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The A to Z of Drip Coffee Bags

Everything you’ve wanted to know about drip coffee bags

Chic, stylish, and disposable?

Many have heard of drip coffee. Many have also heard of coffee bags. But have you ever heard of drip coffee bags? These handy, hearty, and delicious little innovations make for an interesting take on the pour-over experience. Today we are going to be learning a bit more about drip coffee bags. These gems are an interesting and nuanced take on both the disposable coffee bag and on pour-over coffee. But first, a little bit of background!

A country of avant-garde and forward-thinking coffee drinkers

The origins of the drip coffee bag go back to that nation perhaps known more for sushi and the tea ceremony than coffee; Japan. Japan has been a real innovator in the coffee scene for decades. Centuries even, as some of the first unique takes on coffee preparation can be traced back to the trade relations the Netherlands had with Tokugawa Japan back in the 1700s!

But more so, as a nation that not only appreciates avant-garde aesthetics while also seeking ease and convenience, the drip coffee bag method was only natural. Developed in the 1990s there is something charmingly retro about the modern incarnation of this invention. The bags themselves are actually quite simple; they are preground coffee beans stored in handy little filter bags. But there’s something special about these bags. 

They just so happen to open from the top and unfold into a cubicle shape. Once unfolded they have a set of thick paper “legs” that suspend the bag right above your mug. This functions the same way as a coffee filter would for a standard pour-over cuppa. The difference is the whole bag, little suspending legs and all can be disposed of entirely after brewing.

While convenient and certainly worth a try for novelty purposes if anything, how does a drip coffee bags compare to a full-fledged cup of pour-over drip coffee? Well for starters, the coffee in the bags are of course pre-ground. This invites a whole series of things to consider, like if one prefers freshly ground whole beans or if the potentially staler or even musty flavours that can come as a result of pre-grounds are a problem or not. Certainly, pour-over prepared from freshly ground whole beans will certainly taste, smell, and most likely possess the mouthfeel of a higher-quality cup.

Another issue to consider is the environmental impact of disposable coffee. Like coffee pods, disposable coffee bags have the problem of ending up in landfills. The irony though is that coffee grounds are actually very beneficial for one's garden plants or in the compost heap instead. Luckily, drip bags can be properly disposed of as the top of the bag is opened and allow for one to dump the grounds out after use. But the remaining bag and legs still end up in the trash.

But how do you brew them?

Drip coffee bags are fun to brew. The same methods one uses to brew pour-over can be applied, especially the use of the gooseneck kettle if one possesses one! The real fun though is taking that drip bag out of its packaging. The bag will usually be folded flat and will require one to pull the sides, pop out each of the four little supporting legs, and open up the coffee bag. Fix the legs over the mouth of ones mug. When your water has reached its boil and cooled a little bit, pour it over the grounds held within the bag as one would with standard pour-over coffee. The bag will be submerged in the brewed coffee. But, here's the handy part, those supporting legs can be used to pop off the mouth of the mug and used to fold the bag back up to be disposed of without getting your hands wet. Convenient indeed! But the best way to know if drip coffee bags are for you is to go out and brew.