Beverages I don't remember the first time I drank a cup of coffee. I remember my first beer -- a Budweiser at the Leeds Jazz Festival in 1995. I still have the bottle. But coffee -- I must have been very young. I do know it's only in the past decade I've been drinking black, desperate for that kick which I know will jump start my system for another couple of hours.
These days, I drink more coffee than alcohol and since like wine there are a seemingly infinite number of ways in which it can taste, too little coffee, too much water and you've either got a damn fine cup or black/dark brown hot water. Even in Starbucks I don't think I've ever had two mugs of coffee that taste the same. I like that.
Some don't. Some want to have the same coffee experience over and over again, and I understand why. Sometimes you don't want to surprises, you want something you can rely on. That's why machine manufacturers pour so much energy into creating a machine that will produce that perfect coffee experience over and over again and hire George Clooney to be their prophet. And why there are such a thing as coffee bags. Like tea bags. But with coffee.
I quite like instant coffee, so this isn't really a problem for me, but I know many connoisseurs deplore the somewhat unsubtle taste of you get from granules and I'd imagine may still clamouring for a convenient way of enjoying filter without having to deal with washing anything more than a mug and spoon afterwards. This is designed for them.
I've wanted to try coffee bags for a while but didn't want to buy a box full in case they turned out to be a wrongen and didn't see the point if I them had to simply empty the bags into a filter machine after all. Recently, Lyons were giving away samples at their website so finally I've had my chance. Here's the silver pocket it came in:
I snip off the top and inside there's this:
You can't tell from this photo but the coffee bag is about twice a large as a tea bag. You need more coffee than tea to fill a cup it seems. But it is roughly the same design. I miss corners.
Pop it in the mug, add the water as directed:
Problem: It's not entirely clear how big the cup/mug should be (not all are created equal) and how much water to use. I decide to only half fill the mug. Yes, that is what it looks like, and no it wasn't stolen. Earlier in the decade, Starbucks actually sold their corporate china instead of the fancy designs you get these days. I wish I'd bought more than two, it's the perfect size usually. The instructions recommend that the bag should sit for three to five minutes. I leave it just slightly longer, because I like my coffee very strong.
Stir. Stir some more. The coffee, looks like coffee. A little bit cloudy. Squeeze and lift out the bag:
I can't believe how well lit that photograph is.
Half a mug of coffee.
Flavour? I did get the kick, but unfortunately, that's all. The bag probably contains a relatively mild blend, but this brew has the taste which happens when I've put too little of the stuff into a filter machine, weak and a bit soapy, with the flavour of the water coating my tastebuds more than whatever the rest of the solution is.
Which could mean that I've put too much water in, scorched the contents of the bag somehow, this just doesn't work as a concept, or it's just not strong enough for my tastes. It's a bit of a disappointment. One of those occasions when you really do only get a result which reflects the work you've put into it. Nothing comes from nothing.
But they've been on sale for a few years now and the sales must be high enough to make them worthwhile. Even the most innovative products are removed from sale if they're not flying from the shelves. Someone must like them. Perhaps hotels buy them.
Personally, I'll be sticking with my cheap Argos filter machine and the chaos of not knowing what comes next. It might not be terribly convenient, but at least you end up with something that tastes like coffee. Sorry Lyons.
10/01/2012 I recently noticed Amazon UK are now selling something which might well be these coffee bags. As an experiment I've added a couple of links below to see how being an Amazon associate works and how much of a cut they'll send through to me if anyone buys one. I've never tried this before so we'll see:
Lyons Coffee Break Coffee Bags Bulk Buy (150 bags)
Lyons Coffee Break Coffee Bags 125 g (Pack of 4)
Lyons Gourmet Italian Coffee Bags Bulk Buy (150 bags)
Lyons Italian Coffee Bags 125 g (Pack of 4)