A student friend at university introduced me to coffee bags. Compare the etymology of ‘coffee bag’ to the very similar ‘tea bag’ and you get a pretty good idea – in fact, exactly the right idea – of what a coffee bag does. They need to steep a bit longer than the tea version, but otherwise you’re there. They’re almost as convenient as instant and, being made of real coffee, they taste a lot nicer.
A second-year flatmate with the mild perversion of sticking her nose into the jar of tea bags and inhaling the aroma nearly blew her head off when she accidentally tried it with the wrong jar, but otherwise I held and still hold them to be a good idea.
I took the concept with me when I started work and it lasted until 1998, when I finally started working for a firm with decent filter stuff on tap. And with that, for some reason they faded from memory and habit, even though the filter coffee-providing job only lasted two years.
The present place uses tea and coffee making facilities provided by a firm called Flavia. The nicest thing you can say about the flavour of Flavia is that the two words share four letters, perhaps in the hope that no one will notice they don’t share anything else. And yet I have put up with this – indeed, I have literally stomached it – for nearly three years. Until, across the gulf of years my ears picked up the faintest call ... ‘coffee bags ...!’
And so I am back to coffee bags. I’m now on my third of the day. They’ve changed in the last nine years. They now come in a big square box, and each one is individually foil wrapped and stamped with instructions for how to make a cup of coffee. From this I deduce the average intelligence of coffee bag users has deteriorated since 1998, so clearly I have a duty to raise it slightly. One more indication that I’ve made the right choice. It’s nice to be right.