Best Instant Coffee For When There Simply Isnt Enough Time!

yes, it’s true, I’ve turned to the dark side – dun dun duuuun!!! I have been trying instant coffee for the last week. You know what, it’s not all doom and gloom, and there are some pretty tasty instant coffees out there when you shop around and choose the best brands.

I’m sure there’s an instant coffee that tastes like my sweaty flip flop and should only be reserved for when your mother-in-law comes to visit. but trust me when I say that there are some hidden gems that could pass for regular good coffee in a blind taste test.

Reading: Best instant coffee 2015

Even those of you reading this thinking I’ve lost my mind have probably tried instant coffee at least once. I bet the experience has probably scarred you for life, vowing never to touch that mysterious, dark, water-soluble powder again.

Times have changed, and the latest innovations in instant production today have come in leaps and bounds since you tried it before. – so I dare you to try a cup of instant coffee one more time, if only once.

Would you drink instant coffee every day? hell no.

But for those one-time moments when you’re away from home or don’t have enough time to make a regular pot of coffee, using a good-tasting instant coffee won’t banish you to the dark realms of decaf blade grinders. and tea drinkers. – your secret is safe with me (wink).

history of instant coffee

Before I show off the best tasting instant coffee I discovered last week, I think digging into the history of this quick-brew instant coffee will be a great place to start.

Instant coffee is not a modern innovation. In fact, its roots (1) can be traced back to 1771. It was around this time that the first version of a water-soluble coffee compound was invented in Britain.

Fast forward a few decades and an experimental coffee (in the form of a cake) was tried during the civil war in 1853, allowing troops to enjoy coffee while on the battlefield.

coffee has taken many forms over the years, but it wasn’t until 1890 that coffee was patented as “instant coffee” after being invented by (2) david strang of invercargill, new zealand.

In 1901, Sartori Kato invented the first stable coffee powder product (3) in Japan. Using the knowledge and equipment he had developed to make instant tea, Sartori Kato was able to produce quick-brew instant coffee.

around the same time (1901) in the united states, instant coffee had begun to be mass-produced (4) by george constant louis washington. however, at the time, most thought instant coffee powder was a novelty and an acquired taste.

In 1938, Nescafé burst onto the scene and greatly improved (5) the flavor by using different processing techniques, making coffee a regular pantry.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that freeze-dried coffee became the best process for preserving flavor and overall quality.

There you have it: a brief history lesson on instant coffee.

how do you make instant coffee?

Surprisingly, instant coffee starts out like regular coffee. Whole coffee beans are roasted, ground, and then brewed before they begin their journey to becoming instant. but how does it go from fresh to dry powder? therein lies the science… let’s take a closer look.

After the coffee has been made into a strong concentrate, it must be dried and made into granules or powder. there are two ways to do it: spray drying and freeze drying. reputable coffee brands use both methods to make instant gourmet coffee that you can find on any supermarket shelf.

spray drying

Spray-dried coffee is achieved (6) by blowing liquid coffee concentrate as a fine mist into very hot dry air (480 degrees f). by passing the coffee concentrate through the dry air, it completely evaporates the water; the coffee is turned into tiny dry round crystals and then collected from the bottom of the machine.


Another popular method of making instant soluble coffee is freeze-drying. There are two steps in this process. First, they cook the coffee and reduce it to a potent extract, which is then cooled to around 20 degrees, turning the extract into a thick, sticky solution.

The liquid coffee is then poured into large trays on conveyor belts and cooled once more to around -40°F, forming slabs of iced coffee. the solid sheets of iced coffee are then processed into granules and sent to a drying vacuum where the ice is vaporized, leaving behind instant coffee granules.

Some of the best instant coffee brands will also reintroduce “volatile oils” into the granules during the packaging process, which are compounds that give coffee its flavor and aroma.

top rated instant coffee brands

See also: 9 Best Coffee Grinders for French Press (2022 Reviews)

Okay, so now that all the boring stuff is out of the way, I bet you’re itching to find out which instant coffee granules are the best. I said at the beginning of this article that I spent the last week trying various brands; some were cringeworthy and, to be honest, ended up in the sink.

on the other hand, surprisingly, some packets tasted pretty decent, and those are the instant coffee brands on my list.

sudden coffee (highly recommended)

I can’t recommend Sudden Coffee highly enough. During my taste tests, it became clear that there was a clear winner and one coffee beats the rest in every department.

A little backstory on how suddenly I was able to unearth. sudden coffee is the brainchild of kalle freese, a two-time finnish barista champion and ranked the ninth best barista in the world in 2015.

tells the story that kalle was drinking an average cup of instant coffee while on a plane and wondered if it was possible to make a better tasting instant coffee that was still convenient.

Being a champion barista, Kalle knows a thing or two about good tasting coffee, so she was able to create a pop coffee by tapping into her extensive base of barista knowledge. he suddenly excels where others have failed and ticks all the boxes for choosing the best instant coffee.

If you haven’t suddenly tried it, I strongly suggest you try it, even if just once. it might even completely change the way you think about instant coffee. be sure to read my full sudden coffee review.

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kona instant coffee

my second recommendation is kona instant coffee. If you haven’t heard of kona coffee, you should definitely check out my article on this popular Hawaiian coffee to understand what makes this coffee so unique.

