Coffee bags vs drip coffee bags: Which will be trendier in 2023?

Jodie Tran
December 12, 2022
Coffee bags vs drip coffee bags: Which will be trendier in 2023?

A growing number of consumers are looking for more convenient ways to enjoy high-quality specialty coffee. 

As a result, innovative offerings such as coffee bags and drip coffee bags have increased in popularity. 

Each option provides consumers with quality pre-ground coffee that can be brewed in minutes using as little equipment as possible. 

Both coffee bags and drip coffee bags offer a superior alternative to instant coffee and perfectly cater to the on-the-go lifestyle of modern-day coffee consumers. 

To learn whether coffee bags or drip filter coffee are likely to be trendier in 2023, I spoke with David Martinez, part of research & development at Reborn Coffee, and Tran Le Duc, the founder of The Espresso in Vietnam

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Image of a drip coffee bag in a glass coffee mug in an article on whether drip coffee bags or coffee bags with be more popular in 2023

Coffee bags versus drip coffee bags

When it comes to convenient specialty coffee options, two offerings are rapidly increasing in popularity: coffee bags and drip coffee bags. 

While the names are similar, they are, in fact, two different brewing methods. 

In essence, single-serve coffee bags are the same as tea bags – except they contain high-quality, freshly ground coffee. Each bag is perfectly portioned and ready to use. 

Consumers need only pour between 150ml and 180ml of hot water into a cup, pop the bag inside, and leave it to steep. Leaving it in the cup for a longer period will obviously increase the strength of the brew. 

Alternatively, drip coffee bags are small pouches of ground coffee held in folded paper stands that can be suspended over cups.

Invented by the Japanese during the 1990s, drip coffee bags are quick, convenient, and easy to use, providing a good cup of coffee with minimal mess. 

“Drip coffee bags are more convenient for customers who may not have grinders or kettles,” explains David, who works at Reborn Coffee, based in California, US. “Plus, they are incredibly convenient for travelling.”

To use a drip coffee bag, customers must open the pouch, remove the filter bag, and tear off the top. The bag must be shaken gently in order to level the ground coffee inside and then each handle is placed over the sides of the cup. 

Around 150ml of hot water is slowly poured over the grounds, allowing the water to filter through, and once brewed, the filter and wet coffee are discarded.

As drip coffee bags often comprise a paper filter, the result is often a lighter, cleaner-tasting cup. Therefore, each option will have its own target market. 

“For instance, the Vietnamese market can be quite picky with drip coffee bags,” explains Tran Le Duc, who has worked in the local coffee industry for years. “This is because there is a large preference for strong coffee.”

An image of a coffee consumer using a drip coffee bag while travelling in an article on whether drip coffee bags or coffee bags with be more popular in 2023

Which is likely to be more popular in 2023?

According to a 2022 report, a desire to help the environment is the primary reason many consumers choose to buy sustainable products and brands. 

Additionally, key findings show overall consumer demand for sustainable packaging remains high. Both offerings cater to this, as they are sustainable solutions for roasters looking to enter the single-serve segment. 

For manufacturers, the option to make coffee bags made from filter paper (which is thus far a majority of the market) can be a positive move, as the paper is entirely biodegradable. 

Like tea bag-style coffee bags, drip coffee bags can easily be made fully biodegradable and compostable. This makes them a more sustainable alternative to conventional aluminium and plastic coffee pods.

“I believe drip coffee bags will continue to increase in popularity,” says David. “They offer convenience, pure and simple. If they are treated as a primary product rather than a secondary, with proper quality control and marketing, drip coffee bags have lots of potential.”

Tran Le Duc tends to agree. “Drip coffee bags could become a standout offering thanks to their convenience and ease of use,” he says.

“More so, improvements in the quality of paper filters have helped customers make a stronger cup or one more according to their taste,” Tran adds. 

An image of a drip coffee bag in a glass coffee cup with a kraft paper coffee bag in an article on whether drip coffee bags or coffee bags with be more popular in 2023

What to consider when offering coffee bags & drip filter bags

Despite the rising popularity of drip coffee bags, not all specialty roasters have added them to their line of offerings. 

This may be because there are several factors to consider, such as grind size, retaining freshness, and appealing packaging. 

Some advice David has for those venturing into the single-serve segment is to consider custom-printed coffee packaging. 

“Custom printing is ideal as the coffee beans are always changing,” David explains. “This is also helpful when offering micro-lot coffees that are typically available in lower quantities. It can also be beneficial when having a wide variety of coffee offerings.”

To ensure the recyclability of their new offering, roasters should invest in compostable or recyclable coffee bags. For instance, kraft paper is a popular choice for drip coffee, as it will be consumed in a short timeframe. 

More so, kraft paper bags are fully recyclable and biodegradable. These individual bags can then be packaged together in a customised recycled cardboard coffee box

Unique, eye-catching coffee boxes can help grab a consumer’s attention and showcase the brand’s personality within seconds. 

More so, custom-printed boxes are an effective way to increase the perceived value of certain offerings. It is important to package both coffee bags and drip coffee bags so we convey the quality of the product inside to customers. 

Custom-printed coffee boxes also provide roasters with more space on which to include information on their brand’s “story” and the coffee’s provenance, helping to connect with customers on a deeper level. 

An image of custom printed drip coffee bag packaging in an article on whether drip coffee bags or coffee bags with be more popular in 2023

At MTPak Coffee, we offer roasters sustainable and fully customisable drip coffee bags.

Portable, compact, and easy to use, our drip coffee bags and filters mean your clients can experience specialty coffee wherever they go, whenever they want.

Whether they are being sold individually or in bulk, MTPak Coffee has a selection of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options made from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining.

Complete the look of your exclusive offering with a custom-print coffee box. Made from 100% recycled cardboard, our coffee boxes can be fully customised to accurately reflect your brand, as well as your coffee’s characteristics. 

Using our innovative digital printing technology, our design team is able to custom-print on each side of the coffee box. 

MTPak Coffee offers our clients a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time. 

We also offer low minimum order quantities (MOQs) to micro-roasters who are looking to remain agile while showcasing brand identity and a commitment to the environment.

For more information on our sustainable drip coffee bags, contact our team

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