Coffee Queries is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
For people that enjoy having coffee at home, instant coffee is a dream come true. The coffee is easy to make, readily available, tastes great, and saves you a lot of time. You can’t get any more perfect than that. However, does instant coffee offer more than just taste and ease? We’re here to see if instant coffee can compare with normal coffee. How to make instant coffee, the benefits and drawbacks of instant coffee, and how instant coffee is made, here is all about instant coffee.
All About Instant Coffee
What Is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is pre-brewed coffee that is sold in the packaged form under multiple different brands. The coffee does not need brewing, which is why it is so easy to make. All you need to do is add water to the coffee, and there you have it, a perfect cup of the brew.
Instant coffee is made by roasting and grinding coffee beans. Those grounds are used to brew coffee after adding hot water to them. The grounds are removed, and the brewed coffee is dried to remove the water from it. The dried clumps of powder make instant coffee. There are two methods of drying brewed coffee to make instant coffee.
Spray Drying– In this method, the brewed coffee is sprayed into hot air. The hot air makes the water evaporate and dries the coffee into crystals which are then collected.
Freeze Drying– In freeze-drying the brewed coffee is frozen. The frozen coffee is then broken down into extremely fine pieces. These pieces are then dried at a low temperature inside a vacuum.
In most types of instant coffee, you need to add milk and sugar on top. However, some types of instant coffee come with sugar and other additives already included, and all you need to do is add water on top.
Instant Coffee Easy Recipe
Instant coffee- 1 ½ tablespoon
Sugar- to taste
Milk/Creamer – to taste
Water- Slightly less than a cup
Step 1: Add the Water In
According to package instructions add water to the instant coffee. You need to stir the instant coffee till it mixes with the water. You can call it a faux espresso shot. Speaking of espresso shots, you can read more about how to make an espresso shot using instant coffee here-
Step 2: Mix in the Sugar
Add in your desired amount of sugar and stir it until it dissolves.
Step 3: Add in the Creamer
You can use any creamer you want, and add in as much as you’d like. You can go for almond or soy creamer too if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the conventional creamer. Or you could skip the creamer altogether and go for strong black coffee.
Step 4: Serve
You’re done. Enjoy!
How to Make Iced Instant Coffee?
You simply add cold water to the instant coffee and let it sit for some time. It will take longer, but the coffee will eventually mix with the water. Then add your sugar and milk on top. Most iced coffee recipes will tell you to add hot water to the instant coffee and then chill it using ice cubes. However, hot coffee tastes a little odd when it is chilled. Instead, skip the hassle and make the coffee using chilled water.
How to Make Instant Coffee at Home?
Finely ground coffee works as instant coffee too. It might not taste the same, however, it will certainly save you a lot of time. Also, you’ll only need to mix it in the water instead of brewing it. However, if you’re looking to make instant coffee from coffee beans, here’s all about instant coffee made like that.
Take a small portion of your beans and grind them in the coffee grinder. Make sure you use the coffee grinder though. Coffee beans are extremely hard and can cause a lot of damage to any normal grinder. Then sift the ground coffee through any sifter so you can separate the larger pieces. Run the larger pieces through the grinder again. The sifted fine coffee can be used just like instant coffee.
This method is extremely beneficial if you want to be able to make coffee in less time. You can also use this method to extend the life of the coffee beans. The freshly ground coffee powder can be safely used for 7-10 days. Coffee grounds on the other hand go stale way faster.
Benefits of Instant Coffee
Less Time Consuming
Since instant coffee does not need to be roasted, ground, or brewed, it is very fast to make. All you need to do is add in water and stir until it mixes in the water. Add the sugar and milk on top and enjoy.
Coffee beans have a shelf life of about a week, and about a month if stored with extreme care in an airtight container to preserve the flavor and to prevent them from going stale. Instant coffee on the other hand is packaged with preservatives that are mixed in it in the production stage. This means instant coffee can last for years. If you’re someone that can’t buy coffee beans ever so often or doesn’t drink a lot of coffee, instant coffee is the best.
