You don’t want to or don’t have the time to brew coffee on your own. Nor do you wish to spend money at Starbucks or any other coffee shop daily in order to satisfy your caffeine cravings. Am I right?
Even though brewing methods such as Pour Over and French Press are highly recommended, it doesn’t negate the fact that the best instant coffee is also a great idea. Especially since there are so many delicious options available! But here’s a warning. There are a few instant coffees that taste and even smell better than the others.
The instant coffee quality range is very wide. At the extreme end of the spectrum lies acidic, bitter coffee. And at the top, there are brands that offer the most flavorful, richest, and smoothest taste. So I have reviewed more of the latter and less of the former because every coffee lover’s caffeine urge deserves the best.
Table of Contents
- Best Instant Coffee Brands 2019: Top 14 Reviews
- #1 Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
- #2 Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee
- #3 Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Roast Coffee
- #4 Nescafe Taster’s Choice French Roast Instant Coffee
- #5 Nescafe 3 in 1 Original Instant Coffee Sticks
- #6 G7 3-in-1 Instant Premium Vietnamese Coffee
- #7 Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals
- #8 Waka Coffee Quality Colombian Instant Coffee
- #9 Maxwell House Hazelnut Iced Latte
- #10 Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee
- #11 Trader Joe’s 100% Colombian Instant Coffee
- #12 Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Instant Coffee
- #13 Jacob’s Coffee Jacobs Kronung Instant
- #14 Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee
- Best Instant Coffee: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
- Done with the Work!
Best Instant Coffee Brands 2019: Top 14 Reviews
#1 Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Yes, you want the best instant coffee. But you also want to make sure what goes into your body is good, healthy stuff. If that’s the kind of a coffee drinker you are, you’ll absolutely love this organic instant coffee by Mount Hagen. The product is Fair Trade-certified (1) and 100 percent organic.
You’re dealing with a mild flavor here, which is pretty smooth with no bitter or acidic taste. Unlike the cheap instant coffee knockoffs! So it’s pretty clear that this isn’t for those who prefer a stronger flavor from their coffee.
Even so, the Mount Hagen creation comes from organic Arabica beans. The special freeze-and-dry method has been used for processing the coffee. It’s what maintains the organic flavor without any interference from additives and preservatives.
The glass jar the coffee is packed in ensures freshness. It can prepare as many as 60 cups if your 1 cup is 6 ounces. As for the shelf life, the jar keeps moisture away. So the coffee can last between 6-12 months.
To be honest, this freeze-dried coffee tastes more like a non-instant version. It has a smooth flavor and it dissolves better. And even though it’s not strong enough, the experience is truly enjoyable.
#2 Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Coffee
Who says you have to go to Starbucks (2) to enjoy a cup of delicious Colombian coffee? Someone who hasn’t given this ready brew a try, that’s for sure. The taste of this coffee is the most appealing aspect of all.
It is instant coffee after all, so how good can it get? Is that what you’re wondering? For instant coffee, this particular option is packed with a lot of flavor.
You might be so used to the lack of flavor in the other instant coffees you’ve been drinking for years that you’ll appreciate every bit of this Starbucks coffee right away. Instant coffee does more than just quench your caffeine cravings you know. And the current pick is proof of that.
Once you mix it with hot water, the coffee dissolves quickly. And when that happens, the burst of delicious aroma your olfactory senses experience is very promising to the taste buds. There’s no sugar in this, which means you can have it black without worrying about the coffee being too sweet for your liking.
Arabica coffee beans are a part of this medium-roast, high-quality blend. But please note that this is a very strong coffee. The caffeine content is quite high. So you might have trouble falling asleep even if your last cup of coffee was at 3 in the afternoon.
#3 Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Roast Coffee
The roast spectrum that Starbucks offers is truly fantastic. They understand how each bean demands a special balance of time and temperature. Only then does it reach its unique peak of flavor, body, aroma, and acidity.
Needless to say, this dark Italian roast is fuller-bodied for sure. It’s also bolder and features the quintessential characteristics of a deep, intense roast. It’s made using only high-quality Arabica beans.
But there is one thing very tantalizing about this particular Italian roast. The combination of the sweet and roasty flavor that is also deep and rich with subtle hints of delicious caramelized sugar.
You’ll want to tear open the packet and add all of it in hot water. Exaggeration aside, all you have to do is wait for 10 seconds once the coffee is in the water. Then stir and savor!
