Instant coffee is a popular beverage on every continent in the world. In many countries, it accounts for approximately 50% of all the coffee consumed. Similar to the brewing process of regular coffee, instant coffee starts with brewing ground coffee beans, but it's more concentrated.
In 2023, the best overall instant coffee is Café Altura Instant Organic Coffee. The original blend comes from organic, Fair Trade Arabica coffee originating from Latin America, Asia, and Africa. It has a strong yet pleasant flavor that goes down smooth without the watered-down taste.
This article will discuss what you need to consider when buying instant coffee and some of the most remarkable instant coffee brands on the market.
These brands are rated based on the quality of ingredients, processing, and affordability, all of which are essential factors for coffee drinkers.
How To Evaluate the Best Instant Coffee
There are millions of coffee lovers in the United States and countless others from all over the world.
They have enjoyed all different kinds of great coffee from every corner of the planet. Because to truly determine the best instant coffee, it is essential to have experience with all of the alternative brands and flavors available.
Below, I outlined the core elements that determine how good a cup of instant coffee is. The key factors necessary to properly evaluate a cup of instant coffee include:
I'll explain all seven below:
The back of the mouth is where the sensation of bitterness begins.
The aftertaste is often where that bitterness is the most prominent. Bitterness is suitable to a certain extent in espresso and other darker roasts because it may add to the fullness of the taste.
The type of coffee used plays a significant role in the degree of bitterness. However, too much bitterness is unpleasant. It also can be a result of over-extraction while brewing or using coffee grounds that's too fine.
While there are well over 100 different coffee species, the two most common commercially produced types of coffee are arabica and robusta.
100% Arabica coffee beans are high quality and create a premium taste, while robusta is somewhat lower quality and causes a more bitter flavor.
The beans used to create the flavor will determine the amount of bitterness in instant coffee.
You can check out NatureLoC’s video explaining the difference between Arabica and Robusta:
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The aroma is the smell of instant or brewed coffee mixed with water and is an essential part of the coffee experience since it relates to coffee flavor.
It indicates the freshness and quality of instant coffee. Descriptive words typically used when talking about coffee aroma include nutty, floral, caramel, and floral.
The coffee body, also described as the "mouthfeel," explains the coffee's overall viscosity, thickness, and heaviness.
It's a feeling that can relate to the sediments, fats, and oils from the coffee. Different categories include: watery, buttery, syrupy, and thick.
The flavor is the taste of coffee in terms of the sweetness, aroma, aftertaste, body, acidity, and bitterness.
If the coffee taste is one-dimensional and flat might be due to a lack of proper processing and how the grounds and beans are stored. Some flavors in coffee include spices, berries, chocolate, flowers, and fruits.
Unlike the sweetness derived from things like candy, coffee sweetness includes a broader range of quality. It provides a smoothness that doesn't have undesirable harshness or taste.
Common words that describe the sweet taste of coffee are caramel, chocolate, or fruity.
The degree of acidity in the instant coffee can indicate the quality; it's the tart taste on the tip of your tongue.
Acidity is the brightness of the coffee and creates a strong yet pleasant aftertaste. Sharp, smooth, crisp, lemony, or flat are words used to describe the acidity of coffee.
Also known as the finish or "nose," aftertaste the taste that lingers on the tongue after drinking coffee.
Instant coffee with a heavier body has a stronger aftertaste. Some descriptions of the aftertaste may include chocolaty, fruity, or smoky.
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The Best Instant Coffee Brands 2023
Finding the best coffee powder / instant coffee powder starts with companies that select the best coffee beans.
The following are some of our top picks for best instant coffee types most coffee drinkers will love.
- Café Altura Instant Organic Coffee. The Café Altura instant coffee is organic, sun-dried, and perfectly fire-roasted. It has a rich yet mellow flavor balanced with hints of chocolate, nuts, and spices while boasting the perfect amount of bitterness and a smooth finish. The typical recommendation is to have it with hot water, but it can be refrigerated or poured over ice to enjoy it chilled.
- Waka Coffee Medium Roast Colombian. The Waka instant coffee doesn't require hot water to dissolve. It's the best choice for iced coffee. Waka uses 100% Arabica beans, which are sweeter and go through a freeze-drying process, allowing the coffee to maintain its flavor and smell. Overall, it has a smooth flavor but is also a bit bit watery.
- Mount Hagen Instant Coffee. The coffee beans in Mount Hagen Instant coffee originate from the lush mountains of Papua New Guinea for over three decades. These Arabica beans are freeze-dried like Waka instant coffee, creating a fruity, mild, and nutty final product. This rich and smooth instant coffee is Fair Trade Certified, organic, and has a full-bodied flavor.
- Starbucks Via Instant Veranda Blend. The Starbucks Via Instant Veranda is made exclusively from Arabica beans. This Starbucks coffee comes in single-serve instant coffee packets contain both instant and fine micro-ground coffee. It's malty, bright, and mild with a subtle sweetness that's balanced. A nice smooth taste.
- Death Wish Coffee. Another popular brand, made with high-quality Arabica beans. Death Wish has a high caffeine content with 300mg of caffeine in each instant coffee stick. If you feel you need a kick of caffeine for your brain function to be at its best, this is for you. It is recommended to mix each coffee stick with 8 oz of hot water or milk at 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
Instant coffee is quick, easy, cheap, has a longer shelf life than regular coffee, and doesn't require a coffee maker.
Everyone's taste buds are different, and the "best" coffee might be up for debate, but the varieties of coffee mentioned above are definitely worth considering.
Instant coffee is a great option for individuals that are looking for coffee shop quality coffee but either don't have time for coffee machines or don't drink coffee on a regular basis.
Many coffee drinkers consider instant coffee a last resort; however, it's in the midst of an amazing renaissance to deliver a cup of joe just as good as regular coffee. Depending on your circumstances, it could be the best option for you!