This gourmet instant coffee is bursting with flavor, incredible smoothness, and a refreshing aroma that’s amazing for freeze-dried granules. I found that this brand of kona coffee had a heavenly aroma and no bitter aftertaste. There’s no easier way to get great kona coffee than buying whole beans.

great flavor, wish the jar was bigger!

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starbucks through medium roast colombian instant coffee

I’m not a starbucks fan (I still have nightmares about unicorn frappuccinos), dammit, I’m not even a fan of instant coffee, but here I am writing about it, and trying it!

At number three is this gourmet instant coffee deal from starbucks. each of the via packs contains premium instant arabica colombian coffee (medium roast).

What I liked about this starbucks instant coffee is the option to use cold water. yes, these granules are mixed with hot and cold water, which makes it very easy to get a quick dose of caffeine wherever you are. I even added some to my vanilla protein shake while at the gym!

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douwe egberts pure indulgence instant coffee

douwe egberts was a pleasant surprise due to its aroma, flavor, balance and body: it ticked all the boxes.

This coffee brand has a long history dating back to 1753: more than 250 years of coffee knowledge! douwe egberts instant is a premium gourmet blend of fine quality coffee beans that have been expertly roasted to release the rich, aromatic flavor found in each bean.

The jar that the coffee comes in isn’t bad either. the jar is too beautiful to throw away once the coffee has been consumed. it is a thick, heavy glass jar that has an airtight rubber seal; It could even be used as a coffee container for some of your other coffees.

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four sigmatic mushroom coffee

Earlier I highlighted the many benefits of mushroom coffee so as not to go into detail. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee is a nice little twist on regular instant coffee. Along with organic Arabica coffee beans, it comes packed with various mushrooms to help support the immune system, productivity, and focus.

See also: 12-Volt 15 oz. Premium Heated Travel Mug

Arabica beans are 100% organic (USDA certified) and have been grown in mineral-rich volcanic soils in the highlands of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Mexico.

Aren’t you a mushroom person? trust me, there is no mushroom flavor in this coffee. start your day with this and I guarantee you’ll come back here in the comments section singing its praises.

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instant espresso medallia d’oro

This is the strongest instant coffee I’ve ever tasted!

Instead of being a single-origin roasted coffee, Medaglia d’Oro Instant Espresso is a blend of imported Italian espressos that have been roasted twice for the traditional espresso flavor. I was surprised by a thick crema on top of this instant coffee, which is usually only reserved for the high pressure of an espresso machine.

This strong instant coffee is packed with flavour: it’s rich, balanced, exceptionally smooth and aromatic!

It may be a bit pricey for an instant coffee but because of its convenience, strong flavor and not forgetting the cream, it’s a must have in your kitchen cupboard for days when you need instant coffee!

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how I chose my instant selection

Not all instant coffees are created equal, and there is bland, overpriced, and over-marketed crap out there. So in order to remove the rubbish and show off the best, I set a few simple rules for myself when looking at each cafe.


In a nutshell, if your coffee didn’t smell good, it was destined for the trash. I poked my nose into the instant coffee packets and also smelled a good coffee smell after adding the hot water.


Most likely my number one deciding factor if coffee made it to my list of recommendations was based on taste. we drink coffee because we enjoy the taste; and caffeine. It wasn’t on the list if the instant wasn’t up to par in the flavor department. Flavor preferences can be subjective and vary for each of us, but I think I know a good cup of coffee when I taste one: all the instants on my list tasted good to me (well, good enough for instant coffee).


what does balance mean? basically it’s a combination of acidity, body, aftertaste and how well they work together, no single element should stand out too strongly – “a good balance”. additionally, if the coffee also had a distinct or noticeable bitter or harsh aftertaste, it lost points.


After considering balance, I paid special attention to the body of each instant cup. the body measures the mouthfeel of the coffee and its overall thickness; let’s be honest, no one likes a watery, tasteless coffee! Unfortunately, many of the instant coffee brands I tried were just that: the ones on my list had a good mouthfeel for freeze-dried coffee.

availability and price

finally, instant has to be cheap. if not, you’re better off spending your money on a bag or whole coffee beans. Freeze-dried instant coffee is something you take with you on the go or as a backup when you need a caffeine fix – the quality isn’t quite the same as a regular whole bean, so the price should reflect that.

Finding your favorite best instant coffee brand every time you walk into the supermarket is another essential factor. It’s no good settling for one brand just because stock is limited, or it’s just too hard to find.

All of my selections are easy to find (online or at chain grocery stores), and I guarantee they won’t break your bank!

how to make a good instant coffee?

Believe it or not, there’s a knack for making the best tasting instant coffee, and it all boils down to a few easy steps.

what you need

a great instant coffee: any of the above brands will do, a cup of coffee and hot and cold water. this may go against everything you’ve been taught about making coffee, but trust me, give it a try.

simple steps

Add a tablespoon of cold water to your coffee cup, then add the instant coffee grounds and stir until the grounds dissolve completely in the water. fill your coffee cup with hot water and stir one more time.

why does this work?

There is a very good reason to use cold water first. When you dissolve instant coffee directly in hot water, the amylum found in the instant granules hardens and creates a powdery flavor.

When you use cold water first to dissolve the coffee grounds, they won’t burn when you instantly add the boiling water. hot and cold water is incorporated much more smoothly, allowing the granules to mix and retain their flavor.

See also: The Office The Office | Clothing, Drinkware, Accessories & More | Mugs | NBC Store


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