What Exactly Is Instant Coffee?

Let’s be honest, we all love coffee. A warm cup of joe can let you leave home feeling happy and wide awake to take on the day. 

We adore every minute spent drinking a hot cup of coffee and we’re not surprised if you do, too. However, many (including us) tend to forget one of the most important parts of your morning coffee: preparing it.

Instant coffee has taken the world by storm and it doesn’t look like its popularity will fade anytime soon. If you’ve heard the name “instant coffee”, but aren’t really sure what it is, rest assured - we’re here to help!

History of Instant Coffee

Instant coffee has a long history that dates back to 1771 in Britain. During this time, instant coffee was only a nameless “coffee compound.” 

However, it was officially invented and patented by David Strang of New Zealand in 1890. Soon the drink was also created by Satori Kato in Chicago in 1901. Thanks to Kato, instant coffee received widespread attention in the United States. Eventually, instant coffee became a popular drink among American soldiers in World War I because it allowed them to quickly get a boost of energy. 

From then on, instant coffee only grew in popularity. Take a look at the number of places offering instant coffee nowadays. The drink can be found everywhere, like at grocery stores, coffee shops, fast-food chains, restaurants, and college cafeterias. Even astronauts travel with instant coffee in an airtight pouch. On Earth and in space? Is there anywhere instant coffee won’t go?

Easy & Less Caffeine

Rather than using coffee beans, instant coffee is made from dried coffee extract. This extract is created by brewing ground coffee beans. During this process, the extract's water is removed and used to make dry coffee crystals or powder.

There are two ways to manufacture instant coffee. 

The first one is called freeze-drying. In this method, the coffee extract is frozen to about – 40°C and cut into granules. Then, the granules are dried at low temperatures under vacuum conditions.

The alternative method is spray-drying. The coffee extract is sprayed into a stream of hot air. Next, the extract is placed in a tall cylinder tower and it forms droplets. As the droplets fall, they dry. The droplets soon become a fine powder once they reach the cylinder’s bottom.

How to make instant coffee

Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?

Instant coffee is looked down upon by some coffee aficionados. Due to this negative influence, instant coffee can seem unappealing at first. However, we believe instant coffee is incredible because it’s able to help a wide variety of people.

Instant coffee has similar health benefits to your traditional cup of joe. Both drinks have low calories, give you a boost of energy, and can be used to make coffee variants –– like lattes and mochas. 

Instant coffee can also serve as a better alternative to regular coffee for some people.

For example, instant coffee’s caffeine content is much lower. One cup of instant coffee contains around 50 mg of caffeine, while a cup of “regular” coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine. If you’re trying to manage your caffeine intake, but still want the taste of coffee, instant coffee would be your best drinking option. 

Another benefit of instant is how quickly it can be made. If you are late to work and need a quick pick-me-up, know that the process of making ground coffee can be slow. In this scenario, be prepared to show up to work and explain to your boss why you're tardy. However, you don’t have to worry when you make instant coffee in the morning.

With the help of this variant, a drinker can be eased into the coffee world. It takes time for someone to get used to the taste and caffeine content of their first coffee. Instant coffee can satisfy the drinker’s needs and evolving taste by giving them a less concentrated coffee flavor. 

Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

Instant and ground coffee share many traits with each other. 

For example, they are versatile drinks. Decaf instant coffee and organic instant coffee can be found at coffee shops and supermarkets –– alongside decaf ground and organic ground. 

A variety of coffee beans can be used to make both drinks, as well. Though instant coffees are often associated with Robusta beans, Arabica beans can be used for it instead. To learn more about the differences between these two coffee beans check out our article: Arabica vs Robusta Coffee

On the other hand, the coffees differ in several areas: 

When comparing their quality, flavor, and taste, it’s apparent why drinkers choose ground coffee over instant. During the burr grinding, ground coffee beans are crushed and squeezed between two surfaces. This process extracts oil from the beans, creating a smooth and tasty infusion when the beans meet the hot water.

The production of instant coffee strips away the oil. As a result, instant coffee does not have the smooth and tasty characteristics that ground has. On top of this, Robusta beans are used to make instant coffee most of the time. Robusta adds bitter and earthy peanut notes to the mix, which leaves people with an inferior drinking experience. 

For more information on the differences between instant and ground coffee, check out Amora’s Ground Coffee Vs. Instant Coffee.

The Final Verdict

In the end, we believe ground coffee is a more well-rounded pick. With this coffee, you can have the ideal drinking experience every time you pick up a mug. Yet, instant coffee has its uses. Not only is it a fast way to get coffee, but you don’t have to worry about drinking too much caffeine. 

Instant coffee can be a great thing to try when you want something new and sweet. Just remember that the best instant coffee recipes should contain Arabica or both Arabica and Robusta. The inclusion of Arabica prevents Robusta’s bitter, earthy peanut notes from completely taking over the coffee’s flavors. 

If you choose the ground coffee route, ensure you are getting the freshest coffee by picking out your favorite roast of Amora Coffee. 

Have any questions about our products? You’re always welcome to reach out to us. Don’t forget to take a look at our Bean Blog, too. This way, you can learn more about the wonderful world of coffee!

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