Why is coffee not steeped in tea bags?



Brewing coffee and steeping tea seem to be the same process: soluble molecules of coffee/tea are dissolved into hot water and the solid insoluble parts are filtered out by my understanding. So why can’t coffee come in tea bags so that it would be easier to make a singular cup? Or inversely, why is hot water not percolated over tea like making a pot of coffee?

In: Chemistry

They sell coffee bags for single use like tea bags. There are also big bags for making pitchers.

Not a tea expert but I believe it takes longer to steep tea vs. coffee.

Tea doesn’t have all the horrible tasting compounds that coffee does…tea doesn’t become undrinkable if you leave the bag in for a long time (within limits), coffee does.

Tea does have steeping times but that’s to get most of the flavour out…once you’ve done that, nothing else much happens.

Coffee has a bunch of tasty compounds that come out relatively quickly and a bunch of horrible bitter ones that come out after more time/heat. The art of brewing coffee is the right amount of heat and time to get all the stuff you want and none that you don’t. If you just let the coffee sit in the water like we do with tea, it gets gross much faster and in a different way than tea. Cold brew works because it doesn’t have enough heat to extract the nasty ones.

Short version: it’s a hell of lot easier to overbrew coffee than to overbrew tea, and the results are worse.

I think it’s a freshness issue. Beans are not dried like tea leaves. They’re carefully roasted, but not over roasted, in order to retain all the oils that are important to flavor. But these oils will decay over time, moreso with exposure to air, letting off gas as they do (that’s why there’s often vents on coffee bean bags, to let out the gas without exposing the beans to too much fresh air.) Even unless you go with powdered instant coffee you always have to deal with climate control for your beans, and there’s always a ticking clock, even freezing beans is not enough to preserve the flavor for long term storage.

The process is similar, but the actual flavours are very different, chemically speaking.

First thing to consider is unpleasant flavour. Black Tea (the most common tea in European / Anglo) cultures is fermented as part of the processing. This fermentation removes most of the unpleasant flavours from tea. Coffee is not fermented, and the unpleasant flavours remain in the beans. This means coffee needs carefully controlled brewing to avoid getting the unpleasant flavours in the cup.

Second thing to consider is volatile flavours. These are flavours that evaporate out of the tea/coffee while it is being stored. These flavours are typically sweet, floral or chocolatey. The fermentation of tea removes a lot of the volatiles during processing. Super fresh and high quality tea will have some volatiles contributing to the flavour, but even then, they aren’t the main flavour. The main desirable flavour of tea is the much less volatile tannins (ie woody, vegetable flavours). As tannins don’t evaporate so quickly, you can store tea in a ready to brew state for a long time, and while you lose some minor flavours, the main flavour sticks around.

For coffee, virtually all the desirable flavours are volatile. Meaning that once the coffee is prepared for brewing (by grinding) you have a very short shot of time before all the desirable flavours have simply evaporated away. For this reason, coffee is transported unroasted, and stored unground.

Put together, a tea bag works because you can store prepared tea a long time and brew it carelessly and still get a drink that is 90%. Store ground coffee then brew it carelessly and you’ll lose 90% of what it is supposed to be.

>So why can’t coffee come in tea bags so that it would be easier to make a singular cup?

It does! Folgers Classic Medium Roast Coffee Singles Serve Bags, 19 Count (Pack of 6)


Millions of coffee bags are used daily at motels/hotels around the world in Mr Coffee type machines.

Because there’s tea in the tea bags.

Seriously though, you can get coffee in bags in the UK.

roasted coffee beans contain enriching oils you don’t want cloth or paper filters absorbing out.

Rule 2.

Better to check r/answers.

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