Instant coffee is a product that gets a bad rap—and in some cases, rightfully so. There are some instant coffees available, and we’re not going to name any names, that are sub-par at best. And it’s these products that give all of the coffees in this category a bad name. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the products in this category are bad. We’ve found several products that make a great cup of coffee for people on the run. The following products are the ones that we feel are the best instant coffees available, and ones that we believe are readers are going to enjoy using.
Quick Summary of the Best Instant Coffees
- Best Overall: Cafe Tastle Gold Freeze-Dried Coffee (Amazon) – Review
- Best Instant Coffee Packets: Trung Nguyen 3-In-1 Coffee Packets (Amazon) – Review
- Best Flavored Instant Coffee: Maxwell House International Cafe French Vanilla (Amazon) – Review
- Best Decaf Instant Coffee: Hill Bros. Decaf French Vanilla Cappuccino (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Cafe Tastle Gold Freeze-Dried Coffee
To be completely honest with all of our readers, this wasn’t an instant coffee that we were familiar with before we ran across it. However, we do have to say that we’re glad that we did discover it and didn’t pass it over because it’s arguably one of the best instant coffees that we’ve ever tried. It’s a product that’s freeze-dried perfectly and is contained in a reusable BPA-free plastic container that keeps the product fresh until it’s used.
One of the things that we liked about this coffee was that it had a bold, earthy scent and flavor that knocked our proverbial socks off. It’s obvious from tasting this coffee that they used premium coffee beans to make it and freeze-dried it quickly to lock in that fresh coffee flavor. This is a company that used high-grade Arabica beans that were roasted and brewed in a way that preserved the coffee beans flavor and aroma profile.
Another thing we liked about this product was that it dissolved a lot quicker in water than lesser quality coffees. This prevents the coffee from clumping together in the cup or feeling gritty. The one thing that we didn’t like about this product, however, was that it was a little more expensive than comparable brands. We understand that it’s a little more expensive because they use a costlier process that creates a better product, but the consumer does need to be aware of it.
Best Instant Coffee Packets: Trung Nguyen 3-In-1 Coffee Packets
For the coffee drinker who’s on the go, we’d like to introduce them to Trung Nguyen 3-in-1 instant coffee. This coffee is available in packets that are easy to pack into a briefcase, suitcase, backpack, or purse. They can even be carried in the pocket if the person has no other way to carry them. Each 16-gram stick is not only filled with some very high-quality coffee, but it has a nondairy creamer and sugar in it as well. That allows the coffee drinker to enjoy coffee anywhere—even when they’re on the hiking trail or camping.
All the coffee drinker has to do is mix in one packet with 2.5-ounces of water, and as most of our readers will be able to tell from that amount of water, that only makes an espresso cup of coffee. If the consumer wants a standard American cup of coffee, then they’re going to have to use two of these packets with 5-ounces of hot water. Fortunately, that’s not too big of a deal because this coffee is inexpensive, but it’s something that most consumers are going to want to keep in mind before they decide on whether this coffee is right for them.
For those people who don’t think the small packet size is too big of a deal, then they’re going to be rewarded with one of the smoothest and tastiest cups of instant coffee they’ve ever tried. And it’s portable packets mean that the coffee lover is going to be able to enjoy its flavor and velvety mouthfeel wherever they want.
Best Flavored Instant Coffee: Maxwell House International Cafe French Vanilla
Not everyone wants to carry not only coffee with them but also creamer and sugar, which is why many people turn to a flavored all-in-one coffee like this one. This flavored instant coffee has creamer already in it and it has a sweet French vanilla taste that many coffee drinkers are going to love. It’s also a product that’s easy to mix, dissolves well in hot water, and has a very pleasant mouthfeel to it.
Another thing that we liked about this product was that it didn’t have a lot of caffeine in it, which ensured that we didn’t have caffeine jitters after enjoying a couple of cups of this coffee. We also thought that this product was reasonably priced, with a lower price per ounce than many competing instant coffees. It wasn’t all rosy with this product, however.
There was one thing that we didn’t like about it and this one thing was the product’s size. It came in a container that only served up 17-servings of coffee—less if the consumer decided to add an extra spoon to each cup as we did. It’s not an extremely big deal, but it is worth mentioning. We wished they had made this container bigger. That would’ve lowered the amount of plastic waste and prevented the user from having to stock several containers of this product at one time.
