Comments 5

Coffee Bags 101: Which Brand is Best?

I don’t know how new coffee bags are in the UK (judging by Google trends, people have been at least semi aware of them since 2014), but they’re relatively new to me. Until recently, I thought my only options for half decent coffee at the office were:

  • making a flask of it before I left the house
  • lugging a caffetiere to work every day OR
  • leaving it there and hoping no one pinches and/or damages it
  • spending like £3 on one sodding cup of coffee

All of a sudden, there’s a product on the market telling us we don’t have to do any of those things to swerve the office-provided Nescafe that tastes like actual dishwater anymore. For those unaware of the concept, a coffee bag is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Proper ground coffee in teabag form. Pop it in the mug straight from the box, fill with boiling water, wait a few minutes, remove the bag with a cheeky squeeze on the way out and lo: an actually passable cup of coffee is born.

To me, this is kind of a wonder product. I mean, it’s a genius idea. I don’t really know how or why it’s taken the coffee people of this world to come up with it. Already, there’s a little bit of choice when it comes to brands – and I’d put money on there being a lot more within the next few years. With that in mind, I’m here to help with two recommendations.

For Quality

Raw Bean Coffee Bags Review

If you’re a quality over quantity person, then Raw Bean is your brand. The coffee is genuinely of the quality and taste that you expect from cafetiere coffee. I tested this out with a few of my friends at work, and people kept arriving at my desk to tell me how delicious it was and demand that I give them information on where they could get it. My Mum even picked herself some up from Waitrose. This is impressive stuff. Because it’s legit top shelf coffee, you’re coughing up a little more for the privelige than your average box.

It’s £4.50 for a box of 10 bags on their website, and also available in selected Waitrose and Sainsbury’s for (I’m guessing) about the same price. That works out at about 45p a cup – I can confidently say it’s worth that, but it’s not necessarily and end-of-the-month-frinedly purchase. This is 100% without a doubt my favourite brand, and I’m gonna try their ground coffee now too off the back of my experience of their bags.

On a Budget


If you want to go a little lower on price, I’ve got your back. Lyon’s have got a far cheaper alternative at around the £2.60 mark for 18 bags. Where Raw Bean wowed me, Lyon’s did not. It’s a solid cup of coffee, and still far superior to instant, but it doesn’t make people go “shit, that’s amazing, that came out of a bag?” when they drink it. You may be interested to know, however, that this is the only box I’ve repurchased. Half because my bank account wasn’t looking too friendly at the time of needing more, and half because Lyon’s happens to be more readily available in more shops and so it was conveniently sat in the coffee aisle of the Waitrose I was in. It does its job perfectly well, and I happily recommend it, but not before I’ve sung the praises of Raw Bean.

A note on sustainability

You know I love to bang on about matters of the planet, and my judgement of a product these days is often shaped as much by its quality as the way it’s packaged. While Raw Bean is packaged in a simple cardboard box with the bags loose inside, Lyon’s bags are individually wrapped in little foil packets. Little bits of seemingly needless waste like this are a gripe of mine that I hope to see the back of very soon.

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  1. Ooooh i’ve seen these quite a bit online, but haven’t found any in person. To be honest, 45p for a decent cup of coffee isn’t much, but I can see how £4.50 seems a lot in the outset. I love the idea of it though, I’m just surprised the coffee doesn’t go stale as once it’s ground if it’s exposed to the air it has a very short life. Alice xxx

  2. Lulu says

    I remember my mother in law using coffee bags in England 20 years ago. Does anyone know when they first became available over there and which company was first?

  3. I recall my grandmother using coffee bags (or actually allowing us, her grandkids to use them) when I was just starting to drink coffee in my early teens… lets just say that was over 40 years ago. If memory serves it was Lyons brand but I may not be accurate there

  4. Robert says

    Coffee bags were popular in the UK in the 1970’s with several brands. They disappeared from the UK market in the early 1980’s but have now reappeared.

    • Philip Smith says

      I remember buying coffee bags in the UK way back in the 1970s. They were not particularly good

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