50% of the world drinks instant coffee, but do we really know what goes in it?
Instant coffee is surprisingly, actually real coffee. Whole beans are roasted, ground and brewed into an extract, so that part’s the same.
What happens after to make it instant is the difference between instant and ground coffee.
So what’s involved in this process?
To put it in simple terms, dehydration. What makes coffee instant is when all the water is removed from the brewed product, leaving behind dehydrated crystals of coffee. To make it coffee again, you just add water.
Reasons why you should switch to Ground Coffee
1) Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine
One cup of instant coffee, containing one teaspoon of powder, may contain 30–90 mg of caffeine, while one cup of regular (filter) coffee contains 70–140 mg.
Due to the dehydration process, instant coffee simply doesn’t retain the same amount of caffeine as ground coffee does.Getting less caffeine that you expected? That’s just sacrilege if you ask us.
2) It just tastes better
While instant coffee will generally have a similar flavour to ground coffee no matter which variety you opt for, instant coffees will taste more bitter than the average ground coffee.Additionally, because you cannot take instant coffee through different brewing processes, —with all its yummy flavour-determined steps— an instant cup of coffee will never be able to offer the variety of flavours brewing ground coffee can. In comparison, coffee grounds have a much higher capacity for acidity, ability to attain a wider range of bodies, leading to more flavours to be extracted.
Instant Coffee is almost invariably made from Robusta beans, a cheaper coffee bean that has a high caffeine content. While Robusta has double the caffeine compared to Arabica beans (which is all that we roast), the latter has double the amount of sugars and fat than Robusta. Instant coffee is often of poorer quality because it uses Robusta beans. They’re much cheaper, but also much more bitter.This translates into instant coffee turning out an earthy, bitter coffee which is the kind of coffee many people don’t like drinking black. It is often mixed with sugar and milk to allow for better drinking.
4) Inclusions in your coffee
There are two ways to make instant coffee: Spray drying and Freeze drying.Instant coffee is made from coffee beans, usually of a low-quality Robusta variety, that are roasted to taste and then finely ground into an almost powder-like form. Next, they’re stripped of their water content through brewing, leaving behind an extract.Freeze drying coffee involves a few steps. First, the coffee is cooked down into an extract chilled at about -6 degrees C into frozen coffee.The coffee slushie is then further chilled until slabs of coffee ice are formed. The coffee slab is then broken into granules, sent to a drying vacuum, where the ice vaporizes and leaves behind instant coffee granules. Spray drying is achieved by spraying liquid coffee concentrate as a fine mist into a very hot climate (we’re talking about 248 degrees C). When the coffee hits the ground, the water has been evaporated, leaving behind the small instant coffee granules we’re so familiar with.During this process, components of coffee are lost, such as those that form caffeine and aroma compounds. To battle this, manufacturers will often add additional compounds to compensate this, leading to external chemicals being added to that instant of coffee you drink every morning.
Instant coffee and ground coffee are both coffee, of all varieties and roasts. However, instant coffee is a cup of coffee that’s already been brewed that has undergone a process of preservation.
Ground coffee is not processed beyond the usual steps of washing and roasting before being packaged and shipped to you or a café.
Instant coffee is almost always made with lower quality Robusta beans which is why instant coffee is so bitter. Subjecting the already brewed coffee to additional drying and cooling to create instant coffee will severely impact the final taste, stripping away flavour and leaving behind bitterness and disappointment.