And to my surprise, this coffee mixes well with cold water too. You just have to give it more than 10 seconds for that. But it dissolves thoroughly, no doubt. Also feel great about the fact that there’s no gluten or wheat in this.
A little bit of sweetness mixed with pretty strong and bold flavor. That’s the kind of experience you should look forward to, with no major setbacks.
#4 Nescafe Taster’s Choice French Roast Instant Coffee
This Kosher-certified (3), gluten-free Nescafe instant coffee comes in a 7-ounce canister that yields over 100 cups. Isn’t that better news than how rich-tasting the coffee is? It’s a blend of both Arabica and Robusta beans. The full-bodied character of the flavor falls in the category of dark roast. No wonder this instant coffee is highly recommended.
Not just the flavor, even the aroma and color are quite tempting if you ask me. If you’ve been anti-instant coffee for a while due to the bad taste, you’re very likely to switch sides. Nescafe here delivers a genuinely healthy and flavorful cup.
You can compare it to just about any expensive coffee blend and realize that this French roast is absolutely terrific. The company offers 6 different flavors, including this one. So you can pick based on your personal preferences.
But the chances you’ll want to go back to this for a darker and deeper taste. Because that’s how fed up you are of drinking regular, awful-tasting instant coffee.
#5 Nescafe 3 in 1 Original Instant Coffee Sticks
If you haven’t tasted sticks coffee, then let this fantastic Nescafe (4) creation be your first. Coffee sticks are a very convenient option. It involves no measuring and no mess, which is always a great thing if you live a busy life. One stick is good for a cup of 6 ounces. There are 28 sticks in total. So you’re all set for 28 days with 1 cup a day.
These sticks don’t take more than 30 seconds to transform hot water into steaming, delicious coffee. As for the taste, this is 3 in 1. So you get sugar, creamer, and coffee. There’s just the perfect amount of sweetness added to this. That means no need to bring in more sugar.
The roast flavor is nice and light, minus the sourness. Even those that prefer darker blends find this flavor particularly delicious. The level of caffeine is also quite commendable. Especially if you thrive on caffeine running through your veins to give you that much-needed boost.
My only criticism here is that don’t expect these Nescafe coffee sticks to taste like Starbucks coffee. No need to set any high expectations is what I mean to say.
#6 G7 3-in-1 Instant Premium Vietnamese Coffee
Here at SaltPGH, drinking instant coffee also means satisfying your sweet tooth. For that, there’s this premium instant coffee by G7 (5). It’s quite a popular option in the Southeast Asian region. The company uses 2 traditional processing methods. Their coffee is either sprayed or freeze-dried.
You should know that the roasting process is an exclusive one. That’s what sets this 3-in-1 version apart from the rest. And just because it appeals to the sweet side doesn’t mean there’s a whole lot of sugar in this. The total calories per serving are only 71 calories by the way. Not so bad, isn’t it?
There’s sugar, creamer, and coffee in the mix. It’s the ideal option for you if you’re a traveler or on-the-go kind of a person. Rich coffee with an amazing aroma is hard to find in the form of 3-in-1.
Also, the aftertaste is like delicious chocolate layered espresso beans. Probably because it isn’t brewed coffee! But here’s the ugly truth. You might end up adding 2 packets per cup. The strength of the coffee is a bit on the weaker side.
But overall, the medium-high caffeine level, medium cream, and medium sugar are quite enjoyable. There’s no denying that the flavor is hearty and robust. Just how instant coffee is supposed to be!
#7 Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals
Do coffee crystals sound fancy to you? Well, they are fancy, indeed. But coffee crystals like these are also quite delicious. Folgers has been a part of the coffee industry for over 150 years now. They manufacture sustainable coffee, which brings in the guilt-free experience.
What’s also worth noting is that Folgers employs the popular freeze-dried method to process instant coffee. This ensures a full-bodied flavor. The crystals dissolve pretty quickly. No need for the water to boil for this to happen. You can just use plain hot water.
The one unique characteristic here is the perfect bitterness it leaves in the mouth. This is something that only a few coffee lovers appreciate. But it’s not something you would expect from instant coffee. So let this be an indicator of just how non-instant the coffee tastes like.
The aroma alone is very tempting. Combine that with the classic roast made from beans that are mountain-grown, and you’ve prepared a cup of pure, delicious, and rich instant coffee.
