Just like drinking tea, I love drinking coffee too. The aroma and caffeine effects are what I crave every day. But, making coffee seems so much more complicated than making tea. If you can drink a cup of tea just by steeping it in water, can you steep coffee like tea?
Sometimes we just want convenience and a quick fix, rather than taking forever just to make a cup of coffee using slow dripping methods.
I have found that steeping tea may be simple. Yet it’s easy to oversteep tea causing it to be bitter or turn the wrong color, like how green tea can turn brown. Can we steep coffee like tea in just minutes to give us the perfect cup of coffee without clunky and expensive equipment?
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What is Steeping Coffee?
Just like how you steep tea, steeping coffee is the act of dipping or soaking your coffee grounds in water so that the aroma, flavor, and nutrients can be extracted and remain in the water.
Steeping is one way of brewing coffee. You can use coffee brewing equipment to help you separate the coffee grounds from the drink. French press, cold brew, siphon brewers and instant coffee use the steeping method to make coffee.
Can You Steep Ground Coffee Like Tea?
Isn’t steeped coffee the same as pour-over coffee where you pour water into a paper filter of coffee grounds and allow the coffee and water mixture to drip into the cup?
What about immersion brewing where coffee grounds are immersed in water and you filter the coffee while pouring the water out? Seems like coffee is being steeped in both immersion and pour-over methods.
Both methods do involve steeping coffee. In fact, to make coffee in any method, steeping is involved. Coffee grounds have to be steeped in water for a certain amount of time before you can make the coffee drinkable. Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for at least a day, while hot coffee can be made in minutes by steeping it in hot liquid or water at boiling point.
So, can you steep coffee like tea? Yes, you can do that just like how loose tea leaves can be steeped with the convenience of a tea bag. If you are making coffee at home, you can have coffee powder put in a coffee bag that acts like a tea infuser or tea strainer. Then pour hot water up to the boiling point and let it steep for 5 minutes.
On the flip side, steeping is quite different from other typical brewing methods. When you steep coffee or tea, it is soaked in water that gradually changes temperature, from hot to cold or cold to hot. But in other methods of brewing coffee, less volume of water of the same temperature is running down into the coffee continuously at one time.
Unlike steeping, the water can remain hot or cold throughout the process provided by the source. More compounds like caffeine, carbohydrates, lipids, melanoidins, and acids can be extracted from coffee grounds. Whereas in steeping, your cuppa is left to cool because the water is not reheated with any mechanism. Less flavor will be extracted over time as the water cools down.
Steeping Ground Coffee Vs Instant Coffee
Assuming the ground coffee is either freshly ground or pre-ground. You can steep ground coffee but you can’t do that like how you put instant coffee in a cup with hot water. This is because instant coffee and ground coffee are different.
The difference between fresh coffee grounds and instant coffee is that for instant coffee, coffee grounds are brewed, processed, and dried into granules before being packed in small individual sachets. Fresh coffee grounds come straight from after grinding coffee beans, but they have not yet been brewed.
Drinking instant coffee is just a one-step process of pouring hot water into a cup of some instant coffee granules, and they dissolve in water, ready to drink. As for ground coffee, since they aren’t been processed before, it’s harder to break them down with only hot water.
Not all of them can dissolve in water if brewed once. In this case, there’s an additional step of first steeping coffee grounds with a filter bag in the water. The longer it’s steeped in hot water, the more bitter it becomes. You can choose how strong you want your coffee to be by deciding how long you want to steep the coffee bag of coffee grounds.
Can You Soak Coffee Like Tea?
Soaking is an action that is the same as steeping, leaving coffee or tea in the water for a period of time. This makes the water seep into the coffee or loose tea leaves and powder, allowing the essence of coffee or tea to be infused in water as liquid coffee or tea.
If you can steep coffee, means you can soak coffee like tea and get the best quality fresh coffee that tastes as aromatic as coffee made from other methods. You can soak coffee with a french press or a pour-over coffee maker if you have such equipment, otherwise, you can use a paper filter.
If you are constantly moving around and need a quick shot of coffee, you can buy coffee in single-serve coffee bags like how you buy instant coffee in sachets and tea in tea bags. Same as steeping, all you have to do is drop it in boiled water, soak it for a few minutes, and be ready to drink.
Here are some examples of coffee grounds in sealed coffee bags that are not instant coffee and not filter-dripped coffee pads or pods, yet you can drink in an instant:
Presto Coffee Bags
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Apart from highly recommending Presto Coffee single-serve coffee bags, I also love that they are Rainforest Alliance Certified. They don’t just make delicious coffee, but they also do that while taking care of the planet. So, if you enjoy strong, dark, and smoky coffee packed in compostable bags, Presto Coffee is what you should get.
