best instant coffees 2018 reviewed

10 Best Instant Coffee Reviews 2018

Including: The History And Future Of Instant Coffee, How It's made and more

If you asked me whether I recommend you to try instant coffee or not, I would ask you first what kind of coffee drinker you are.

For example, do you like black coffee or drink it with sugar or cream? Do you consider yourself a coffee snob? 

Thinking of instant coffee, I say, either you love it or you hate it.

Well, to not be too black and white, let's include a third group, which I belong to as well. This group does not really prefer instant coffee as there first choice, but accepts it sometimes because of its convenience and speed.

Maybe you are one of those coffee drinkers, that only need the caffeine boost, and fast. And that’s OK. By all means.

Not everybody is a coffee snob and cares about fruity aromas or a floral aftertaste. All you care for is a quick and decent cup of coffee and again, quick!

But when you ask a coffee connoisseur what he thinks of soluble instant coffee granules, he might kick you off his property.

Why do I tell you all this and not start talking about the actual topic?

Well, if you consider yourself a coffee connoisseur, you probably won’t like this post. Because I will tell you more than once hat instant coffee can be tasty!

So what can you expect from this post?

  • Statistics and future predictions about Instant coffee
  • A new "sudden" instant coffee product
  • The Top 10 Of instant coffees
  • How is instant coffee made
  • A History Lesson Of Instant Coffee
  • And more...

How To Read This Post?

If you are a frequent coffee drinker and only want to compare instant coffees:
Keep scrolling down to the Top 3 instant coffees.
If you need more suggestions, check out all 10 instant coffee recommendations. 

If you don't know anything about instant coffee:
Skip the list of instant coffees at first and watch the video further below. I picked the video that explains very simple, without a lot of tech terms, how instant coffee is made.

After the video, come back to the top and check out the different instant coffees and their pros and cons. Skip the blue boxes if you don't enjoy reading about geeky science stuff.

If you want to know everything about instant coffee, the history, science:
Well, read whatever you want and DON'T skip the blue boxes!

Who Drinks Instant Coffee?

Instant Coffee Statistics And Future Predictions

Did you grow up with instant coffee? And if yes, do you like the taste of it? 

I guess the crucial factor of your answer could be where you have lived most of your life.

Why is that?

The best way to answer this question is to picture a world map and fold it in the middle.

Ground Coffee Vs Instant Coffee

If you have lived on the left side, like, Canada, USA, South America, and Western Europe, the chance you grew up with instant coffee is rather low.

According to Euromonitor, countries like Georgia or Belarus consume the most cups of instant coffee per head. If you listened to your Geographic teacher in school, you know that all these countries are in the east.

But there are signs that instant coffee gains popularity also in the western states. Euromonitor predicts, that the instant coffee market is about to grow over $8 billions by 2020 to a value of $36 billion.

Although most of the growth is predicted to happen in the east, there's also movement in the west. Sudden Coffee, for example, has started a company in the USA in 2015 to offer a premium instant coffee beverage. 

In this post we will have a closer look at Sudden Coffee, but also compare it with other instant coffee brands.

These are the best instant coffees of 2018!

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Best Instant Coffees 2018 - Comparison

#1 Sudden Coffee Premium Instant Coffee Granules

PROS

  • Small batch freeze-dried
  • Made with high-quality single-origin beans
  • Subscripti​on coffee plans available
  • Coffee
    No added sugars

CONS

  • Expensive
  • No dark roast

I tell you right away, this list about the best instant coffees is not a list from worst to best.

In fact, I'll do it the opposite way.

I suggest the clear winner of the Top 10 Instant Coffees is, well, my #1 in the list - Sudden Coffee.

But not without a reason. 

If you allow me, I like to call Sudden Coffee the first "third wave instant coffee". 

So what's third wave then?

In short, it's the latest trend in the coffee industry. Folgers, Maxwell, and even Starbucks is first and second wave.

One tube of Sudden Coffee is enough for 8-10 oz. of coffee

The third coffee wave is about specialty coffee. It's about more than Starbucks' dark roasted brew.
It's about manual brewing methods and the exact water temperature. About coffee growing regions and farms, and more.

Sudden Coffee buys their coffee beans from all over the world. But only the good beans, not the cheap robusta beans, that others use.

Then they let them roast from third wave high-quality roasters. Some well-known roasters are Intelligentsia or Equator, for example.

And to preserve the flavor and aroma after brewing, Sudden Coffee freeze-dries them in small batches.

Sounds good? Definitely.

But even more important is, does the coffee also taste good?

sudden coffee pouring instant coffee in glass of water

Pouring a tube of Sudden Coffee Instant Coffee Granules

I have to admit, I was never a fan of instant coffee. 

But after one or two cups and getting used to the convenience of only heating up some water, I liked it!

Sudden Coffee is not cheap, but this coffee is made from experts. Quality has its price.

And if you decide later, that Sudden Coffee is your way to start the day, choose a subscription plan and save some dollars. 

