Instant coffee is not meant for use with a coffee machine.
Neither is it a great “hack”, because it’s one of those things you can do even though you’re not supposed to. It’s a disaster waiting to happen on many levels.
First, it’s not going to taste better, it will probably taste worse. The coffee will likely come out watery, bitter, or even muddy. So it’s better to just heat your water and use the instant as directed.
Next, you could end up making a mess. The water may not flow properly, the machine could get clogged and you’ll have an overflow of brown chunky water. Who wants to clean that up at 7 in the morning?
Finally, you could literally muck up the coffee machine. It’s not worth having to pull the whole thing apart and scrub it. Worst case, you’ll have to invest in a whole new machine.
If, for some reason, you have no other means of making hot water, run the water through the coffee machine by itself. Then pour it over the instant crystals.
How Is Instant Coffee Made?
First, let’s dispel any misconceptions. Instant coffee is real coffee that comes from brewed coffee beans. It’s not some lab-created, imitation, “Franken” coffee. Instant coffee is made from roasted beans that are ground down into a powder-like substance.
Then, all of the moisture is taken out by brewing the powdery grains. After being dehydrated, the dried coffee is further dried by freezing it or spraying it with an extremely hot coffee concentrate.
Whatever is left is again processed to remove any possible moisture that could remain. It’s then packaged and vacuum sealed.
Why Doesn’t Instant Coffee Taste The Same As Brewed Coffee?
Now, we’re not saying that instant coffee is bad. In fact, many people prefer it over brewed coffee. But there’s no denying there is a difference in taste.
People assume that it’s simply the fact that it’s instant that it is somehow “fake” coffee. It’s not that simple.
The main reason that instant and brewed have a different taste is because different beans are used. When making instant coffee, Robusta beans are used. These beans cost less and have a sharp, intense flavor.
While brewing beans are made from the more expensive Arabica beans. Arabica have a more layered, mild flavor. But it also has to do with the freeze-drying process.
Much of the gentler aromatics that are contained in the Robusta bean are stripped away when they are frozen or sprayed with the torch.
Why Do People Choose To Drink Instant Coffee?
People only drink instant coffee when they’re desperate, right? When they’re stuck in the house and have scrapped the bottom of the brewed coffee bin, right?
Actually, many people enjoy the taste of instant coffee. They voluntarily consume the quick brew for its flavor.
Instant coffee has many other redeeming qualities as well. Some reasons people choose it over “regular” coffee include:
- it literally takes 2 minutes to make
- it’s portable ( take it anywhere there is hot water and boom – coffee)
- it has less caffeine than brewed coffee
- save money on a coffee maker and filters
- it lasts pretty much forever
- saves counter space
- no clean up
- no coffee waste (coffee filters)
- it can save your camping trip
How Do You Make Instant Coffee Taste Better?
Want to make your instant coffee not only tolerable, but downright delicious? Try these nifty tips.
1. Use filtered water
The type of water you use will absolutely make a difference. Try to use filtered or spring water. Tap should be a last resort.
2. Don’t microwave it
The temperature can cause more bitterness.
3. Don’t add boiling water
The temperature should be between 190 degrees and 205 degrees.
4. Add a shot of cold water
It will give the coffee a smoother flavor.
5. Store the coffee in an airtight container
This will help it retain its fresh flavor.
6. Add some milk in with the granules
Place the granules in your mug and add an ounce or so of milk. Let it sit as you boil the water. The milk helps make the coffee less bitter and more creamy.
7. Add some fun
Of course, cream and sugar will help improve the taste, but whipped cream, chocolate syrup, cinnamon, cocoa powder are all more fun and just as rich in flavor.
What Are Some Other Ways You Can Use Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is great to have around, even if you don’t drink it. It’s really one of the “multi-tools” of the food world. Some uses include:
- making chocolate ice pops
- add to chocolate desserts for extra flavor
- add it to homemade trail mix and granola
- milkshakes and smoothies
- ice cream and mousse
- meat rubs
- get rid of odors
- insect repellent
- skin exfoliator
- add a few spoonfuls to sauce or chili