Best Decaf Instant Coffee: Hill Bros. Decaf French Vanilla Cappuccino
We weren’t too surprised when this coffee made our top list, because Hill Bros is known for making quality coffees. This is a company that’s been making quality coffee products for almost 140-years, so we were quite enthusiastic about giving this flavored decaffeinated instant coffee a try. And we’re glad that we did because this product is not only easy to make and dissolves well in hot water, but also tastes very nice.
The one thing that bugged us about this coffee, however, was that each container only makes about 17-cups of coffee—less, if the coffee drinker exceeds the recommended dosage of coffee. It’s not a huge deal because this product is still less expensive than some competing brands, but it can be a pain to have to constantly reorder this product. Of course, consumers who drink only a cup of coffee a day might not be bothered too much.
It was nice that this product was decaffeinated, so it didn’t produce normal caffeine jitters, and it didn’t have an aftertaste that some flavored coffees tend to have. Overall, we think that this is a quality instant coffee that a lot of our readers are going to appreciate. It makes a great cup of cappuccino and is perfect for those special occasions.
A Guide To Instant Coffees
We decided to not only review some of the best instant coffee products available but also write this highly informative guide because we wanted to remove the stigma from instant coffee. So many consumers think that instant coffees are inferior products that have no place in the home. However, we’re here to assure our readers that isn’t the case at all. Sure, instant coffee will never be able to produce the same quality coffee that the consumer can make with high-quality beans or grounds and a proper coffee machine. But that doesn’t mean that this coffee doesn’t have its uses. To show our readers the situations that instant coffee is a valuable commodity and all of its uses, we’ve put together some eye-opening information. Before we get into that information, however, let’s start things off with a brief history of instant coffee.
The History Of Instant Coffee
Even though the first actual instant coffee was a product developed in Great Britain in 1771, most people consider instant coffee to be created in the United States during the 1850s. This was a product that was made in cake form, which proved quite a useful way for soldiers to carry their coffee rations during the Civil War. Of course, that form was quite different from what is currently known as instant coffee.
To find a coffee that’s more like modern instant coffee, the consumer would have to turn their attention to New Zealand in 1890. This is when David Strang invented the first “modern” instant coffee, a coffee that was in powdered form and could be brewed by simply mixing it into hot water. Many of these coffees weren’t stable, however. Fortunately, after World War II, a more stable instant coffee was finally developed—quickly hastened by wartime research into the preservation methods used for other foods.
How Is Instant Coffee Made?
A question that we’re commonly asked is just how manufacturers make instant coffee. Although that’s a bit of a complicated process, we do think that we can give consumers a brief overview of the process so they have a better idea of how this mysterious powder is made. The process of making instant coffee begins with the manufacturer using water and pressure to brew the coffee. This brewing process is a bit different than what the consumer would do at home, however, and is intended to draw out as much of the coffee flavor and aroma as possible out of the coffee beans.
After this extended brewing process, the excess water is then removed from the coffee, and this leaves behind only the pure coffee extract. The water is removed using a giant centrifuge that spins all of the water out of the denser coffee extract. Once that’s been properly done, the manufacturer then uses heat to remove any remaining moisture. The soon-to-be instant coffee is then flash frozen and packaged for sale to the consumer.
Uses For Instant Coffee
Now that we know the history of instant coffee and how it’s made, let’s turn our attention to more practical information on this product. Let’s talk about some of the ways that instant coffee can be used by the consumer. Although most people think of instant coffee as merely a convenient way to make a quick cup of coffee, there are a lot more uses possible with this product. Let’s take a look at some of them so all of our readers can understand why they should have a jar of instant coffee in their home at all times.
Great For Outdoor Enthusiasts And Travelers
Instant coffee is perfect for people who need to brew a cup of coffee quickly and easily when they’re away from their home. Not everyone can carry a coffee machine, coffee grounds, and filters with them everywhere they go, and that’s where instant coffee helps the consumer out. Instant coffee can be used anywhere. All the coffee drinker needs is a cup of hot water and they can enjoy a cup of coffee using instant coffee.
Great For Baking
Another use for instant coffee is adding a coffee flavor to cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and cookies. It’s easier to add to recipes than brewed coffee and is a lot more convenient, so coffee lovers should feel free to make their favorite coffee-flavored recipe.
Great For Ice Cream
Using instant coffee in ice cream is also a great way to get that coffee flavor. However, it should be said that the consumer does need to be careful. They don’t want to use too much, and they want to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed into the product. This prevents the ice cream lover from getting a big grainy bite of instant coffee. When properly mixed and used in the right proportions though, instant coffee adds a great flavor to ice cream.