Instant coffee is a great option for those without time to brew a fresh cup in the morning, but you should know how to prepare it properly. A frequent question is whether or not boiling water will ruin instant coffee as it does with ground coffee.
As a general rule, boiling water doesn't ruin instant coffee because instant coffee is pre-roasted at a much higher temperature and then goes through a secondary process of preservation and additives. The temperature of the water used to prepare instant coffee is the brewer’s preference.
That’s a simple answer, but there’s a bit more to it. We’ll discuss in more detail below, as well as talk about how to properly prepare a cup of instant coffee, how to get more enjoyment out of it, and even go over a few top brands to stock your pantry with.
Why Doesn’t Boiling Water Ruin Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is put through a “second process” during production, and that’s the main reason that some boiling water won’t hurt it. This process is meant to increase the shelf-life and make it much more practical for people on the move.
Here’s how they make instant coffee, and why that’s important:
- Ground coffee goes through the same steps as instant coffee in the beginning.
- The beans are roasted at 370 to 540 degrees Fahrenheit, then ground into a fine powder.
- Instant coffee then goes through a secondary process where the powder gets dehydrated. Then chemicals get added to prevent clumping and help preserve it.
- That secondary process means that adding additional boiling water isn’t going to affect the taste in the same way that it would in traditional ground coffee.
Ground coffee goes through no other process than cleaning it and roasting it, whereas instant coffee has additives and preservatives in the finished product. Without this second process, fresh ground coffee retains a rich aromatic flavor, but that flavor can also be altered by using boiling water to release bitter compounds in the coffee.
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How to Make Your Instant Coffee More Enjoyable
While convenient, instant coffee isn’t always exciting. There are many ways to improve your cup of instant coffee. Let’s explore a few ways to punch up your morning joe!
Buy High-Quality Instant Coffee
The brand can play a role in how enjoyable the coffee can be. Instant coffee is just like anything else you get what you pay for. If you grab that dollar box, then expect a dollar cup of coffee.
While there are thousands of brands to choose from there are only a handful of brands worth consuming. It's not always the best value to buy at the cheapest prices. In fact, with coffee, that can leave you with a cup full of mud.
Use Clean, Filtered Water
As water is the base of the beverage it can play a key role in the quality of the cup. You’ll never get a cup of good instant coffee when using bad or off-taste water.
Filtered water is the best way to go here. That way you can ensure that you don't get any mineral or chemical aftertaste in your cup.
Experiment with the Ratio of Coffee to Water
The amount of coffee you use per cup is another way to ensure a more enjoyable cup of Joe. The general recommendation is to use around a teaspoon and a half per cup of water.
Now, this, of course, depends on your taste, so experiment away!
Try Different Kinds of Instant Coffee
Also, try different kinds; there are thousands of different flavors from chocolate to gingerbread and everything in between. So, if one of the flavors doesn't suit your taste, you got plenty of other options.
If you're having a hard time figuring out which flavor to go with, get a variety pack. You can order a variety pack online with anywhere from 10 to 50 different flavors. It might take some time but once you've finished with that you should be an instant coffee connoisseur.
Try Some New Flavorings
There are also a variety of flavorings and tastes you can use to bring a new kick to your instant coffee. Here are a few of our recommendations:
- Flavored creamers can be a tasty and fun seasonal way to spice up your morning cup
- Cinnamon is a classic standby to add a bit of warmth to your cup. Add a touch of ground clove too for a fall treat!
- Honey is useful for more than just tea. A bit of honey in your cup of instant coffee can smooth it out and give it that little hint of sweetness you’re looking for.
- Heavy cream or whipped cream is great for those mornings where you just need a little pick-me-up.
Top Brands of Instant Coffee
Instant coffee doesn't just come from one company in one flavor. It has a great range of flavors, and not all brands are created equal. While the preparation is always the same, the outcome can be drastically different.
If you want the best cup of instant coffee, you’ll need to start with high-quality coffee itself! Let’s take a look at some of the best brands on the market today.
Folgers Singles Classic Roast
Folgers coffee is America's most popular coffee. The name is known from coast to coast, with good reason too. Folgers coffee has a strong aroma and a smooth, rich taste.
Here’s what people like about Folgers Singles Classic Roast:
- Most people seem to enjoy the flavor that the instant roast has.
- They enjoy how easy it is to make.
- Many people believe it is a great price.
Here’s what some people don’t like:
- There are people out there who can't stand the taste, with some even describing it as lighter fluid, others just bitter.
- Some people say that it's too weak.
Juan Valdez Classic
This is a Columbian-based brand boasting 100% premium Columbian coffee. It's not only a good premium coffee but they give royalties to the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation to help support the farmers and their families.
Here's what people like about Juan Valdez instant coffee:
- Great flavor and aroma
- Several people say it’s the “best coffee on the market”
Here's what people don't like:
- People often claim that it’s a bit overpriced
- You have to use a lot of it to get a good flavor
Maxwell House Original Roast
This is Folger's big competitor, and it can hold its own. While it doesn't have the strong aroma you get with Folgers, it does have a good, strong taste.
Here's what people like about it:
- Many say that it avoids the bitter taste of something like Folgers
- Several praise it for how easily it dissolves and how easy it is to make
Here’s what people don’t like:
- The biggest complaint about this one is the price
Starbucks Via Instant Medium Roast
The world-renowned Starbucks makes its own version of instant coffee! With a vast variety of coffees, frappucinos, and lattes, the brand is recognized globally as a world leader in coffee products.
Here's what people like:
- Great flavor, even for instant coffee
- Some people even claim it’s better than a Keurig instant cup
Here's what people don't like:
- People generally like it, but some say their orders arrived stale and out of date.
Using Boiling Water for Instant Coffee
There we have it—boil away! The hot water won’t affect the integrity of your morning cup of instant coffee. We’ve also discussed a few ways to help improve the quality and taste of your instant coffee because having instant coffee doesn’t necessarily mean having bad coffee.