But here’s what I would like to warn you about. Do you prefer a flavor with sugar and creamer? If yes, then this one’s not such a great idea for you. But it’s perfect for those who can’t get enough of black coffee.
#8 Waka Coffee Quality Colombian Instant Coffee
Here’s another brand that uses the popular freeze-dried method for processing coffee. So you can expect fresh, not-affected-by-the-heat coffee crystals. In simple words, a bold, rich flavor from this instant coffee is not an unreasonable demand.
Pure Arabica Colombian beans are used. And so are vacuum-sealed, recyclable, light pouches. But that’s not your concern, am I right? Your #1 priority is the taste and flavor of the coffee. The essence is mild, earthy, and dark chocolate-like. It’s an ideal roast that combines the full flavor of the darker side and not its sourness.
Dissolving in hot water is not an issue, so isn’t using cold water. The latter opens the door to iced coffee for the summer. That means perfect for your camping trips.
If you want my honest and personal opinion, I would highly recommend this instant coffee. I found the flavor to be particularly smooth, sweet and filled with caramel. There are some fruity tones packed in here too.
One last thing, the manufacturer donates 4 percent of every sale for supporting the clean water movement. Against this, the drawback doesn’t seem so disappointing. And that is the lack of flavor variety options.
#9 Maxwell House Hazelnut Iced Latte
This USA-born coffee house has managed to maintain its top position due to just one factor. And that is QUALITY. You don’t even have to open the packet to realize this. The packaging itself leaves a good impression.
You get 17 servings in each canister, which is re-sealable by the way. The powdered instant coffee is available in many flavors. But this hazelnut iced flavored coffee drink is a genuine delight you’re bound to get addicted to.
What makes it so appealing is the distinct taste, of course. But also the creamy, foamy layer at the top. It makes you feel like you’re enjoying a latte. This stuff dissolves in both hot and cold milk quite easily. The hazelnut flavor is exquisitely delicious. Even the strength is on the stronger side of the spectrum.
There’s a French vanilla version as well, which is also as refreshing as this hazelnut flavor. Both are perfect for your mornings, there’s no doubt about that. But, at the same time, both are slightly sweeter than you might like.
#10 Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee
Mushroom coffee, really? Does it actually live up to your expectations and the hype? Well, I don’t know about the others. But this Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee certainly does. It’s also very easy on the tummy. This gives rise to another question. Does mushroom coffee taste like actual coffee? Once again, this one definitely does.
The inclusion of mushrooms in here eliminates the bitter aftertaste and smoothens the flavor. Even if you haven’t ever tasted mushroom coffee, you’re very likely to fall in love with this one. You have every reason to because it’s a vegan product.
The special element, mushroom, is combined with the ground coffee at just the right percentage. This liquid mycelium element is the grain-free kind. It’s extracted and then infused into ground coffee to deliver the most delicious taste and aroma.
The price may seem like a deal-breaker, I won’t deny it. But if you’re more concerned about this instant coffee’s anti-inflammatory benefits due to the mushrooms, the cost appears to be worthwhile. After all, you are going to expose your taste buds to a well-balanced flavor.
#11 Trader Joe’s 100% Colombian Instant Coffee
This one should be a part of every morning routine of a coffee lover who needs caffeine but doesn’t want to bother himself/herself with the coffee machine. Also, you might be tired of choosing instant coffee that has a finicky, unpleasant palate. So it’s no surprise that a pure Colombian blend like this receives so much attention.
Even though instant, the coffee tastes fresh and amazing. You can prepare it using almond extract and some creamer. That door is wide open, unlike a few instant coffees that don’t pair up well with almond products.
But you know what; if you like it black, then you might have to get used to the slight bitterness. And I don’t think you’ll mind doing so given the fact that this is organic instant coffee. The strength is on the stronger side. This means 1 teaspoon does the trick. And that, in turn, implies that the 3.5 ounces last for a very long time.
It’s flavorful, rich, and great-tasting overall. So don’t lose faith just yet when it comes to instant coffee.
#12 Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Instant Coffee
Ever tried double roasted instant coffee? If not, you’re in for a treat with this one. It’s Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Instant Coffee. The roast is not the single-origin kind. Instead, the espresso is a result of a combination of double roasts for more flavor. So what awaits is a richer and bolder character, that too from instant coffee.
