Listen, I’m not going to sit here and wax poetic about instant coffee. It’s a meager substitute compared to literally
coffee. Personally, I believe the only reason instant coffee has a place in any kitchen is for baking desserts.
The fact of the matter is, though, that we live in an on-the-go kind of world, and there are some instant coffees that are considerably better than others. In the event that you must have a package of this powered caffeination around, here’s a list of the best instant coffees in 2018.
It’s obvious that the instant stuff is just different than the standard beans used to make coffee. The ground up kind may look somewhat similar, but it certainly doesn’t function the same way.
Instant coffee is typically created using one of two different routes— the first way is made with a traditional cup of brewed coffee. It’s sprayed in a fine mist with incredibly hot and dry air. When those coffee droplets finally land, they’re the familiar flakey flecks we know and kind of, sort of, sometimes like.
The second route makers take is freeze drying, which results in a shelf-stable coffee powder with just-add-hot-water directions. It’s a reconstituted drink.
Freeze dried drinks or food are the easiest to re-animate—all that’s required is water. If anyone else just imagined their morning cup of instant joe as zombie coffee beans, lazy Saturdays just got a whole lot more exciting.
There are perks to instant coffee powder, though, primarily when it comes to shelf life. Ground coffee taps out at 5 months max, and even whole beans only keeps for 9 months or less.
If you’re not a daily drinker or just like to keep some handy in case the craving arises, a (well-sealed) container of instant coffee can last anywhere between two and 20 years forgotten in the back of your pantry. Put in the freezer, these flakes can supposedly last indefinitely. I don’t recommend it, but, in the name of science, you should totally test the limits of that (just kidding, please don’t eat old food or drink of any kind and then sue me for telling you to do it) (thanks).
Like anything that’s reconstituted, it’s just not going to have the complexity, the subtle notes, or the brightness of a well-brewed french press, coffee maker, or single-serve machine. This is especially true if you don’t choose the right brand—which is totally where I come in. Before we get to listing the best instant coffees, though, let’s talking about the act of actually making the cuppa.
Like everything else in the 21st century, there are a number of hacks to make the best tasting instant coffee humanly possible. One of the easiest ways to enhance the flavor of your reconstituted brew is to put a teaspoon or two of cold water in your cup first. Mix up the grounds in this dash of H20 very well, and then throw in the hot water and enjoy as per usual. This helps the granules brew more gently, resulting in a decent cup of the good stuff.
Okay. We’re going to start this list now, working from most economically-friendly to specialty, but all are well-rated and ready for you to have a go at!
These are coffee crystals and that makes mornings sound fancier, right? Folgers has been making coffee since 1850, they’re committed to sustainability, and they have the reviews to prove that they’re doing something very right.
It could just be the jingle.
This jar makes you up to 45 cups, 6 oz. each, but you can fiddle with the strength since it’s sent in a large container rather than in individuals packets. However, that is also an option.
Ah, Starbucks. These VIA packets are comprised of high-quality arabica beans, which is definitely what we’re looking for. The better a foundation we lay, the better the reconstituted beverage. It takes 10 seconds to enjoy these little packets of goodness, which is the kind of immediate gratification we all love.
This dark roast is crafted to offer a sweetness and intensity for the jumpstart you need in the AM, PM, or anywhere in between.
If I haven’t made this clear, I find decaf to be utterly confusing, but you do you, boo. This decaf Italian Roast is probably one of the best instant decaf coffee options you’ll find — there is really a lot to appreciate about it.
These slim packets are filled with 100% ethically-sourced arabica coffee. It’s microground to dissolve easily with a few quick stirs, and this dark roast has a strong aroma to go with the pitch black coloring.
This Vietnamese coffee brand is a good choice if you’re really in one heck of a rush or honestly have zero time. This instant coffee is actually a mix, one that includes non-dairy creamer and sugar, which means you don’t need anything but this on-the-go packet.
Vinacafe may not be right for those who want black java, but it’s great for those that can’t imbibe their morning brew without dairy and sugar. You just grab your little packet, acquire some hot water, and away you go!
