Why You Should Consider Steeping Your Coffee

Steeped coffee isn't made using the ubiquitous drip-through process synonymous with American coffee (per Whole Latte Love). Rather, it's made through a steeping process, similar to that used when making tea – with or without a bag. The French press method involves steeping coffee grounds directly in not-quite-boiling water before straining the spent grounds into the bottom of the container holding the steeped coffee (via Kuju Coffee). The coffee ground plunger used to push the grounds to the bottom was patented in Italy in 1928, according to European Coffee Trip.

In the intervening decades, many have come to embrace coffee steeped using the French press method for its intense but pleasing flavor. Also in the intervening decades, the desire for more immediate gratification led to the development of coffee pod technology, such as that used by Keurig. And so, it was virtually inevitable that steeping coffee would come to also mean placing a ready-to-brew individual coffee packet into a cup of almost-boiling water and letting it steep until it's just right.

Apparently, steeping coffee in tea-like bags has been in common practice in Japan since at least as far back as 2016, per Foreword Coffee Roasters. In 2019, Steeped Coffee's teabag-like coffee ground system was named "best new product" at that year's annual Specialty Coffee Expo, via Spy. Various competitors have now entered the mix, creating more options. Here's why you'll want to consider steeping your coffee.

The ultimate made-to-order coffee

The first thing to understand about steeping coffee is that for as much as the process may resemble making instant coffee, and as reliably as steeping coffee can deliver a single cup on demand, that is where the similarities end, full stop. Instant coffee comprises already-brewed coffee made from ground coffee beans. It has then been dehydrated, according to Presto Coffee. In steeping coffee, you're using actual coffee grounds, just as you would with any other method of making non-instant coffee. Accordingly, whereas instant coffee is ready instantly, steeping coffee with a teabag-like sachet takes approximately five minutes, per Spy.

Assuming you can wait those five extra minutes, you'll be rewarded. As with tea, you have control over how strong you want your coffee to be. And if you're making coffee for others, all it takes is some hot water, and then each person can steep their coffee sachet for as long as they want, depending on how strong they prefer their coffee to be. It's as simple as making tea, except that it's not tea. In addition to the Steeped Coffee brand, current players in the market include Presto, Bean & Bean, Union Coffee Co., and Café Unido. Perhaps surprisingly, even good ole Folgers jumped on the steeped coffee bandwagon.