To top it off, literally speaking, the cream is thick. It’s also exceptionally smooth and well-balanced. And if you’re concerned about how it blends with other drinks, expect no letdowns. The perfect instant espresso option if you ask me!
The base is ideal for beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. Even though pricey, this instant coffee is a huge hit. The aroma is also very inviting. It smells like you’ve just baked rich, yummy chocolate. And as for its dissolving capacity, the results are quick. It’s quite a versatile caffeine-infused ingredient, I’m sure you’ll love it.
#13 Jacob’s Coffee Jacobs Kronung Instant
It’s a rich and flavorful blend free of sugar and milk. Every glass container of Jacobs Kronung Instant Coffee contains 7 ounces of ground coffee. The product I’m reviewing is a pack of 6. So the quantity is quite generous for coffee drinkers who enjoy more than a single cup on a daily basis.
Moving on to taste, this is mild flavored and smooth coffee with a low acidic effect and taste. Beating your morning or afternoon slump is an achievable mission with just a single cup of this instant solution. You don’t even have to shell out big bucks for high quality. That’s the best part about it all.
Everything about the coffee is 100 percent moderate and original. The strength lies between too weak and too strong. Even the texture is in the middle ground, so it pleases everyone.
It goes without saying that the coffee is incredibly flavorful and rich. That too without any sugar or milk, isn’t that just perfect? Most instant coffees don’t taste like this by the way.
Prepare a cold brew or warm drew, doesn’t matter. Just make sure you get a pack of 6 because many people have complained about a few jars missing.
#14 Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee
In comparison to regular coffee, this Kava instant coffee contains only 50 percent of the stomach-upsetting acid profile. It is a neutralized flavor, indeed. The coffee is made of premium beans to make sure the flavor isn’t compromised during the manufacturing process.
It’s quite obvious to assume that the current option is for those with a sensitive stomach. That means you don’t have to spend your entire day feeling horrible just because you choose to drink coffee first thing in the morning.
The bold flavor is rich and well-balanced, which isn’t something you get with cheap instant coffees. It’s the perfect blend for preparing mocha with milk and hot cocoa. Feel free to overindulge too!
The caffeine content is higher than most, which means you’ve got to be careful about when you drink your last cup of the day. This combination of more caffeine and less acidity is definitely unbeatable so far.
Best Instant Coffee: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
What You Should Know About Instant Coffee (Brief History)
Ever thought about the reason why this easily dissolvable form of coffee is so popular all around the globe? There a few coffee lovers that simply cannot stand the taste of instant coffee. But the greater part of caffeine fanatics are ready to buy more, consume more.
Instant coffee came into this world in 1881 (6). And where? In Britain. As for the first American version of instant coffee, it came about in 1853 during the Civil War. And it was in 1890 that the first patented instant coffee product was invented by David Strang in New Zealand.
It took many years for companies to figure out the most successful method for producing a stable powder of instant coffee. 1901 was the year this happened by Sartori Kato in Japan. The process used for creating instant tea proved useful for instant coffee as well.
As for the mass production, this took place in the USA around 1910 by George Washington (not the president). This man got a patent and achieved a remarkable feat. Even so, the instant coffee powder was labeled as coffee offering the most disagreeable taste. Enter Nescafe (8) in 1938, and it transformed the whole picture.
Nescafe used the method of co-drying the extract of coffee with soluble carbohydrate. This improved the taste and the reputation of instant coffee by leaps and bounds. But it’s the freeze-drying technique that ranks as the best method for processing coffee today, since the 1960s.
Instant coffee first became a huge hit on the battlefield. Soldiers consumed the beverage to receive an energy boost. So by the time the Second World War got over, instant coffee had become increasingly popular.
But today it’s famous for many, many reasons. You can use instant coffee powder as an ingredient for other caffeine-infused drinks as well. And most importantly, it’s popular because it’s something you can prepare instantly, even when on the go.
What Is Instant Coffee? How Is It Made?
Standard beans and instant coffee might look the same but they don’t function in a similar manner.
Instant coffee is processed in 2 different ways:
The first method involves being sprayed in a mist with dry, hot air. When these coffee droplets land, they take the form of flakey flecks that we sort of like.
This is a cheaper and quicker alternative to the one discussed below
The second processing method is called the freeze-drying technique. It produces a coffee powder that you can mix in hot water to enjoy a reconstituted beverage.