A 24 cup per month plan, for example, is only $1.75 per cup. 

So in a nutshell, today, Sudden Coffee is, in my opinion, the best instant coffee you can get. 

How Sudden Coffee Works

#2 Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

PROS

  • Freeze-dried
  • Organic and fair trade
  • No added sugars

CONS

  • Higher price than non-organic, but not better taste

If you don't like the strong and robust taste of most instant coffees, you should try Mount Hagen.

Their instant coffee is balanced and mild.

It is certified by the EcoCert certification organization to be 100% organically grown. On top, Mount Hagen coffee is fair trade, which means, the coffee farmers get a fair price for their coffee growing efforts.

Be warned that it's not the cheapest of all instant coffees. So you should decide for yourself if organic (no pesticides!), fair trade and the mild flavor are worth the price for you.

#3 Nescafe Taster's Choice 4 Flavors Instant Coffee 

PROS

  • Freeze-dried
  • Flavor options available

CONS

  • Artificial flavors
  • Coffee
    Added sug​​​​​ars

Back then when I still drank more instant coffee, I always preferred Nescafe.

Taster's Choice is available in four different flavors. These are not all flavors, only two to be more specific: hazelnut and vanilla.

The other two options are either House Blend or French Roast. The House blend is more on the lighter side while the French is a darker roast.

You should know that the flavored coffee pouches have 2 g of added sugars and it's not real hazelnut or vanilla that you taste. The flavors are artificial.

#4 Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals

PROS

  • Cheap
  • Coffee
    Decent Flavor

CONS

  • Likely Spray-Dried

The classic.

It's cheap, people like it, what else to say?

Well. maybe a little bit about the roast and taste.

Folgers plays it safe and uses a medium roast for this instant coffee. This means you get a well-balanced coffee, not too strong and rich but also not too mild.

Somehow Folgers must save money themselves to offer this low price. One of them is the blend of cheaper robusta and the better arabica beans. 

I would say, get the Folgers, when you need a cup or two between your regular brewed coffee or when you go camping.

#5 Cafe Bustelo Espresso Like Instant Cuban Coffee

PROS

  • Available in Single Serve Sticks and Jars
  • Rich flavor for espresso-like drinks

CONS

  • Maybe too strong and bitter for some

If you like espressos and cappuccinos and are looking for a quick caffeine shot between, you should give Cafe Bustelo a try.

Their instant coffee is dark and bold, has a full body, but is still smooth and aromatic. It's made for people like you, who want to add steamed or frothed milk. 

Agreed, it's not a real espresso, of course not. But compared to the lighter roast instant coffees, the dark roasted Cafe Bustelo instant coffee comes closest.

#6 Maxim Mocha Gold Korean Instant Coffee

PROS

  • Convenient: coffee, sugar, and creamer in one pack
  • Cheap

CONS

  • Added Sugars
  • Coffee
    No control over coffee to sugar to creamer ratio

When it comes to Maxim Gold Instant coffee mix, I would not be surprised, if opinions tend to differ sharply.

Why? 

Because these single sticks are not only filled with coffee granules but also sugar and creamer.

On the one hand, yes, they're extremely convenient for camping, at work, or anywhere else on-the-go.

But only if you like sugar and creamer in your coffee. Some suggest squeezing the stick at the end to block the sugar from coming out if you don't like it sweet. 

Makes sense. But still, if I don't like sugar in coffee, which I don't, I would simply pick a different instant coffee.

But the people that buy this coffee, seem to like it. 

The red package is the original Maxim instant coffee. The yellow is Mocha so it has some extra Mocha in the stick. But both red and yellow are filled with coffee, sugar, and creamer. 

#7 Four Sigmatic Mushroom Organic Instant Coffee Mix 3 Flavors

PROS

  • Organic Coffee
  • Added Mushrooms supposed to support the immune system

CONS

  • Spray-dried
  • Coffee
    Expensive

It's scientifically proven that coffee is healthy. Drink 3-4 cups a day and reduce the risk of many illnesses, including heart and blood vessel diseases, liver diseases, strokes and many more.c

Mushrooms also have health benefits. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.

Four Sigmatic thought why not create a super-coffee by making it even healthier. Let's mix the mushrooms in the coffee.

But wait a minute if you don't like mushrooms. You don't taste it!

Four Sigmatic powders the mushrooms before they get mixed into the coffee. The coffee beans are by the way 100% certified organic coffee!

Make sure to check out all the flavors. 

There is a medium roast, more fruity, mixed with lion's mane & Chaga mushrooms. The darker roast, rich and smooth in flavor, includes cordyceps & Chaga mushrooms.

These are only two of the available 6 flavors. Check them out!

#8 Jacob's Kroenung Instant Coffee

PROS

  • Freeze-dried
  • Reasonable price

CONS

  • Coffee
    Some may find the coffee bitter

The German Coffee Brand Jacobs knows how to produce a good cup of coffee. They're in the business for a long time.