Here’s another all-in-1 option for those that can’t hang with the big kids and drink their morning caffeine black. This coffee powder is imported directly from Malaysia, is HALAL certified, and it takes all of 30 seconds to have a steaming cup of hot coffee at your beck and call.
These beauts are in stick form, which is great for a no-nonsense, no-measuring lifestyle, but they only allow for a 6 oz. cup of coffee. If you’re drinking 2+ a day, you’ll burn through 28 sticks fairly quickly. It does give nifty directions for cold coffee, which is ideal for hot, summer days.
It’s always nice when you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body, and Mount Hagen’s offers just that. It’s organic. It’s fairtrade. It’s still instant coffee, but, hey.
It’s in a glass jar to ensure freshness, though that jar is a tad on the small side. It makes about 60 cups of 6 oz. mugs, so bear that in mind if you choose this one as your caffeine source.
Alright. Suspend your understanding of coffee for just a hot second here. I’m naturally more of a purist in regards to my coffee — if it’s before 2 pm, I’m 100% guzzling down a black cup. I’ll consider a mixed drink after that, but it’s rare. I just say all of this to explain that being attracted to something like Mushroom Coffee Mix isn’t “normal” behavior for me.
This mix is an intriguing combination of 100% organic arabica coffee, Lion’s Mane mushroom, and “the golden root” for a cup of joe that will keep you focused and productive. There aren’t any reports of a mushroomy taste or anything like that, either, so, well…. Why not? Branch out! Be creative!
There are a number of reasons to opt for a bulk container rather than individual packets — one, less waste. But, really, there’s more capability for individualization. Taster’s Choice House Blend comes in a glass jar that locks tight to prolong freshness, as well as release that coveted coffee aroma every time you unscrew the lid.
It’s a mild roast of responsible-sourced beans that are flash frozen to seal in all of the good stuff. You can scoop out as much as you want to make 6 oz., 8 oz., 10 oz., ya know. Whatever you need to survive the work day. It makes roughly 105 6 oz. cups.
This fine quality coffee is a medium roast that’s been 250 years in the making. Duowe Egberts is committed to their coffee — even the instant stuff. They care about sustainability when it comes to the farms they harvest from, as well as the environment that we’re all living in. This freeze-dried dutch coffee is definitely worth a sip just to check out the smooth, slightly nutty notes of this delicious brew.
G7 isn’t created either of the two ways we’re traditionally familiar with. They refer to a “patented dry roasting process” that’s probably a lot like the recipe for Coca-Cola: only two people in the whole wide world know the recipe and they can’t ever travel together.
Joking aside, this instant coffee has some excellent reviews for flakes that have never been pre-brewed, freeze dried, or concentrated. This instant coffee is also a 3-in-1, making it great for traveling since it’s an all-included deal.
You can opt for this brand in either individual packets or in a larger aluminum foil bag. I vote for that second option — save a few bucks on the bag and choose the strength of your coffee.
This flavorful blend makes its way from Germany to grace your cup. Freeze dried to make the trip, this instant blend is 100% ground coffee, totally untainted by milk or sugar. The glass container holds 7 oz., so it can stand up to even daily, multi-cup drinkers, especially since it can be purchased in packages of 2.
This is the kind of instant coffee you can beat the afternoon slump with, so keep one in the office and one at home, and you’ll be appropriately covered whenever the need arises.
I’ve been informed that I’m required to pick a winner. Ignore the heavy sigh following that statement. If you’re doing instant coffee, I think you should at least make it interesting. You know where I’m going with this: the Coffee Mushroom Mix.
If you can’t silence the qualms and also need cream and sugar, I’d recommend the Vinacafe 3-in-1 Instant Coffee Mix. Easy packets are ideal for heading out within 60 seconds flat, no extra pouring, dumping, or mixing required.
If you’re a classic I-drink-my-coffee-black-like-the-color-of-my-soul kinda person, the Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, 3.53 oz. steals the show.
Pick your poison and be ready for that desperate craving the moment it strikes. Happy drinking!