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#1
Old 11-20-2013, 12:42 PM
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Why don't we brew coffee in tea bags?

Coffee makers are complicated, and instant coffee is gross. Is there any good reason why we don't brew coffee like tea?
#2
Old 11-20-2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Coffee makers are complicated, and instant coffee is gross. Is there any good reason why we don't brew coffee like tea?
Folger's coffee singles. Not anywhere close to good coffee but when I use to camp I'd only cook things that could be made with boiling water (think ramen cups and instant oatmeal) and those coffee bags.
#3
Old 11-20-2013, 12:54 PM
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The concept isn't that different from a French Press. When I use mine I just mix course ground coffee with hot water, let it seep, then press the grounds out and pour. Your question is really very good - why not put the grounds into a tea bag instead and let seep for 4 minutes? The only reason I can think of off hand is that more coffee is required than tea to make a good cup but I can't imagine the difference would be so much as to make the idea impractical.

Last edited by Frazzled; 11-20-2013 at 12:56 PM.
#4
Old 11-20-2013, 12:55 PM
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Moved to Cafe Society.

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#5
Old 11-20-2013, 12:56 PM
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They do sell "coffee bags". Link.

I bought some a while back to try at work and they weren't very good. The coffee never seemed to brew strong enough.
#6
Old 11-20-2013, 12:57 PM
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I had assumed it was because coffee made with hot water-weak coffee-strong coffee circulating through the grounds makes the coffee taste like crap. Hence why nobody really uses percolators anymore (I tried using one recently, on a camping trip for fun. I could have added milk to muddy water and gotten the same flavor )
#7
Old 11-20-2013, 12:58 PM
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From what I understand, you don't want coffee to steep. This will bring out the bitter nasty substances in addition to the desired stuff. However, I don't see anything wrong with the OP per se. There just has to be some better way of executing it.

ETA: Like Incubus says, percolating sucks. The reason why Mr. Coffee is so much better is that the hot water only gets a single pass through the grounds and therefore leaves the bitter crap behind while taking the good stuff into the pot.
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Last edited by Hypno-Toad; 11-20-2013 at 01:00 PM.
#8
Old 11-20-2013, 01:01 PM
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We get these in the UK which aren't too bad:

http://rombouts.co.uk/products.asp?categoryID=2712

If you don't want to follow the link, they're Rombout's one cup filters. It's a plastic "jug" with a sachet of coffee grounds that sits on top of a cup or mug. Hot water is poured into the jug which then slowly percolates through to the cup.

Taste is ........ acceptable.
#9
Old 11-20-2013, 01:03 PM
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Traditionally, both tea and coffee were brewed by just throwing the leaves or grounds in hot water, which then settled to the bottom. Cowboy coffee is made this way if you don't have a coffee maker on hand.

Tea bags weren't invented until the early 1900s. According to Wiki,

Quote:
The loose tea was intended to be removed from the sample bags by customers, but they found it easier to brew the tea with the tea still enclosed in the porous bags.
Just as a guess, it may be that tea bags caught on while coffee bags didn't because coffee tended to be brewed in larger amounts, while tea was often consumed as single cups where a single-serving bag made more sense.

Also, as others have said, coffee that has been allowed to steep too long tastes crappy. Tea that steeps a long time gets stronger but the taste doesn't deteriorate so much.

Last edited by Colibri; 11-20-2013 at 01:05 PM.
#10
Old 11-20-2013, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
They do sell "coffee bags". Link.
Those are single-cup bags. I vaguely remember coffee in bags meant to go into a regular coffee maker, with enough coffee for a whole pot. I think the bags just went in the filter holder.
#11
Old 11-20-2013, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
Those are single-cup bags. I vaguely remember coffee in bags meant to go into a regular coffee maker, with enough coffee for a whole pot. I think the bags just went in the filter holder.
They still make those:
http://discountcoffee.com/maxwel...ench-roast.htm

I primarily see them at mid-level hotels.
#12
Old 11-20-2013, 02:04 PM
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Coffee bags are not going to give you more bitter elements in your coffee if you time it right. The amount of bitterness imparted to the drink is really just organic chemistry fractional extraction - the flavors we like are more soluble than the ones we don't like. Thus, a short amount of contact between grounds and water is good. Whether that short time is a single-pass drip process, a timed French press, or a timed steep in a coffee bag doesn't make much of a difference. Of course, the single-pass drip method means that you can't steep the grounds too long and so it's going to give you the most consistent cup of coffee.

Other than that, I actually like coffee bags.
#13
Old 11-20-2013, 02:15 PM
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I use Folgers single-serving "coffee bags" when I visit non-coffee friends overnight. While not as good as real drip coffee, it is infinitely better than instant coffee.
#14
Old 11-20-2013, 02:43 PM
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They do make coffe in bags, both single servings (Maxwell House makes them) and Starbucks pouches for drip machines. I take the Starbucks pouches camping, I use one pouch in a Nalgene bottle with hot water.

