Eli5: Why does coffee brew in a French press or coffee machine, but tea steeps in a bag?

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Why not a coffee bag? Or a tea press?

EDIT: I stand corrected— they do exist!! Thanks for all the answers!

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10 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

These are both valid methods for both drinks. Both items will brew in both of these steeping methods.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Coffee goes stale a lot faster than tea. So while freshly ground coffee would have no real problems being steeped in a bag it’s a really bad idea to package and ship preground coffee in a bunch of tiny little baggies. You would have to seal each bag in something airtight individually. Which is going to be more expensive than just buying a can of it, and lower quality than a bag of fresh beans. Without all of the convenience (real or perceived) of something like a kurig.

As for why tea is steeped in bags other than some other method? Well, you totally can use other methods and lots of people do. Tea bags are just super easy.

Anonymous 0 Comments

a french press works great for tea, especially loose leaf tea, but bags also work. coffee is also available in “bags” depending on where you shop.

we just like to label things, it does bot mean those items cannot be used for other purposes

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you’ve only ever had bag tea, try loose-leaf tea. Just brew it in the pot and allow it to bloom, the way you would with French press coffee. Strain and serve. It’ll change your life.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Folk wisdom says you don’t press tea. The caffeine is released in the first three or four minutes. Anything longer (or if you press it/squeeze the bag) and all you’re doing is releasing tannins that makes you nauseous and make the tea bitter.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can get coffee bags. And lose tea will brew perfectly fine in a French press. I have not actually tried brewing tea in a coffee machine but I suspect the leaves will make it hard for the water to soak through well. It is more traditional. Ground coffee needs to be kept away from air as it will go stale while tea can be kept in the open. So coffee bags can be hard to store like tea bags.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I basically tea bag brew coffee while camping using a coffee sock infill with coffee and submerge in hot water for five to ten minutes.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Tea steeps in a bag purely for convenience. Back in the day, people would simply put the tea in the water and let it steep like that. Even today, many people prefer using loose tea.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You can get coffee bags, it is just less common. I only ever see it in hotel rooms. Coffee doesn’t stay fresh as long. That is why ground coffee is in air tight bags, while tea bags often sits loose or in paper slips.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The reason why people go to the trouble to press coffee rather than steep it in a bag is that when water runs over coffee and extracts flavor, the first flavor it extracts is the flavor people like the most. The flavor that is extracted over time, such as by steeping the coffee or having the grounds exposed to water for a longer time, is more bitter and most people are turned off by it. That’s not the case with tea so it’s fine to soak tea leaves, they’re still yummy. But by pressing water over coffee (FYI: the root word of espresso is “press”), you are minimizing the length of time the coffee is wet and you’re getting out of that coffee the freshest, first, tastiest results of the water being pressed over it. This is a lot of trouble, and it’s not at all needed to get the good flavor out of tea leaves, so nobody bothers doing it for tea.