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Is Instant Coffee Real Coffee: Find Out the Answer!

Whether you are about to start your day or in need of a perk-me-up drink in the afternoon, you can’t go wrong with coffee! It has a robust aroma and delicious flavor, which is sure to be a treat.

However, most will not have the time and patience to make one from bean to cup. Grinding can be a hassle, especially if you are always in a hurry. With this, a lot of people may resort to instant coffee instead.

Is instant coffee real coffee? If you are wondering, read on and I’ll share the answer! I’ll even throw in some tips on how you can make your instant coffee like a pro!

Is Instant Coffee Real Coffee? 

cup of instant coffee spoon and brown sugar on wooden table

Yes, instant coffee is real coffee! It is a dehydrated form of ground beans, made in such a way that it can last longer, especially with proper handling and storage. It is pre-made coffee, so you do not have to grind the beans once you need a caffeine fix.

The biggest selling point of instant coffee is convenience. Not everyone has the time and patience to grind beans every time they want coffee. Despite being pre-made, the quality is top-notch. Although, the latter depends on the quality of the specific product that you are using.

Some people hate instant coffee, thinking that it isn’t real coffee. Such assertion, however, has no basis. Nonetheless, even if brewing is not required, it is as real as it gets. Add hot water, stir, and you can enjoy authentic coffee to awaken your senses.

How Is Instant Coffee Made? 

For a better understanding of how instant coffee is real coffee, it is crucial that you know the process by which it is made. The exact procedure can vary from one maker to another, but in general, the philosophy is the same.

cup of coffee and roasted beans

It all starts with the right beans. This is also why we can say that instant coffee is real coffee— it is from real beans. They are roasted, ground, and brewed. Throughout the process, water is removed. As a result, it will become dehydrated crystals. All you need to do is add hot water and your coffee is ready.

Spray Drying 

One of the two main ways of making instant coffee, spray drying involves spraying a liquid concentrate in the form of fine mist. It is applied to hot and dry air with a temperature of approximately 480 degrees Fahrenheit. As it hits the ground, the coffee is dried and transforms into small crystals. At this point, water has already evaporated.

Freeze Drying 

Compared to spray drying, freeze-drying is more involved. It starts by cooking coffee and turning it into an extract. It is chilled at 20 degrees Fahrenheit to become a slushie.

It is further chilled at -40 degrees Fahrenheit to turn coffee into ice. After which, it breaks into granules. The next procedure is dry vacuuming, wherein ice vaporizes and instant coffee granules are left.

How Is Instant Coffee Different From Ground Coffee Beans? 

Coffee aficionados will most often prefer whole beans over instant coffee. Nonetheless, that does not mean that you should ditch the latter. To help you understand which one is better, below is a quick comparison of instant coffee and ground coffee beans.

Preparation 

The biggest difference between the two is the manner in which they are made. The production is almost the same until a certain point. The beans are gathered, dried, and roasted. However, the roasting process and brewing method vary.

With whole beans, you will need to manually grind them yourself. Choose a grinder that works best to achieve the size that you want. After grinding, you will use a filter or choose from the types of coffee maker to brew your coffee.

You will then dispose of the grounds once you are done. In most cases, you have the option to adjust the temperature and ingredient ratio.

On the other hand, the preparation of instant coffee is more straightforward. Mix it with hot water and you are good to go. Add creamer, sugar, or other ingredients depending on your preference.

Aroma and Flavor 

If you are looking for the best aroma and flavor, then it is hard to go wrong with ground coffee beans. As soon as you smell them, you will awaken your senses. Even better, your taste buds are in for a treat as you taste it. The specific flavor profile, however, will vary depending on the beans used.

Instant coffee can also be flavorful and aromatic, but most of the time, not at the same level as ground beans. If you want the best taste and smell for instant coffee, it is best to pick one that has been through freeze-drying instead of a coffee that has been through spray drying.

Caffeine Content 

Between the two, ground coffee has a higher caffeine content, which averages 80 to 120 mg for every cup. On the other hand, one cup of instant coffee has approximately 60 to 80 mg of caffeine. During the process of making instant coffee, caffeine is extracted, which is why it has a lower content.

Brewing Method 

With instant coffee, no brewing is necessary, which makes it a great option for people who are after convenience. Add it to hot water and your drink is ready within minutes. Add ice and you have iced coffee. You can even make your own Starbucks-style iced coffee using Starbucks’ own instant coffee.

Meanwhile, brewing ground coffee beans is more complex. You have more choices, such as French press, percolator, cold brew, and espresso.

Price 

If you are on a budget, then you should choose instant coffee. It is easily accessible and affordable. Meanwhile, ground coffee beans are more expensive, but you have higher-quality choices.

You can pick beans from different regions depending on the flavor profile that you like. 

Tips for Making Instant Coffee Taste Good 

Instant coffee is controversial because many of them have inferior quality. Aside from choosing the right product, below are some tips that will help you prepare instant coffee like a pro and make it taste its best.

  • Pay attention to the quality of instant coffee. Buy from trusted brands. If you want a truer coffee aroma and flavor, go for freeze-dried.
  • Use filtered, hot water. It is best to heat the water anywhere from 190 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Before putting coffee in hot water, add it to cold water first. It makes the coffee smoother.
  • Keep your instant coffee in an air-tight container. This will help preserve the full flavor and aroma, keeping it fresh.
  • Add other ingredients to adjust the taste to suit your preferences. You can use creamer, milk, and sugar, among others.

You might also want to find out how instant coffee is different from espresso powder.

Conclusion 

Instant coffee is real coffee! It is made from authentic coffee beans and has been processed either through freeze-drying or spray-drying. As a result, it creates granules that you can mix with hot water to prepare a quick caffeine fix.

Avatar for Krista Haws

Known among her friends as 'the caffeine fiend', Krista loves all things coffee. From an extremely short, strong espresso to a 3 day cold brew, Krista loves them all.

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