There's nothing special about this product. The freeze-dried coffee is flavorful, has a decent taste and the aroma is almost like a regular brewed cup of coffee.

And compared to worse tasting instant coffees, the price is also reasonable.

#9 Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Instant Coffee

PROS

  • Dry-roast instant coffee
  • Coffee
    Neither too bitter nor too weak

CONS

  • Coffee
    Expensive

Of course, where is coffee, there is Starbucks. 

Depending on what roast you pick you can expect different flavors. The French Roast, the darkest, gives you a bold, smoky flavor, better for drinks with milk. 

The Pike Place is instant coffee made of medium roasted beans so you may even like it without added creamer.

Although the coffee tastes OK, it's pricey. Guess you have to pay for the brand name on top. 

#10 G7 3-in-1 Vietnamese Instant Coffee

PROS

  • Convenient: coffee, sugar and, creamer in one pack
  • First Dry-Roast Processed Instant Coffee

CONS

  • Added Sugars
  • Coffee
    No control over coffee to sugar to creamer ratio

At last, there is G7. The Vietnamese coffee producer prepares their instant coffee a little different.

By now you know, that in most cases, coffee is brewed before it becomes instant coffee. (If you don't know this by now, make sure you read the blue box below "How instant coffee is made").

G7 coffee is neither pre-brewed nor freeze-dried. So you only brew it one time, at home. It's supposed to taste fresher and more flavorful.

G7 coffee is available in different sizes and packages. There's also a coffee, sugar and creamer mix available.

So make sure to read the description before you order, in case you don't like sugary coffee.

DEEPER LOOK

What Is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is a dried, soluble coffee extract in granulated or powdered form, which only needs hot (or cold) water to create a ready to drink coffee beverage.

What is Freeze-Dried Coffee?

What is Spray-Dried Coffee

Can you see the difference between freeze-dried and spray-dried instant coffee?

Why does instant coffee taste bad?

Not all instant coffees break the rules And Taste Bad!

Video - How Instant Coffee Is Made

Other Uses Of Instant Coffee

There is a chance, that you wanted to try instant coffee and you didn't like it at all. Now you have this big char of coffee granules in your pantry.

But it was not cheap, so you can't overcome to throw it away.

So how can you use instant coffee other than drinking it?

Instant Coffee For Travelling Or Camping

Hotel

I know, we assumed you don't like instant coffee. But not all hotels have coffee machines in the room.

And maybe you're on a tight budget and can't afford to buy your daily caffeine shot in the shops. Then brewing a cup of instant coffee in the hotel room is eventually better than no caffeine at all.

Camping

woman lying in tent with cup of instant coffee

Imagine this scene without the coffee...

Imagine you are waking up in the morning in nature, heating up water at the campfire.

Well, maybe a cup of instant coffee in nature tastes much better than at home. Try it!

Baking And Cooking

There are a lot of recipes that include coffee as an ingredient. Instead of brewing a pot of coffee you can use instant coffee!

Here are a few examples to use instant coffee, found at Bon Appétit:

  • Steak Marinade
  • Milkshakes Or Smoothies
  • Oatmeals Or Cereals
  • Ice Cream Topping
  • And more...

Instant coffee ice cubes

iced coffee drink with coffee ice cubes

No more boring watery tasting iced coffee with coffee ice cubes

When it's hot in summer, a refreshing iced coffee or cold brew coffee is the best we coffee addicts can get in our hands.

Unfortunately, adding ice cubes often dilutes the coffee and after a while, all you have left is a watery flavorless brew.

The solution: coffee ice cubes.

Mix cold water with instant coffee and pour it in ice cube trays.  

Scented Candles

Well, to be precise, it's not a candle, but a candle warmer. I found this idea at The Krazy Coupon Lady.

A pretty cool idea, especially if you like the smell of coffee in your house.

Pour a spoonful of instant coffee into the melted wax and soon you will think you have set foot in a coffee shop.

DEEPER LOOK

The History Of Instant Coffee

  • 1771 Instant coffee compound in Britain
  • 1853 Experimental Instant coffee cakes in Civil War
  • 1890 New Zealand David Strang invented instant soluble coffee
  • 1901 Japanese-american Satori Kato invented first stable soluble coffee powder
  • 1909 Instant coffee is produced for the masses by George C. Washington (scientist, not the president). He calls it Red E. Coffee.
  • 1914 During world war instant coffee became very popular and soldiers call it "a cup of George".
  • 1937 Nestle scientist Max Morgenthaler invented a process to co-dry coffee extract with soluble carbohydrates and named the product Nescafe.

Conclusion

Whether you like instant coffee or not, it's not going away anytime soon. If you haven't tried it, do it now. But try the good stuff, like Sudden Coffee.  

And then let me know in the comments section below, how much you like it.

About the Author Thomas

Coffee lover and Dad on a budget. Since the wishes of my beautiful wife and two charming kids are of course of much higher priority than my own ones, I always keep an eye out for coffee products which give me the biggest bang for the buck!

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