The reason they're not more popular is they occupy a weird middle ground, the bags aren't as good as drip or press coffee, but not as convenient as instant. The kind of person who want fresh coffee isn't going to use the bags and the kind of person who is ok with instant isn't going to bother with them.
#15
Old 11-20-2013, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
They do sell "coffee bags". Link.

I bought some a while back to try at work and they weren't very good. The coffee never seemed to brew strong enough.
Tea geek here. The reason we don't use coffee bags is because people are used to good coffee. I use fresh loose leaf tea almost exclusively and the difference in taste between loose leaf and bags is probably the same for tea as coffee.
#16
Old 11-20-2013, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deeg View Post
Tea geek here. The reason we don't use coffee bags is because people are used to good coffee. I use fresh loose leaf tea almost exclusively and the difference in taste between loose leaf and bags is probably the same for tea as coffee.
This may be true, but I hope you see it's nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Put good tea in a tea bag and you still have good tea. The problem is that the tea geeks won't buy tea in bags and the average Joe's won't pay a premium for good tea.

Last edited by dracoi; 11-20-2013 at 03:30 PM.
#17
Old 11-20-2013, 03:59 PM
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It is possible to get quality tea in bags but it won't be as good as loose leaf. The problem is that tea in a bag gets stale faster than if tea is stored as loose leaf. In addition, tea bags restrict water flow resulting in a weaker cup.
#18
Old 11-20-2013, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
This may be true, but I hope you see it's nothing but a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Put good tea in a tea bag and you still have good tea. The problem is that the tea geeks won't buy tea in bags and the average Joe's won't pay a premium for good tea.
Whereas it's NOT actually true for coffee.

Put good (ground) coffee in a bag and you've invited massive flavor decay. Old coffee is gross. Coffee ages 'faster' the further it is from its native state.

Green coffee beans apparently stay good pretty much forever. Or at least, severals months.
Roast those beans, and they're really only still good for a few weeks.
Grind them, and now they'll be unpleasant - or at least, lose a lot of their goodness - after only a few days.
Brew it? Welp, that's good for an hour or two.
#19
Old 11-20-2013, 05:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
... I vaguely remember coffee in bags meant to go into a regular coffee maker, with enough coffee for a whole pot. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoid View Post
They still make those:
http://discountcoffee.com/maxwel...ench-roast.htm

I primarily see them at mid-level hotels.
And you might be remembering Maxwell House's Max-Pax,
Quote:
... In 1972 the company had introduced "Max-Pax" ground coffee filter rings, aimed at the then still-strong market for drip coffee preparation. Although this method, too, has been eclipsed, the Max-Pax concept was subsequently adapted as Maxwell House Filter Packs (1989) for use in automatic coffee makers. ...
which is wrong, Max-Pax was for percolators, hence the ring shape, not drip machines (but they'd kinda work in drip machines).

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#20
Old 11-20-2013, 05:32 PM
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I was six years old in 1972, so I'm quite sure that's not what I'm remembering.
#21
Old 11-20-2013, 05:42 PM
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Max-Pax were a thing when I was a kid (I was 4 in '72). I don't know if my dad actually used them or if I just remember commercials, but I had almost convinced myself that I had hallucinated the whole thing. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds View Post
which is wrong, Max-Pax was for percolators, hence the ring shape, not drip machines (but they'd kinda work in drip machines).
I think that's why they say the idea was adapted for drip machines.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 11-20-2013 at 05:46 PM.
#22
Old 11-21-2013, 01:52 PM
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You can buy bags and fill with good coffee for single cups, or easy portability.
#23
Old 11-21-2013, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Whereas it's NOT actually true for coffee.

Put good (ground) coffee in a bag and you've invited massive flavor decay. Old coffee is gross. Coffee ages 'faster' the further it is from its native state.

Green coffee beans apparently stay good pretty much forever. Or at least, severals months.
Roast those beans, and they're really only still good for a few weeks.
Grind them, and now they'll be unpleasant - or at least, lose a lot of their goodness - after only a few days.
Brew it? Welp, that's good for an hour or two.
I guess I'm just a coffee heathen.

As long as it stays in a dry airtight container, I pretty much see coffee as having an infinite lifespan, even pre-ground. I know that there are plenty of people who disagree with me, though, and they may be appreciating things I just don't pay much attention to. Lord knows, the whole Starbucks phenomenon has me scratching my head. $5.00 for a $0.25 cup of coffee?!
#24
Old 11-21-2013, 02:20 PM
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Huh. I'm not a coffee drinker (I have like 2 cups a week), but El SpouseO is. He must be a philistine; he prefers percolated coffee. He used to make it on the stove, but I've since bought him an electric percolator. He likes it.

Maybe neither of us know coffee...
#25
Old 11-22-2013, 12:28 PM
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I am curious about people saying that when you just pass water through the coffee, the bitter crap gets left behind. I find any black coffee to be incredibly bitter and can't drink it. With cream and sugar, any coffee tastes ok. Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Rob
#26
Old 11-22-2013, 12:37 PM
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Coffee makers are complicated?


