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I first tried Lyons coffee bags about 6 years ago - a colleague at work was using them and they smelled great and I was amazed that you could get coffee in a bag like tea bags! Once I'd tried them for myself, I was converted ;-)
The fresh ground coffee comes in a large circular bag and you use it in a similar way to a tea bag - pour hot water on, bash it about a bit, let it brew, remove it and add sugar/milk to taste - hey presto, a fresh ground coffee without the faff and mess!
Each bag comes individually wrapped to keep it extra fresh and this means they are perfect for people who love fresh coffee but don't drink enough to warrant opening a big bag of coffee grounds which can quickly taste "stale" if they're not used quickly. They're also easy to take out and about with you - perfect for work, picnics or at home.
One disadvantage is that because they are individually wrapped, they use rather alot of packaging which is not very eco-friendly. However, for me, the alternative is a lot of stale, wasted coffee which gets thrown away - not good for the planet or my bank balance!
They come in 2 strengths - regular and rich. My personal favourite is the rich one (red/white box) which has a nice strong, flavour.
Price: £2.59 for 18 bags
Verdict: Delicious filtered coffee with the flick of a kettle switch!
Where to find: Waitrose
Size: Twice the size of a normal teabag; round; the silver box they come in is large with photo's of the coffee bags and a mug of coffee.
Calories/ fat : n/a
Wrapping: Each coffee bag comes in a large foiled packet for freshness. There is a tearable strip at the side to make it easy to get them out,
Description: 'Fresh ground coffee in one-cup bags
Pure filtered coffee: 30% Rainforest alliance certified
To me, these are genius. Coffee in a bag!!
It is literally ground filtered coffee in a tea-like bag so that when you pour the hot water in, it filters through the nag just like you get out of a coffee machine.
Each bag comes in a large foiled packet with instructions on how to use.
'Simply place the coffee bag in a mug or cup and pour ion freshly boiled water. The coffee bag releases a rich coffee colour almost immediately but allow it to brew for 3 - 5 mins...'
It's important to add water only and not milk until it's properly brewed, otherwise it will not filter as this is not instant coffee. The bags are very large but fit snugly into an average sized cup/ mug.
As soon as the water is poured on, they do indeed release a rich coffee colour through they don't really smell strongly of coffee at this stage. After a couple of minutes literally, the coffee aroma kicks in which it soooo satisfying.
The taste is wonderful; really fresh and smooth just as you'd expect from filtered coffee. There is plenty of flavour though you can buy the boxes in different strengths from 1 - 5. I have a strength 2 as this was bought as a Christmas present for me. Usually, I would have picked a 5 but this has the perfect balance of coffee taste and refreshment.
I never actually realised Lyons made coffee, even though are coffee filter machine at work is made by Lyons!! I just associated it with Syrup.
These are so convenient. Yes, they are more expensive than perhaps a cheap instant coffee but I think the fresh taste counters this. Moreover, for 18 bags, that's only 14p a bag. I think if you got a higher strength, you could add water to the bag after you've finished one cup at probably get another cup out of it, albeit slightly weaker.
These are great to keep in your bag, especially if you're ever out and don't want to get ripped of by those machines that offer tea, coffee, hot water, hot choc etc... Why pay 70p for a plastic cup of watery coffee when you can pay 0p for a cup of hot water and add your own coffee bag (I did it all the time at college).
You could also take a hot water flask if you're going out for the day and take a couple of coffee bags with you as well so that you can enjoy fresh coffee.
Overall, these are fantastic and I would not hesitate to buy them again. It would be nice if they could also do De-caff coffee bag for when I need a fix at night.
I've almost always had instant coffee before now, rather than 'proper' coffee, which is odd, in a way, because I'd never wish to drink instant tea. I'm very fussy about tea, and I've found that the more I've got into coffee, the more fussy I have been about what brand of coffee it is. However, I've never really branched out into the realm of 'real coffee', with its unfamiliar range of equipment and rules of preparation.
I saw the Lyons 'fresh ground coffee in one-cup bags' in my local Waitrose. I had read a review of Sainsbury's own 'coffee bags' the week before, and had wanted to try them. Lyons seemed like a good alternative, and they're a well-known brand in terms of cakes and so forth. I felt like it was an extravagance to buy them, as they were priced at around £2.19 and I wasn't sure how many coffee bags would be contained therein.
I chose the 'medium blend' variety.
When I got home and opened the box, I found that the coffee bags were in individual foil wrappers, for freshness. I felt a bit bad about the somewhat excessive packaging, especially because the wrappers are not recyclable, but I can understand that they are necessary to retain the freshness of the coffee. You must take care when tearing the foil sachet; on one occasion I was a little heavy-handed and ended up ripping the coffee bag itself.
