is very tidy, cute and stackable. Each coffee bag comes in its own sachet, which, with its distinctive corrugated edge, is easier to open than most other coffee bag sachets. That said, I did rip the actual coffee bag on first try – so try flicking your sachet first, to make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

The decaf bag I tried was smooth, mild and pleasant to drink. My favourite out of the Taylors range was the Rich Italian Roast 4 bags. The Hot Lava Java Roast 6 was quite strong, so if you like something heavier with milk, this is the coffee bag for you.

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