Ironically, I use my coffee maker to brew my iced tea. And I don't drink coffee!
#27
Old 11-22-2013, 12:38 PM
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Not to be too smart-assed, but how are coffee makers complicated? Every single one I've ever had has the following basic steps.

1. Pour in required amount of water.

2. Put filter in basket.

3. Put appropriate amount of coffee in filter. (maybe this is the sticking point?)

4. Hit the "Brew" button.

5. Wait until the thing is finished brewing.

6. Drink your coffee.

Dump the grounds & filter, rinse out the carafe, and you're ready to go again.
#28
Old 11-22-2013, 12:48 PM
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I kind of find coffee makers complicated. I use a French press, you just add grounds, hot water and let the coffee steep. Coffee makers require filters and you have to remember to keep them in stock, plus the cups listed on the side of the pot don't represent cups as a unit of measurement, I never know how much coffee to use in those things and regardless the coffee never comes out as good as it does in my simple French press.

Last edited by madmonk28; 11-22-2013 at 12:49 PM.
#29
Old 11-22-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeteviljesus View Post
I am curious about people saying that when you just pass water through the coffee, the bitter crap gets left behind. I find any black coffee to be incredibly bitter and can't drink it. With cream and sugar, any coffee tastes ok. Am I missing something?

Thanks,
Rob
You probably are missing something.

For one thing, if the coffee tastes very bitter, it could be the type of bean (robusto beans are cheaper and the ones Americans were used to pre-Starbucks, while the arabica beans tend to be a little more expensive with richer flavor) and it could also be the roast (French and Italian roasts are unpalatable to me because they're burnt to cinders; a lighter roast gives me something I enjoy more).

For another, it is true that the flavor components of coffee extract at different rates. One of the problems people have with making coffee is that they think "That was bitter. If I add fewer grounds next time, it should be less bitter." They're mostly wrong. The most bitter compounds extract more slowly than the volatiles that we most enjoy tasting and smelling. (This also explains why coffee snobs use fresh beans and grind them themselves - the volatile compounds are really volatile). Using less coffee grounds makes a weaker coffee, but it actually makes a coffee that has more bitter flavor relative to the good flavor. So a lot of people who think coffee is bitter can improve their experience by doubling (or more) the amount of grounds they use, and then (if they must) diluting it after they brew it by adding a little hot water.

Of course, there's some unavoidable bitterness in coffee. If you've had good coffee brewed right and still found it too bitter to enjoy, that's just how your taste buds are wired.
#30
Old 11-22-2013, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I guess I'm just a coffee heathen.

As long as it stays in a dry airtight container, I pretty much see coffee as having an infinite lifespan, even pre-ground. I know that there are plenty of people who disagree with me, though, and they may be appreciating things I just don't pay much attention to. Lord knows, the whole Starbucks phenomenon has me scratching my head. $5.00 for a $0.25 cup of coffee?!
It depends on what you want out of your coffee. If you want something bitter, black, and containing caffeine, then whatever, it can come from 1972 for all it matters.

If you want your coffee to be DELICIOUS, then it's not good for very long.

Also, where have you been able to get a cup of coffee for $0.25 in the past 30 years? Even cheap diners charge like $1.75.
#31
Old 11-22-2013, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad View Post
From what I understand, you don't want coffee to steep. This will bring out the bitter nasty substances in addition to the desired stuff. ....
This goes against everything I know from using a French Press. Steeped coffee produces a sweeter more full bodied coffee than a drip process. I have also made a lot of 'cowboy coffee' camping and it is basically steeping and also produces a very good cup of coffee if done right. I also make my coffee strong, which with good coffee will bring out the sweeter flavours.

The only reason we do not use coffee bags is because of convention. Hotel coffee in bags (for those mini Mr Coffee machines) is indeed terrible because it is old and stale and was probably poor coffee even when it was freshly ground. Good coffee properly packaged in bags would make a good cup of coffee.
#32
Old 11-22-2013, 04:08 PM
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With percolating you are boiling coffee and running it through old grounds. The problem isn't the steeping, its the heating.
#33
Old 11-22-2013, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Airk View Post
Also, where have you been able to get a cup of coffee for $0.25 in the past 30 years? Even cheap diners charge like $1.75.
At home
#34
Old 11-22-2013, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by FluffyBob View Post
This goes against everything I know from using a French Press. Steeped coffee produces a sweeter more full bodied coffee than a drip process. I have also made a lot of 'cowboy coffee' camping and it is basically steeping and also produces a very good cup of coffee if done right. I also make my coffee strong, which with good coffee will bring out the sweeter flavours.

The only reason we do not use coffee bags is because of convention. Hotel coffee in bags (for those mini Mr Coffee machines) is indeed terrible because it is old and stale and was probably poor coffee even when it was freshly ground. Good coffee properly packaged in bags would make a good cup of coffee.
What he probably meant was "you don't want coffee to OVER steep". Which does indeed produce icky coffee.

dracoi While you probably COULD make coffee for $0.25 at home, it would be awful, supermarket stuff that's been on the shelf for ages. You might also note that it tends to cost more money to have people do things for you. Do you also not eat out because you could 'make the same thing at home for less money'?
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