The thing about freeze-dried coffee, other drinks, and food is that they’re the easiest for re-animating. All you need for that is water. This is great and works best for lazy people like me, and maybe even you.
You should know that freshly ground coffee lasts for maximum 5 months. Whole coffee beans are good to consume for 9 months. As for instant coffee, as long as the powder is contained well, it can go on for many, many years. And when placed in the freezer, the flakes last indefinitely.
Different Types of Instant Coffee
- Instant Coffee Crystals/Granules come in a plastic pouch or glass jar. They contain 100% coffee.
- Instant Coffee Sachets/Sticks may be pure coffee. However, they sometimes contain creamers and sugar too. With a heftier price tag of course!
- Instant Ready to Drink Coffee in a can or bottle always has creamers and/or sweeteners. The variety of flavors is quite abundant. And they’re cheap, money-wise.
Taking all of these into account, the relatively healthier choice is the first type of instant coffee. A jar or pouch of fresh, processed, and ground coffee granules do sound like a hearty and flavorful idea.
Instant Coffee: Good or Bad for Health?
Yes, instant coffee is quick and easy to prepare. And yes, it even has a longer shelf life and is cheaper to buy. But is it really a healthy choice? Time to find out!
How Is It Good?
- It contains nutrients and antioxidants: Coffee is packed with antioxidants, you know that I guess. And the same applies to instant coffee. Much like the regular version, instant coffee offers a hoard of powerful antioxidants. And you know what; due to its special processing, instant coffee has more antioxidants that your body can and will benefit from.
- Its caffeine level is slightly lower: Is it true that instant coffee enjoys comparatively lower caffeine content than regular coffee? Yes, that’s true, at least in most cases.
Let’s talk numbers. 30-90 milligrams of caffeine is usually a part of instant coffee. As for the regular kind, it contains 70-140 milligrams of caffeine.
So if you want to cut back on your daily caffeine consumption, you can go for instant coffee.
Other Health Benefits
- Caffeine, in general, improves brain function.
- It increases your metabolism and helps with burning more fat.
- Coffee minimizes the likelihood of the formation of type 2 diabetes.
- Coffee decreases your chances of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- It also reduces the risks of liver diseases such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
- Caffeine on a daily basis promotes longer life.
- It even improves mental health by keeping you away from depression.
How Is It Bad?
It has more acrylamide (7). It’s a harmful chemical formed during the roasting process of the coffee beans. It’s widely found in foods, personal care, and household items. And what it does is damage your nervous system. Acrylamide also increases your chances of developing cancer.
However, the range that actually has the potential to cause serious damage is usually not present in coffee and your normal diet. Even so, it’s important to note that instant coffee’s acrylamide level is twice as much as that of freshly roasted coffee.
How to Make Instant Coffee Taste More Delicious?
The best instant coffee is so popular mainly because of the “convenience” factor. The taste is just a secondary quality. So how about you and I change that? It’s time to make instant coffee taste like the best coffee you’ve ever had. It’s possible, trust me. Just follow the instructions below.
1. Purchase good quality instant coffee
Go for a product that’s “freeze-dried” and avoid “spray-dried” instant coffee. The former offers an original coffee flavor. The shape is more granular while spray-drying has a more powdery consistency.
2. Skip the microwave for heating water
How about using fresh, filtered water instead? The final taste of the coffee hugely depends on the water you’ve used. Heat between 190 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Measure the powder using a mug
The standard rule is to take 1 teaspoon for every 8 ounces. But this depends on your personal preferences really. If you want a stronger cup of coffee, add more.
4. Mix some cold water
Do you know what can make your instant coffee instantly smoother? The answer is cold water. But just a little bit to turn the whole thing into a creamy paste before adding hot water.
5. Store your instant coffee inside an airtight container
If you want your precious coffee to remain fresh, an airtight container is a solution. Also, the container keeps out not only air but also moisture and water. This increases the shelf life of the product, no doubt.
Done with the Work!
Finding the best instant coffee for you might not be such an easy task. I mean everyone’s taste buds and personal preferences are not the same after all. But the good news here is that I have reviewed different types and flavors for you. This includes 3-in-1 instant coffee, mushroom coffee, Italian roast, French roast, instant espresso, and many more. So the options aren’t limited.
I hope you find your pick to quench every ounce of your daily coffee desires.