Instant or soluble coffee sometimes gets a bad rap. I know we all want, and deserve, fresh-ground coffee made with the correct grinder and brewed with crisp, cold filtered water.
Too often, I feel that instant coffee is associated with the phrases “low quality” and “cheap.” The worst mental image is somebody hurriedly mixing up a cup of instant coffee, putting it in the microwave and then heating it up. Yikes! Well, we aim to change all that.
We picked up a few different varieties of instant coffee so we can easily show you the best instant coffee out there and let you know there is nothing to be afraid of. Hope you are ready to wake up and smell the joe, because this is going to be fun.
What is Instant Coffee? Any Different From Normal Coffee?
Instant coffee goes by many names—soluble coffee, coffee crystals, and powdered coffee to name a few. It comes from brewed coffee beans that allow users to quickly make some hot coffee by simply adding water to the powder or crystals and stirring to form a liquid.
It is manufactured commercially by freeze drying or spray drying the brewed beans, which can then be rehydrated by adding water. It is also possible to purchase instant coffee in liquid form.
Making coffee like this serves many purposes. For one, it provides the user with a longer shelf life than traditional coffee. The cleanup involved is also reduced, as there are zero grounds to dispose of. It also has been found to be more environmentally friendly than other preparation methods of coffee.
Several great brands that the world knows and loves create delicious instant coffee, such as Nescafe, Starbucks, Folgers and Maxwell House.
A Quick Look at the Types of Instant Coffee
You can easily buy strong instant coffee, instant flavored coffee right at your favorite retailer or even online, as we will show. There are many types available—one of our personal favorites is the Starbucks VIA packets.
They come in a great variety of roasts and flavors, making it a real treat even if you cannot make it to the coffee shop that morning. Instant coffee goes anywhere and everywhere and does not need to be stored in any specific way to retain its great flavor.
The only stipulation is that you must not get instant coffee wet—otherwise, you are left with spoiled coffee. A package of instant coffee of any brand makes a great accessory for your desk drawer at work too—if your office does not serve coffee in the break room or cafeteria, a cup of this great stuff can be all you need to get through that afternoon meeting.
Aside from being a fine beverage to enjoy along with the rest of the world, instant coffee can also be used in several recipes as an ingredient. If Nutella Iced Coffee, delicious Iced Coffee, Creamy Iced Coffee, or Warm Coffee Cocoa sound good to you then guess what—they all feature the same ingredient which is instant coffee!
Google the recipes for yourself and see just how versatile instant coffee powder can be!
Okay, now it’s time for you to see just how great these individual products can be. They don’t mess around. Each and every one of these will serve your kitchen, office, or recipe needs with ease. Check out what we have to say and then go get some for yourself!
* Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals
Folgers is a brand name you can always trust when it comes to coffee. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, stopping off for a quick cup when filling up at the gas station, or simply craving coffee, many coffee lovers turn to Folgers for their fix.
They were founded in the lovely city of San Francisco, and for over 150 years the world has been singing that famous old jingle—”The best part of wakin’ up, is Folgers in your cup!” Their blends are mountain-grown coffee packed with an aroma you can’t get anywhere else.
You can take comfort in knowing that their quality and world-renowned fresh roasted flavor carries over to their instant coffee products, too. It’s made right in the USA, roasted in the Big Easy—that’s New Orleans, Louisiana.
Simply open up the flip top, add the desired amount to your favorite mug, and then add some hot water as well. You will enjoy the way it smoothly dissolves to create a cup that rivals any coffee shop.
The taste is well preserved inside this coffee.
I had this one right after getting up—a critical coffee time for many of us. It tasted wonderful and set the tone for a good morning of work. I tried it first with no additives. I just took it black and enjoyed every sip. The flavor was rich and robust.
The second cup I had a few hours later contained a bit of milk and sugar. It tasted just fine. You could easily take this black or with additives and it will be an enjoyable cup no matter what. The flavor is not lost in this great blend, which is amazing to me.