Chamberlain Coffee Single Serve Blends
Perfect for the on-the-go, especially when you need an extra shot of energy and time, these single-serve coffee steep bags are USDA-certified organic. Choose from 7 different flavors, caffeine strengths, and coffee blends. Enjoy your day using this sustainably packaged coffee.
Steeped Coffee Single-Serve Packs
These packs are from direct trade, hand-roasted, and freshly ground. Choose from a variety of blends like dark, medium, light roast, decaf with Swiss Water Process, or French roast.
Wildland Coffee Single-Serve Packs
Each Wildland single-serve bag contains 3 tablespoons of real ground coffee. They only use coffee beans that are rated in the top 5% of coffee beans in the entire world. You don’t have to worry about your coffee going stale if you are not using them, because each bag is nitro-flushed. This means all oxygen is removed and that helps to keep your coffee fresh for 12 months.
What Do You Need to Steep and Brew Coffee?
You don’t need special and expensive equipment to steep coffee so long as you are able to purchase pre-ground coffee grounds. Since just adding water to coffee grounds can already make great coffee, you only need water and coffee grounds. However, the grounds don’t easily break down with water alone within a short time.
You wouldn’t wish to drink the coffee with the grounds, they are grainy, sandy, and bitter to taste. They have to be removed for you to enjoy a pleasant drinking experience. In this case, the other item you need is a filter bag to stop coffee grounds from seeping into the water.
You can purchase empty filter bags. They typically include a drawstring for you to close each bag. Make sure the holes in your coffee tea bags are not too big so that the coffee cannot seep into the water. They are supposed to work as a coffee filter to stop the grounds from going through. As you pour the water into your cup with the filter of coffee grounds, the water gets trapped in the coffee grounds allowing the coffee to infuse into the water.
You can also create your own homemade coffee bags and drink coffee on the go like how you do so with tea in tea bags.
If you can only get hold of coffee beans rather than coffee grounds, you will need to have a coffee grinder to grind them or break them down. There are many types of coffee grinders. Using a burr grinder can help you to grind coffee beans faster to more even grounds than other grinders. For those on the go, this manual burr grinder is great for traveling.
Here is what you need to steep and brew coffee:
- Coffee beans or grounds
- Coffee cup
- Filter coffee bags
- Burr grinder if using coffee beans
How to Steep Coffee Like Tea? Step-By-Step
Step 1: Prepare Ground Coffee
You can buy ground coffee beans from your local store and select a medium grind. Fine grind works fine so long your coffee bag has fine holes to prevent the find grounds from escaping. The best is to get medium-coarse coffee grounds. If you prefer a fresher taste, you can buy coffee beans and grind them on your own just before brewing your coffee. Make sure you have proper grinding equipment to help you make a great cup of coffee.
Step 2: Boil Water
Heat up about 1 to 2 cups of water till boiling point (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Then, pour the hot water into your coffee cup until the halfway mark.
Step 3: Place Coffee Grounds into Filter Bags
Place 2 to 3 scoops of coffee grounds into one filter bag. Seal up or close up the filter bag as tight as you can so that the grounds do not fall out. Then, put it in your coffee cup of water. Make sure it’s fully submerged in the water.
Step 4: Steep Coffee
How long should coffee be steep? A good time to steep or soak the coffee bag of coffee grounds in the water is up to 5 minutes. The longer it is steeped, the stronger is your coffee. 5 minutes is a good estimate, anything longer may make the coffee taste a bit too bitter.
Step 5: Remove Coffee Bag
After 5 minutes of steeping, use a spoon to scoop the coffee bag to the top of the cup, before removing it, use the spoon to press the bag against the cup. This is to squeeze the remaining concentrated coffee liquid from the bag into your cup. Once there’s nothing left to squeeze, remove the coffee bag and discard it.
What’s the Best Way to Brew Coffee at Home?
Unlike making tea, there are many ways to brew coffee. Your choice will depend on the taste, costs, convenience and time spent.
Here is a round-up of various methods you can choose from to brew your cup of coffee:
19 Coffee Brewing Methods
Steep and brew coffee
- French Press Coffee
- Cold Brew Coffee
- Single-serve Coffee Bags
- Siphon Brewers
- Instant coffee
Boil on the Stove
- Cowboy Coffee
- Turkish Coffee
- Pour-Over Coffee
- Clever Dripper
- Electric Drip Coffee Maker
- Espresso Machine
- Moka Pot
- Single-serve Pod Machines (Nespresso)
Other Coffee Brewing Methods
- Vietnamese Phin
- Nitrous Coffee
- Coffee Sock
These are just different techniques of steeping coffee, depending on the type of coffee, the coffee flavor you desire, and how coarse is your coffee grounds.
As compared to all methods of brewing coffee in this list, I’d say steeping coffee is the simplest and quickest way to make your best cup of coffee at home.