Until recently, instant coffee had a bad reputation but has now evolved into high-quality, organic, and specialty coffee options.
Although the concept of the dissolvable beverage dates back to the 18th century in Britain, its commercial success came in 1910 with the first instant coffee sold on a commercial basis. It gained more popularity during WWII and has since expanded into more upscale markets.
Coffee extract is produced in two ways today: freeze-drying, a process in which it is frozen then broken apart, and spray drying, a quicker, cheaper method in which the extract is sprayed into a chamber of hot air. When coffee beans are sprayed dried, they are of lower quality, which makes a less desirable coffee.
It’s common for coffee lovers to grind their own beans or to purchase ready-ground beans, but a hurried, gotta-get-out-the-door morning leaves little time for full-scale coffee making.
Instant coffee can seem like a lifesaver in these situations. To find the best instant coffee in terms of flavor, aroma, and caffeine level, we sampled five popular (and readily available) instant coffees.
|Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee|
|Mushroom Coffee by Four Sigmatic|
|Cafe Altura Freeze Dried Instant Organic Coffee|
|Mount Hagen Organic Freeze|
|Waka Quality Instant Coffee|
1. Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee
If you are looking for a strong, distinct coffee, then you will either love it or despise it. Starbucks VIA Instant French Roast has signature robustness that makes it so popular. Among the most reviewed and most purchased instant coffees on the market, this one is bold, smoky, and not for the faint of heart.
Its instant coffee is surprisingly affordable even though Starbucks’ in-store prices are higher, and it can be purchased in a variety of sizes, from an 8-pack to a 50-pack.
Starbucks sells an instant Italian roast that’s rich with sweet notes of sugar and caramel if you’re a fan of dark coffee but prefer a sweeter undertone to the smokiness of the French roast.
2. Mushroom Coffee by Four Sigmatic
Certified organic coffee from Four Sigmatic is not only good for you, but it is also organic. As the name indicates, this Finish-origin company produces the most nutrient-dense foods on earth – including mushrooms, called Chaga, from which this patented mushroom coffee is made – as well as delicious (and does not taste like mushrooms).
Mushrooms are sourced from around the world at the company with an emphasis on quality. Following that, third-party tests ensure purity levels and no pesticides or mycotoxins are present.
Each of Four Sigmatic’s instant coffee varieties has its own benefits: Cordyceps, Adaptogen, Lion’s Mane, and Mushroom Mocha. Despite its pricey price tag, Four Sigmatic instant coffee might be worth the extra costs due to its beloved taste.
3. Cafe Altura Freeze Dried Instant Organic Coffee
You may be surprised to learn that instant coffee tastes just like drip coffee. Coffee Altura’s mouthfeel is silky and full-bodied, without any watery aftertaste. Rain-washed, sun-dried, and fire-roasted Arabica coffee from South America, Africa, and Asia lead to this blend.
With notes of almonds, spices, and chocolate, the flavor is complex but mellow. Its smooth, bitter finish makes it the perfect combination of smooth and bitter.
Even though it can be enjoyed hot or cold, the brand recommends making it with hot water, so if you prefer it chilled, add ice or refrigerate before drinking.
4. Mount Hagen Organic Freeze
Most people have experienced the dilemma of wanting afternoon or late-night coffee while also wanting to sleep at some point. Decaffeinated coffee is the solution. Fortunately, Mount Hagen offers freeze-dried instant decaf coffee to help with the problem.
There’s nothing irrational about feeling watery and weak after drinking a decaf cup. You may lose certain flavor and aroma-enhancing chemicals by decaffeinating coffee beans.
Because of this, both instant and decaf coffee are often criticized. Nonetheless, this product shows the benefits of both decaf and instant coffee when combined.
Consequently, a pure and flavorful cup of coffee is produced without chemicals. Mount Hagen’s organic coffee is reasonably priced and Fair Trade Certified, just like other products in the line.
5. Waka Quality Instant Coffee
Many people overlook medium roast, thinking it’s simply dependable and nothing special. However, Waka Coffee is a smooth and balanced Colombian roast bursting with citrus flavors because it is made from 100 percent Arabica beans.
In addition to freeze-drying, the beans ensure that you can have a fresh cup in the morning, afternoon, and, for those of you who like to stay up late, at night.
In addition to offering a variety of sizes, Waka Coffee is competitively priced. It’s easy to start out with an 8-pack box or go all out with a 24-pack.
Using either option, you will receive individual servings of coffee, making it easy to measure and travel with. Waka offers two sizes of bag, 3.5 ounces, and 8 ounces if you wish to adjust the strength of your cup of joe.
Things to Consider Before Buying Instant Coffee
Jar or Single serve
You can purchase instant coffee either in single-serve packets and sticks or in jars at your local supermarket or online. Single-serve instant coffee has the added advantage of being easier to travel with and having the correct amount of coffee crystals measured out for you.
As a result, buying instant coffee in a jar can save you money, you can buy more coffee at once, and the jars can still be stored in a suitcase if you are traveling.
When trying a new coffee, it’s a great idea to identify your preferred roasting style-light, medium, or dark. However, it gets tricky beyond that. You’ll find the tasting notes on the package of a blend.
You might prefer something with chocolate notes but without smokiness in a dark roast, or vice versa.
Compared with regular coffee, instant coffee is typically cheaper per serving. People these days choose instant over the real thing for a variety of reasons, including saving money and not minding the taste difference.
There are many different prices for instant coffee, but it varies from extremely cheap packets to expensive products from boutique brands. Try a couple of different brands. Buying an expensive coffee doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like it.