And as always, you can enjoy the versatility of this Instant coffee. Recipes like Creamy Instant Iced Coffee, Coffee and Cinnamon Fudge, and Grilled Tenderloin with Five-Spice Raspberry Sauce are all great dishes you can make with this coffee as the prime ingredient. How fun is that!
- Folgers is a brand that is experienced in the coffee world. They make sure their coffee is sustainably sourced.
- Flavor is really good and tastes as great as fresh-brewed coffee.
- Works really well when making iced coffees and frappes.
- The bottle is rather small for the price paid.
- Some users reported a bitter aftertaste.
- Water must be very hot to dissolve it fully.
* Starbucks Italian Roast VIA Packets
Oh boy! Who doesn’t love going to Starbucks? The only drawback is—you guessed it, the price tag. Going there every day doesn’t make financial sense for anybody, unless you’re a gazillionaire.
That’s where these lovely packets of high quality instant coffee come into play. They are made with the same great stuff you expect from Starbucks. That means high-quality arabica coffee beans.
This also means you get a flavor unlike any other, a nice roasted and sweet taste with deep, rich notes and a few hints of caramelized sugar. All you need to do in case of an afternoon slump or morning blues is rip open a packet of this, add some hot water, wait ten short seconds and stir.
You don’t need anything else!
They go anywhere—put some in a purse, backpack, or pocket for an easy, inexpensive way to enjoy Starbucks on the run. You can get these in a box of 50—an easy and economical way to enjoy the great Starbucks taste without breaking the bank.
Launched in 2009, Starbucks VIA is a relative newcomer to the market of instant coffee, but they sure do know their stuff. I enjoyed this coffee in the morning where I took it black, enjoying that rich flavor.
Even in the afternoon, I didn’t desire any cream or sugar because it simply tasted that good. I was really pleased with the taste, and all it took was some hot water from the pot at work. These quality arabica beans are the same level of freshness Starbucks demands for all of its products, so don’t think twice about it. Get ready to enjoy your favorite coffee shop in a new way.
- 50 count pack makes it so easy to stay stocked up.
- Taste is spectacular, and fresh.
- The quality is just the same as a Starbucks cup of coffee.
- Some users stated that the caramel notes of the coffee were overly sweet.
- Some stated that it was strong for a medium roast.
- Hard to find in stores, according to some users.
* Nescafe Taster’s Choice
The nice green color of this box is so inviting, just like the flavor of this coffee. It is the House Blend decaf, to be exact. I drank this while catching up with my mom one Sunday afternoon. It was perfect for the occasion, we just sat in my living room joking about politics, television and discussing new places to eat in town.
The roast is a medium roast, and—full disclosure—it is decaf. I would not drink this in the morning, but you will really enjoy this for a nice after-dinner drink with a slice of pie or coffee cake. Or if you are caffeine sensitive, I’d go for this one. The world-renowned Nescafe name lends itself well to this instant decaffeinated coffee.
Key features of this coffee include the natural water decaffeination process, and the fact that it is made with high-quality, slow-roasted coffee beans. I also noted that my pack I picked up for testing came in a pack of 80—that’s a lot of Nescafe goodness and the value was good for the price. It’s easy to share with friends and family when you have this much great coffee. They make nice gift bag add-ins too.
Yes, tasting this coffee was a pure delight.
The House Blend decaf is Nescafe’s signature blend, just like how Starbucks has their famous Pike Place roast. This House Blend is, of course, sans caffeine, and results in a smooth and mild-roasted flavor. You can take comfort in the fact that these beans are sustainably sourced.
The value for money is great, but that does not mean the quality is lacking. You will feel like a master coffee maker roasting and brewing a special blend of premium quality arabica beans. The coffee is flash-frozen to lock in that great taste, and thus you end up with a smooth and well-balanced flavor ready to enjoy all hours of the day or night.
I also noted the smooth texture of this coffee. With the Starbucks, I enjoyed the boldness, but the acidity of that coffee seemed to overpower it a bit. This blend was just smooth all around—it felt like smooth chocolate going down, honestly!
I also liked how easy it was to carry this stuff around.
