Can You Steep Coffee Like Tea: Everything You Ever Wondered

Can you steep coffee like tea? Yes, but it may not make the same quality coffee that other methods do.

Can you steep coffee like tea
You can steep coffee as you would tea

Making tea is pretty simple. You simply steep tea leaves in a hot liquid, typically while they’re inside a tea bag or tea ball. 

However, coffee is a bit more complicated. You can try to steep it as you would tea. But this likely won’t result in the best cup of coffee around. There is a reason other methods are widely used, after all. 

Often, trying to steep coffee like tea just isn’t work the effort. 

What Happens If You Steep Coffee Like Tea

Coffee filter by tea bag
Some coffee ground particles can soak through the tea bag

If you decide to try despite our warning, there are a few things that’ll likely happen. 

Most coffee grounds are pretty brittle. Even if they’re ground very coarse, some small particles are bound to break off. Depending on the hole size in the tea bag or ball, some small particles will soak through. 

Of course, this is quite common in tea as well. There are typically always some smaller bits of tea floating around in the finished product. 

With that said, it is much less delicious when it’s coffee grounds!

If enough of the coffee grounds soak through, then the bottom of your mug will probably become a bit muddy. This will be similar to a french press in many ways.

This texture bothers some people, while others have no issue with it. So really, it depends on your preference. 

But What About The Taste?

It’s not viable to ship coffee in tea bags for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, the ground coffee would lose much of its natural oils, directly affecting the taste of the final brew. 

Theoretically, you could grind the coffee fresh and then place it in a tea bag or ball and use it right away. After a few minutes, this method would likely result in a decent cup of coffee. 

However, most of the time, people don’t grind coffee for each cup they make. Instead, you either purchase multiple servings of pre-ground coffee or grind up enough for multiple cups

It would be best to store the grounds like you usually would and then place them in a tea bag right before brewing. Don’t store the coffee in the bag as you would tea. 

When This Method May Be Useful

man, coffee, human
Steeping coffee is a practical method in some situations

With that said, sometimes, this method may be helpful. For instance, steeping coffee can be helpful in situations where other methods are not practical. For example, If you were camping, you may not be able to use different methods.

Your only options may be instant coffee or coffee brewed like tea. If you just don’t want instant coffee again, then this method may be a good choice. 

All you need to have for this method is some coffee grounds, tea bags, and hot water. Coarse coffee grounds tend to work better, as they are less likely to fit through the coffee bag. However, finely ground coffee does work decently well, too – you can just expect a slightly muddier cup.

Again, we don’t recommend storing the coffee grounds in the tea bags only. They need to be in an air-tight container.

You can pre-pack the coffee grounds and put them in a separate container. Alternatively, you can make each bag as you plan on brewing the coffee, storing the coffee as you normally would the rest of the time. 

How Long Can You Steep Coffee Like Tea

We recommend steeping the coffee for about the same time you would do in a French Press. Typically, this is two to four minutes – though it can depend on the exact coffee you are steeping. 

We don’t recommend going beyond 4-5 minutes. In these cases, the coffee can become much too acidic. Even if you’re using a lighter brew, you’ll want to stop at the five-minute mark. 


  • Kristin Hitchcock

    Kristin first fell in love with coffee on a trip to Brazil - where she learned that the ground coffee found on American shelves was not the end-all. Today, she loves educating other coffee-lovers on how to make the best cup of coffee, no matter what you enjoy. Find Kristin on LinkedIn.