These bags are an easy way to get your caffeine fix no matter where you are, offering varying roasts and specialty options. However, are they a substitute to freshly ground beans? We find out
Coffee drinking has become increasingly complex recent years, with various beans and apparatus on offer as trends wax and wane. Reassuringly, the latest trend makes brewing a cup both simple and quick.
Coffee roasters and brands have introduced a solution that is as easy as making tea with a teabag — pour over sachets.
With these sachets, making the morning cuppa is simple: open, tear and pour water. The sachets need to be secured to the cup with anchors that come with the bag, and then all you have to do is pour hot water over the sachet and see the coffee blooming. Just ensure the bloom doesn’t spill into the cup.
This needs to be repeated two-three times until the coffee powder is fully wet. Once done, simply pour water to get the desired brew.
In India, brands like Blue Tokai, Coffeeza, Slay, The Roastery coffee house, Classic and Sleepy Owl are popular for their pour over sachets. Blue tokai offers pour sachets in light to dark roast and with coffees that comes from estates in Attikan, Seethatgundu, Nachamai, Vienna and Thogarihunkal. Its Vienna coffee comes with overtones of cocoa and a hint of bitterness, and makes for a heavy-bodied, low-acidity cuppa; perfect for those who love the sharp, bold taste of coffee. On the other hand, Slay’s pour over coffee can be enjoyed either black or can be topped with some milk/sugar as per taste. The brand also has SLAY-X, the strongest coffee in India with 2250 mg of caffeine per 100 grams of coffee and yet the most palatable in pour over sachets.
Coffeeza is a Goa-based e-commerce startup by Rahul Aggarwal, who says, “New pour over bags are a simple yet ingenious product that allow consumers to brew portable pour-over coffee and enjoy a freshly brewed cup within minutes, while on the go. You don’t have to worry about measuring or grinding the coffee beans, as [each of] these pre-packed filters contain 100% ground Arabica coffee of premium grade, perfect for one cup.”
Coffeeza has crafted four variants of pour-overs by teaming up with a national barista champion, and one of India’s top Q Graders. “Each variant is distinguished by its origin, taste notes, roast profile, and intensity. Coffee fanatics who are already riding the third wave of coffee will appreciate the nuances of these blends. The coffee is sourced from farms in Ballehonnur Estate, Bababudangiri Hills, Kumaradhara Estate and Araku Valley,” adds Rahul.
Barista Kalapana Behara, who works with a Hyderabad-based coffee shop, says each pour over sachet contains 16 grams of coffee.
Nishant Sinha of The Roastery coffee house introduced the pour over sachets during the lockdown owing to the demand for different coffee powders by his customers.
Nishant says, “After we ran out of coffee-making apparatus stock, I made a few pour over sachets to see if they would find takers. I’d picked up these bags sometime ago just because I thought they might come of use some day.”
Tailored to taste
Says Nishant, “We now make pour over sachets with customer’s choice of coffee. It is a little time consuming as each bag needs to be measured and filled separately.”
On the other hand, Coffeeza has set variants. It’s light roast variant has an intensity of 2/5 and delivers a smooth and delicious buttery aroma with tasting notes of nougat, caramel and a faint hint of mango that is best enjoyed black.
The medium roast is poles apart from its predecessor with notes of nutmeg, cocoa, wild berries and an intensity of 3/5 that can be enjoyed with a splash of milk or simply ‘black’.
Rahul adds, “The medium dark roast is a full-bodied coffee with smooth syrupy notes of caramel and dark cocoa; this blend is best enjoyed black or with a splash of milk, and has an intensity of 4/5. The dark roast is organic coffee, not for the faint of heart as it has a rich undertone, a high intensity of 5/5 with tasting notes of spices, nuts and chocolate. This is recommended with milk. The brand also has a variety pack which is a mix of all four blends and allows consumers to enjoy the different varieties .”
Pros and cons
“Each pour-over sachet is compact and flushed with nitrogen to eliminate any scope for the coffee to lose its flavour or freshness during storage while ensuring a shelf life of six months,” informs Rahul.
While this might not worry enthusiasts, the high price might. Pour over coffee is double, or sometimes triple, the price of usual coffees. The price of each sachet, enough for one cup, varies from ₹40 to ₹50, depending on the brand. There is also more packaging material involved, which means more wastage.
Bharath Suthapalli, a Hyderabad-based home brewer, says he would choose sachets only while travelling or at work. According to him they give only 70%-80% of the taste and feel, in comparison to the traditional pour over method.
He adds, “The difference is due to the pouring methods and the compact size of the sachet. Doing the slow pour with a swan neck kettle is not always possible; I can’t pack it while travelling. But on my travels, I’d prefer the sachet anyday to drinking bad coffee.”