The instructions state that one bag should be used per mug, and that the bag should be allowed to infuse for 3 to 5 minutes in order to achieve the optimum flavour. I used boiling water, rather than letting it cool at all. After 3 minutes was up, I decided to remove the coffee bag, as I thought a 5 minute duration might lead to a too-strong drink for my tastes. I then added milk and sugar.
The aroma of the drink was very much like I've experienced with 'proper coffee' - I think the term I'm looking for is filter coffee. It was quite a rich scent with an almost tobacco-ish edge, but not in an unpleasant way. The flavour was very smooth and pleasant, with none of the nasty 'burnt' element that can occur in some brands of instant coffee. The taste was a bit too mild for me, and so I increased the brewing time to 5 minutes with subsequent mugs of coffee.
At the bottom of the mug, there was a slightly sludgy sediment, which was not pleasant to drink. However, it was easily rinsed out, and didn't present a problem.
I enjoyed the coffee from the bags so much that I purchased a second box. These coffee bags are marketed from a convenience point of view; you can easily take them to workplaces, holidays etc., because of the individual wrappers. It is a fast way of enjoying 'real' coffee.
In the future, I might try to steer towards proper coffee made by the proper method, with all the paraphernalia that entails, because I do think the coffee bags are somewhat expensive. However, I found them to be a nice treat, and would certainly recommend that people try them.
In the office where I work we operate a coffee club into which we pay money each quarter to cover coffee, tea, biscuits and milk. The person who runs the club likes to make the money stretch as far as possible so as to provide extra biscuits by buying the cheapest (and nastiest) instant coffee on sale, so I've always taken my own coffee bags into work to ensure I got a decent mid-morning drink. Although I wouldn't described myself as an expert on coffee by any stretch of the imagination, I do prefer the real stuff to any of the instant coffees and before I discovered the wonders of Sainsburys Individual Filter Coffee Bags, which I reviewed recently, I always used Lyons one cup coffee bags.
Price and availability:
These are on sale in most of the larger supermarkets and are currently retailing for £2.19 for a pack of 18, in Sainsburys, Tesco and Asda.
There was a time some years ago before Starbucks and Costa had spread their tentacles throughout the land, when Lyons was THE place to get a cup of coffee. The days of the Lyons Corner House are long gone now but their reputation for being coffee experts lives on. Lyons first began blending and selling coffee back in 1904 so they should be expert at it by now.
Their coffee bags are made using a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans and Lyons claim that 30% of the beans used in these bags are produced from farms covered by the Rainforest Alliance. The Rainforest Alliance is the umbrella organisation committed to ensuring that certain standards are adhered to, including employee welfare, education and care for the local environment, especially the flora and fauna. Lyons further claim that their filter coffee is now 100% supplied from such farms and they're working towards a similar percentage with their coffee bags for which they should be applauded.
Brewing a cup of coffee using these bags couldn't be easier. Each of the bags is individually foil wrapped to keep them as fresh as possible, (although I do feel that these could be kept just a fresh using biodegradable paper and would make them more environmentally friendly.) Pop one bag into your cup or mug and pour on water which is just off the boil. Allow the bag to steep for two or three minutes, add milk and sugar, if required, and you have a delicious cup of coffee. I think you're supposed to remove the bag before drinking but I find that sometimes the strength of brew can be a little weak to begin with and so I tend to leave the bag in whilst drinking.
The taste of the coffee is quite distinctive and very different from other one-cup coffee sachets such as Douwe Egbert or supermarket own brand filters, which tend to be made from finer ground, filter grade coffee. This is more akin to the coffee produced when using a cafetiere rather than a filter and it has a slightly nuttier and somewhat stronger taste. That isn't to say that the taste is unpleasant: it isn't. It's just different. These are graded as a 3, which equates to a medium strength coffee but I do find that it takes a while for the depth of flavour to reach that level.
The beauty of these bags is that all the coffee grounds are contained in the bag so no messy disposal is involved. The packaging states that these bags currently can't be recycled but I'd dispute that claim. The bags, being round, fit nicely into the bottom of small plant pots and provide perfect drainage or, alternatively, they can be chucked onto the compost heap.
As I said before, Lyons has a reputation for blending good coffee and deservedly so. The Lyons strap line says "Coffee perfection" and whilst I can't entirely agree, I do find these bags are great for preparing a single cup of coffee either on the go of if you just want one cup rather than brewing a whole pot. However you choose to use them, they are a great addition to the store cupboard.