No Need for Equipment
You need a lot of equipment to brew traditional coffee beans or grounds. Using instant coffee means getting rid of all of these needs. This makes instant coffee cheaper in both the short term and long term.
Contains Slightly Less Caffeine as Normal Coffee
There is only a slight difference between the caffeine content of normal coffee and instant coffee. According to healthline.com, a cup of normal coffee has about 70-140mg of caffeine, and a cup of instant coffee has about 30-90 mg of caffeine. This makes instant coffee beneficial for people that want to enjoy coffee but don’t want to deal with excessive caffeine consumption. Overconsumption of caffeine can cause acidity, headaches, migraines, and a lot of other issues.
It Is Better for the Environment
According to numerous studies, the preparation method of instant coffee produces the smallest environmental footprint per cup. All the other methods have a larger carbon footprint because of multiple reasons like farming methods, collection, and processing. The carbon footprint of anything is measured using an LCA, or a Life Cycle Assignment.
These LCA’s are conducted by trusted and registered bodies, and monitor each cycle in the product’s life, from growth to consumption. All of the LCAs conducted on coffee have shown that instant coffee has the least carbon footprint, as you can see here at urnex.com. This is even truer if you drink coffee without milk since milk has the largest carbon footprint.
Unlike coffee beans that are very heavy and take up a lot of space, instant coffee is more compact. It offers almost the same caffeine content, but without the extra demand for space and care. A lot of coffee beans are required to make coffee that a single tablespoon of instant coffee can make.
Has More Antioxidants
Drawbacks of Instant Coffee
Diehard coffee lovers find instant coffee undrinkable. Since the coffee is brewed and then dried to form crystals, there is a change in flavor. While most people don’t notice it, people that drink coffee regularly can spot the difference very easily. This is the same reason why a lot of coffee lovers own subscriptions from coffee bean sellers, and own coffee machines.
What is a blessing is also a curse. Instant coffee has slightly less caffeine than normal coffee. While this is good for people that don’t want caffeine, people that want a boost of energy from coffee find themselves disappointed after drinking instant coffee.
Instant coffee is often made with low-quality beans to reduce manufacturing costs for the manufacturer. This is very easy to do since the difference is impossible to identify after the coffee has been processed and packaged. In contrast, when buying coffee beans you can see the quality you get. We recommend you buy instant coffee from trusted brands only.
Possible Health Risk
Instant coffee is said to contain a lot of a compound named acrylamide. This is bad for the body, although the true extent of its damage to the body has not yet been identified. Instant coffee also contains a lot of preservatives and may have other toxins in the body.
You Miss Out on the Experience
Making a fresh cup of coffee from coffee beans is therapeutic. The grinding, and then brewing. The aroma of freshly made coffee as it floats through the kitchen is amazing. With instant coffee, you miss all that. Also, making fresh coffee doesn’t take very long either, so it is best to make a fresh cup from scratch.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Instant Coffee-Table
|Less time consuming||Doesn’t taste as good|
|Lasts Longer||Processed coffee so reduced benefits|
|No equipment needed||Can be made of low-quality beans|
|Contains slightly less caffeine than normal coffee||Contains less caffeine|
|Smaller carbon footprint (better for the environment)||Can pose risk to health|
|Requires less space to store||You don’t get to experience making coffee|
|Has more Antioxidants|
People love instant coffee because of the convenience it provides. Being able to enjoy coffee from the comfort of your home, and that too so fast and easily makes a lot of people loyal buyers. The quarantine conditions and the Dalgona coffee trend-you can read more about that here, All About Dalgona Coffee – have only led to the increase in the popularity of instant coffee. However, is instant coffee worth the hype? When you think of all about instant coffee you need to consider both pros and cons of the type of coffee. The good must outweigh the bad because more than 50% of coffee drinkers in the world consume instant coffee.