The Folgers came in a small jar, which is not bad but kind of hard to carry unless I use my big purse or a backpack. The Starbucks and this use small packets which are a huge convenience for me, plus it’s easy to share with coworkers and friends in this manner.
Indeed, Nestle takes the utmost care when they craft their coffee. They’ve got a big reputation to uphold, and products like this only make them more of a beloved company.
Aside from crafting their coffee with expertise, their sense of corporate responsibility shines through—they’ve donated nearly 74 million trees to farmers in the coffee belt to keep things in motion. After all, us humans drink a lot of coffee—it is the second most consumed beverage next to tea.
The secret lies in the flash-freezing of the coffee beans to lock in the smooth, silky taste and balanced flavor you come to expect from the Nescafe brand.
Don’t think twice about getting this one—it is a wonderful coffee for those of you that desire to lower your caffeine intake, are caffeine sensitive, or simply want a great after-dinner coffee that won’t keep you up all night. Plus, these make stellar iced cappuccinos, too!
- Smooth, silky taste which is easy to carry around in packets and share with others.
- Sustainably sourced coffee makes for an ethical yet tasty experience.
- The value for the money paid is really great—you get 80 packets to enjoy!
- Some users advise cutting open the packet with scissors, otherwise the product tends to get stuck and you miss out on some coffee.
- Some users, when ordering from a popular online retail site, stated they got their product in a blue bag instead of the box. Be sure to verify if buying online.
- Some users complained that the packets contained a small amount of coffee compared to other brands.
* Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Prefer to keep everything organic in life? I do not require an organic diet, but I know plenty of people who like to keep it natural. If organic instant coffee is what you need, then look no further.
Everything here is made of 100% highland Arabica coffee beans, and is organic and Kosher certified to meet dietary needs. You can enjoy about 60 cups of coffee from just one of these jars of instant coffee. They make great summer coffee drinks, too. There’s no need to brew and then cool coffee in the refrigerator for hours before making your iced joes, ice cappuccinos, or frozen lattes.
Mount Hagen instant coffee is organically grown highland coffee made from 100% arabica beans, according to its product page. This is the first certified organic freeze-dried coffee in the entire world! It is 100% organic certified by EcoCert and follows the USA Department of Agriculture organic standards.
All the ingredients chosen for this coffee are carefully selected and harvested separately to bring the highest quality mild and rich flavors to your mug. The coffee is freeze dried and achieved with no use of preservatives or additives, perfect for those of you who are living and eating clean.
The coffee beans come from plantations in the richest cultivation areas in the whole world and are quarantined so as to not be touched by any pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or fungicides.
I thought this coffee tasted really great.
I had it one morning as an iced blend, and to do that I simply had to add one teaspoon into a glass. I then filled it with cold water and stirred. I added some ice and was all set. I did add a packet of sugar as I felt the flavor was more bold than usual and I needed a little sweetness to offset it.
Those of you who really like it bold will favor this. It is non-GMO, if you keep track of that sort of thing. This means it is also very friendly to the environment, so you can drink green and live green.
And although I thought all the brands I tested were great, this one really stood out as it had the most unique flavor of all of them. This coffee was REALLY hard to tell that it was instant. My only gripe was that it was so bold that I needed a sugar packet, which is not a big deal at all, really. This may be a brand you’ve never heard of, but it’s going to be one you keep coming back to!
- Non-GMO, organically sourced, and sustainable.
- Great bold taste, and you can make a lighter or darker roast by adding or subtracting coffee based on personal preference.
- Great for making iced coffees and tastes really good when making iced cappuccinos on hot days.
- Some consumers expressed concerns about the price of the coffee.
- When ordering online some jars arrived broken, said some users.
- Can only be found in stores in certain organic and specialty stores.
* G7 3 in 1 Instant Vietnamese Coffee
Vietnamese coffee has a taste unlike any other. When I visit the local Pho spot in town I love getting it. I want that tasty flavor every day! When I get a craving I choose the delicious and slightly sweet taste of G7 3 in 1. It’s super tasty and a flavor unlike anything I’ve ever had.
