For many busy people, instant coffee is a quick, easy way to get their daily caffeine fix. The convenience of coffee is hard to beat – with just hot water, you can enjoy a hot, steaming cup in seconds. But not all instant coffee crystals are created equal. The key to a great-tasting cup is choosing a high-quality coffee brand and brewing it properly. This article will explore what makes instant so convenient, factors to consider when selecting an coffee, reviews of the top brands, tips for brewing, and frequently asked questions. Read on to learn the secrets of the best instant coffees for busy mornings or travel on-the-go.
What Makes Instant Coffee Convenient?
With traditional coffee, you need to buy whole beans, grind them, measure them, brew them, and then clean up your coffee maker. Instant coffee eliminates most of these steps – just add one teaspoon of coffee crystals to hot water, stir, and your coffee is ready. No need for a coffee maker, grinder, filters, or anything else. It’s the ultimate fast, fuss-free way to get your caffeine fix.
Since the coffee is already brewed and dried, instant coffee has a long shelf life. An unopened jar can last around 2 years at room temperature without losing flavor or going stale. Once opened, coffee will stay fresh for about 6 months. This makes it great for stocking up and always having coffee on hand.
coffee crystals are lightweight, compact, and require no special equipment. Just stash some packets or a small jar in your purse, desk, glove box, backpack or suitcase for coffee anywhere. It’s ideal for office coffee breaks, traveling, camping trips, or other times when you want coffee fast but don’t have a coffee maker available.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Instant Coffee
Type of Beans
Arabica beans make the smoothest, most flavorful coffee. Avoid instant coffee made purely from robusta beans, which can taste harsh and bitter. Look for brands that specify 100% Arabica beans.
The finest coffee particle size results in fast dissolution and well-extracted flavor. Check the label for descriptions like “microground,” “fine powder,” or “freeze-dried” to ensure you get deliciously smooth coffee, not gritty or grainy.
Spray dried coffee can taste burnt or bitter. Premium instant uses gentle freeze drying or low-heat spray drying for a naturally smooth, aromatic cup of coffee.
Additives and Flavorings
Check the ingredients list on coffee. Plain Best instant coffee contains just coffee, with no sugars, creamers, or other additives. This gives you full control over the ingredients you add. But flavored coffee can be fun too – choose flavors that appeal to your tastes.
Reviews of the Top Instant Coffees
Here are our top picks for the best tasting coffees:
Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals
Folgers is America’s classic, best-selling coffee brand. Their instant classic roast has a medium body, mild flavor, and smooth, creamy taste. It’s made from premium Arabica beans and dissolves easily in hot water for a fast cup. The 8oz jar makes up to 180 6oz servings, so it’s economical too. It’s ideal if you like a traditional drip coffee taste.
Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Coffee
For a premium coffee, Mount Hagen is the top choice. Their instant coffee is gentle freeze-dried, never spray-dried, for exquisite aroma and natural flavor. It’s certified organic, Fairtrade, kosher, and made from 100% Arabica beans. The complexity of the coffee comes through even in instant form. It’s available in fine or medium grind.
Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Roast Coffee
Starbucks VIA instant packs the bold, robust flavor of Starbucks coffee into convenient single-serve packets. Made from 100% Arabica coffee, Starbucks VIA Italian Roast is dark roasted with sweet, smooth notes. The microground coffee dissolves quickly for instant satisfaction. Each packet makes an 8oz serving. Try the various Starbucks VIA flavors for espresso, mocha, and more.
Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee
For rich, intense espresso flavor, Medaglia D’Oro is the best instant espresso. Made with 100% Arabica beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified farms, it has a rich, dark roasted flavor and fragrant aroma. The fine powder dissolves rapidly in hot water. It’s great prepared as an espresso or added to milk drinks like lattes.
Tips for Making Delicious Instant
Brew your coffee right to maximize the flavor:
Use Freshly Boiled Water
Don’t use lukewarm tap water to make coffee. Always start with fresh boiling water – 212°F is ideal. This allows the granules to dissolve fully and extract the most flavor.
Adjust Strength to Taste
Follow the label instructions, but adjust the amount of coffee up or down to suit your preferred strength. More instant = stronger, bolder coffee.
Add Milk, Creamer or Foam
While black instant is fine, adding hot milk, creamer, or foaming up the coffee can make it taste even better. The dairy adds a touch of sweetness and balances the bitterness.
Flavor with Cinnamon or Cocoa
Stir a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder into the instant for extra flavor and aroma. Sweeten with sugar or sweetener if desired.
With so many coffee options, there’s no reason to settle for tasteless, low-quality coffee. Choosing a premium brand that uses 100% Arabica beans, has a fine grind size, and is freeze-dried or spray-dried at low heat produces an instant with nuanced aroma and full-bodied taste. Follow proper brewing methods for the best results. The top coffee brands like Folgers, Mount Hagen, Starbucks VIA, and Medaglia D’Oro offer convenience without sacrificing quality, so you can enjoy delicious coffee in an instant.