The process for making instant coffee is different to home brewing coffee. Instant coffee requires a drying process, then dehydrate the water, and transform it to powder form all done in volume by coffee production companies. Instant coffee requires only the hot water mix, then ready for consumption. Home brewing is processed at home by the coffee lover starting with the coffee bean grind, and processed by a coffee maker.
Instant coffee, sold under multiple names, soluble coffee, coffee crystals, and coffee powder, which is a drink from coffee beans that allows coffee drinkers to instantly prepare a cup of coffee by adding hot water or milk to the powder and stirring. Manufacturers sell Instant coffee packaged by freeze-drying after which it can be re hydrated after adding milk, or hot water.
There are several advantages for using instant coffee, which includes preparation speed due the powder dissolving quickly in hot water, lower shipping weight and volume than beans or ground coffee and longer lasting product, or shelf life, if it’s kept dry. Instant coffee has a lower environmental impact than ground coffee methods.
You can also find Espresso or other flavor instant coffee, available in concentrated instant form. The method to make instant Espresso starts with the Espresso coffee finely ground, and then brewed as espresso, followed by the extraction of water from the brewed coffee grounds which dehydrates into powder, or crystal form.
What’s the method of making Instant coffee?
I will explain the two methods used to make Instant Coffee, and you will see that all the work is performed by the manufacturers, and the only process for the consumer is to add the hot liquid.
1.) Liquid coffee is pushed under high pressure into a fine mist through very hot, very dry air. At this point of the process, the coffee liquid droplets are allowed over time to dry into crystals form.
2.) Freeze drying process, is a chemical sublimation to generate the coffee into crystal form. This process allows the ice particles to vaporize directly into crystals without going through the liquid stage. This process provides for a more stable shelf life for the coffee powder which can be hydrated into a great cup of Joe by adding water, or milk.
The two processes of making instant coffee has some effects on the flavor and caffeine content in the reconstituted instant coffee. We know that instant coffee does not parallel the fresh taste as grounded coffee brew. In many instances, the instant coffee powder must be supplemented with additional flavors and aroma additives to better simulate fresh ground coffee.
I do believe, that everyone should have some instant coffee in their home, since it has longer shelf life, because you never know when you need it. Recently, my gourmet coffee/espresso machine malfunctioned, and had to send it for repair for ten days. Well, I used some instant coffee to feed my morning habit that started my day, until my coffee machine was fixed. It was always there when I need my morning nectar.
Instant coffee contains antioxidants and nutrients
Many studies and discussions illustrates that coffee beans contain antioxidants, called quinine, which become more prevalent after roasting. Because we drink so much coffee in this country, coffee is becoming the leading source of antioxidants according to some researchers. In another research, due to it’s processing methods, instant coffee may contain higher amounts of certain antioxidants than regular grind and brewing coffee.
Antioxidants are defined as substances that may protect your cells against free radicals through a process called oxidation, which may play a role in certain diseases. It’s been known for sometimes that antioxidants are our most effective weapon against the cell damaging free radicals that can produce oxidation in our cells, and possible inflammation.
Instant coffee contains slightly less caffeine
Instant coffee generally contains slightly less caffeine than regular coffee for those who prefers less caffeine. One cup of instant coffee containing one teaspoon of powder may contain 40–85 mg of caffeine, while one cup of regular coffee contains 75–130 mg. Everyone’s tolerance to caffeine varies by individual, or if you are a heavy coffee drinker, instant coffee may be a better choice for those who would like to cut back on caffeine intake. For some individuals who would like the least amount of caffeine, but still loves to drink coffee, instant decaf coffee is the solution. It’s a known fact that a high amount of caffeine may cause anxiety, disrupted sleep, restlessness, upset stomach, tremors, or a fast heartbeat. I understand this principle, because if I drink coffee past 5pm, it affects my sleeping pattern. This is also based on each individual.
Worldwide Instant Coffee Market
-Instant coffee manufacturers are becoming very competitive, and are coming out with new coffee flavors in the market, such as, white mocha, green bean, Italian roast, tiramisu flavor, chocolate chip cookie, and chocolate caramel, and French vanilla, in order to build on their current base. Because people love these new flavors, and are willing to pay more, these value-added products bring a higher profit margin than your basic coffee, which in turn, contributes to the global market growth.
-Single-serve instant coffee packets are becoming lower cost, for consumers who would like to try different kinds before they buy their favorite in bulk. Single packs of instant coffee are also in strong demand at cafés, hotels and restaurants because of its simplicity, and diverse flavors.
-Recently data shows that consumption of premium instant coffee is expanding at a rapid pace in emerging markets like the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South East Asia due to increasing disposable incomes for lower and middle class.
Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee
Time – Instant coffee is just that: simple to make. Measure the amount of powder or crystals, add hot water or milk (in Europe is more prevalent to add Milk), and you have your cup of Joe. It really is a very quick and convenient process.
We can see that instant coffee preparation is the obvious winner. With ground coffee, the preparation process is much more involved based on multiple steps, and it will take more time to get that great cup of coffee brewed. There is no right or wrong. The particular way a coffee lover prepares their coffee, is very subjective, and is based on preference.
Cost – In addition, brewed coffee from ground beans, requires the use of a grinder, and a coffee machine. We need to factor in the time it takes to clean and prepare the equipment. There is also a cost component associated with the lower end grinders/coffee machines to the very sophisticated all in one machines that does it all, but at a high cost.
Quality and Flavor Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee
Even though, there are many brands of instant coffee on the market, the brew from the ground coffee beans produce a flavor and quality that is superior. The reasons are: The coffee beans used for ground coffee is called Arabica.
Manufacturers of instant coffee produce in large scale and use lower quality beans, which brings the cost of instant coffee at a lower cost. Most of the instant coffee brands use Robusta coffee beans, which is a lower quality bean. Coffee quality peaks while it’s growing, and from the moment it’s picked, all processing methods are geared toward preserving the flavor and aroma.
As an organic product, the coffee bean loses this rich flavor over time in a process called oxidation. Currently, many warehouses shelf the Robusta coffee beans up to a year, which diminishes much of coffee flavor and aroma, therefore these beans will sell for cheaper rates. Since instant coffee brands seek to cut costs, they are the biggest buyers of this type of coffee beans.
This is not to imply that instant coffee it’s always lower quality, because there are a few quality brands that use high end product, but you have to research for the higher end brands.
So, What is the Takeaway
Instant coffee is quick, easy, and doesn’t require a coffee maker. It also has a longer shelf life and is cheaper than regular coffee beans, or ground coffee.
Instant coffee uses the lower quality Robusta beans, but for a lower cost and savings to the consumer
For people on the go, and time constraints, instant coffee will always fit the bill.
Instant coffee has less caffeine and more acrylamide (a chemical byproduct from roasting beans, for which there is much controversial research) than regular coffee, but it contains most of the same antioxidants.
Overall, instant coffee is a healthy, low-calorie beverage that is closely linked to health benefits as other types of coffee.
In many third world countries and developing nations, instant coffee is appealing because of its ability to please the enjoyment of new coffee drinkers and their evolving tastes.
With instant coffee all you need is water. It’s the perfect coffee for that family camping trip
Instant coffee saves kitchen space, specifically if you have a small kitchen.
It’s easier to make iced coffee with instant coffee
I believe the future of instant coffee is bright, and growing because as more and more people are constantly on the go, they’ll need a good fast coffee drink to satisfy that morning craving for that cup of Joe.