You can get this in a variety of serving sizes, with the 48 servings featuring real milk within. The blend here is so perfect. It’s sweet but not so sweet that I feel like I’m on a sugar high or drinking a frappe. I love the fact that it comes in little sticks that I can carry right in my purse or pocket.
Nothing could be more convenient!
This stuff is known as gourmet instant coffee. So, if you know somebody who is a coffee nut or just loves trying foods from around the world, this would make a great gift for them. It tastes just as good as any other brewed cup you could come up with and is just super convenient.
This instant coffee comes straight from the coffee bean, which makes it a more flavorful experience than conventionally prepared freeze-dried instant coffees.
In Asia, the coffee market is fierce. Competition is high. The coffees that make their way to the top are few and far between, but this is one of them. This is the #1 coffee in all of Asia, now brought to the USA and everywhere else! This brand is the most popular due to its perfect blend of all ingredients, including sweeteners and creamers.
Everything in these packets is carefully blended to ensure top flavor. You will get creamer and sugar in perfect balance when you crack open one of these great little packets. They do contain casein, which is a milk derivative, so if there are any vegans in the crowd consider this your warning.
To make a really big mug of this coffee, use two packets instead of one. One packet only makes six ounces—something we noticed about instant coffee packets is the tiny yield—so you might just need to use two.
Even though I prefer my coffee black, this was really a treat, and the sweetness is just right. For you dieters or healthy eaters in general, this has only 71 calories per serving. You can enjoy flavorful coffee and not break your daily calorie intake!
- No ingredients are from China.
- This is the top coffee in all of Asia.
- Buying this coffee is much less expensive than going to a coffee shop every day but the taste rivals that of any popular coffee chain!
- Not available in most brick and mortar stores.
- Some consumers stated it tasted too sweet.
- Sometimes you need to use two packets to make a big cup.
* Kava Instant Coffee
Whoa! I had no idea I was drinking typically highly acidic high caffeine instant coffee. This flavor is oh so smooth, and it features reduced acid. For some sensitive people, the acid in coffee can affect them especially if they have acid reflux.
I personally do not have to deal with acid reflux, but I do know somebody who does, and this instant coffee would be a godsend to them.
I can’t tell you how nice and smooth it was, and it was just the sort of pick me up I needed. My boss had me come in on Saturday for mandatory overtime and while I was happy about the money, I did not want to work on my day off! My coffee made it a more pleasant morning as me and my team powered through and caught up on our reports.
Like the other brands we have featured today, Smucker is a name you can trust. I remember the phrase, “With a name like Smucker’s, it has to be good!” You can expect just that with the taste of this coffee as well as their approach to production.
Smucker’s follows their Basic Beliefs in the production of all their products—they use quality, ethics, people and growth as well as independence as the guiding principles for running their company.
Their beans are not sourced from places that employ children, prisoners, indentured laborers, or bonded laborers. Quality assurance audits are performed to ensure there is no human trafficking or slavery in the supply chain.
You can rest easy when you buy this coffee.
As mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the nice, smooth flavor, and I really liked how energetic it made me feel. I even tried making an iced coffee out of it, and boy am I glad I did. It was a smooth and sweet coffee, and I will definitely make one again very soon. This will definitely be coming with me as I travel, because it’s THAT good.
- Super smooth flavor unlike any other.
- The boost of energy that you get from this coffee is so amazing!
- Reduced acid so friends with acid reflux can enjoy it too.
- Jars are rather small for the avid drinker.
- Product can be a bit pricey for the four ounces you get in a jar.
- Often sells out in stores, but usually available online. If you need a fix, buy a lot at once!
Coffee is my lifeblood. I need it to get by each and every day, and I am sure you do too. In every country all around the world workers, parents, students and everybody in between needs to get their coffee so they can be ready to work with efficiency.
Using these best instant coffee types means you don’t lose any time getting everything done in your daily life—simply add water and stir, and you will be ready to go. Put some in your desk drawer or backpack for a quick fix anywhere. No matter which of these coffees you choose, you’re going to be tasting a little bit of paradise in every cup. Enjoy!