instant coffee powder on metal spoon

How To Make Instant Coffee Powder Taste Better

instant coffee powder on metal spoon

Here’s the harsh truth about coffee drinking: we’ve all had a nasty cup. You know the kind we’re talking about — bitter brews and muddy mugs full of sour, burnt, and weak flavor. It’s the kind of coffee you find at a gas station on the highway in the middle of nowhere. Or at your aunt Betty’s house when you really need that cup of java to get you through the latest family gathering. 

The convenience of a cup of instant coffee powder sometimes outweighs the desire for good flavor. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning, you can enjoy — or at least tolerate! — a cup of instant coffee powder thanks to these top tips to make instant coffee taste better.

What is Coffee Powder?

Every cup of coffee starts with a small fruit seed on the Coffea tree. This seed is the whole bean, which is then ground into coffee granules or powder for instant coffee and espresso powder. Coffee powder comes in different sizes — coarse and fine grounds — and is available in glass jars, sachets, and tins.

Coffee powder is also known as instant coffee, soluble coffee, and coffee crystals. To make coffee powder, whole beans are roasted and then ground. Manufacturers then use either a spray drying or freeze-drying extraction process to craft the instant coffee. Freeze drying is a more expensive and time-consuming method, but it also typically produces coffee powder with a better flavor. Spray drying is quicker and can be done on a much larger scale, making it a good choice for more affordable instant coffees.

Coffee powder is popular among coffee drinkers as it is quick and easy to brew. You just add the coffee powder to hot water and voila! — a delicious cup of coffee is ready in minutes. It also involves less clean-up since you don’t have to throw away coffee grinds or clean fancy machinery.

How To Make Instant Coffee Powder Taste Better

coffee bean steaming

If you’re a coffee-lover, you know that a cup of coffee made with freshly ground beans is insanely tastier than a cup brewed with instant grounds. However, for those times when convenience and quick brewing are essential, brewing coffee powder doesn’t mean you have to settle for crappy flavor. Here are a few ways to make instant coffee powder taste better.

Choose a High-Quality Ground Coffee Powder

Any good cup of coffee starts with quality ingredients. While Nescafe is a popular choice among instant coffee drinkers at the grocery store, the brand isn’t as important as the ingredients. For the best coffee flavor, look for coffee powder made with arabica beans instead of robusta. Arabica coffee beans tend to offer a softer flavor with notes of fruit and a hint of chicory. The coffee is also more acidic compared to robusta beans, which have a harsher and more bitter flavor. 

Many Colombian coffee powders are made from arabica beans and they also boast a rich body and a hint of citrus flavor due to the growing region. For the best coffee possible, make sure the coffee grounds you’re buying aren’t too old. Check the expiration date and always buy coffee in airtight and sealed containers. Organic and fair trade coffees are also a good choice as they typically use local and natural ingredients that don’t alter the taste of coffee as much as those grown with harsh pesticides.

Adjust the Amount

Many beginner coffee drinkers make the mistake of brewing coffee that’s too strong or too weak for their tastes. These novices often think that’s just the way it’s supposed to taste. To improve the taste of coffee powder, adjust the amount you use to suit your palette. That means adding more grinds if you like a really strong cup or brewing a weaker batch if you prefer more mild flavors. 

You can also look for certain blends or roasts. For strong flavor, buy a medium roast or dark roast coffee, which has stronger-tasting notes. For milder notes, look for blonde or light roast coffees. You can also adjust the caffeine content as needed by choosing a strong coffee for more caffeine or a decaf blend for a cup without the jitters.

Add Other Ingredients

When push comes to shove and your coffee powder just doesn’t taste great on its own, it’s time to add more ingredients. You can add simple spices like cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg. Need a touch of sugar? Turn your coffee into a mocha by adding a scoop of sweet cocoa powder. In addition, you can brew your coffee with liquid flavorings and coffee syrups like hazelnut, salted caramel, and pumpkin spice. 

You can also think about making a specialty drink with your instant coffee by adding milk to the equation. You can add a dash of whole milk or go for a milk alternative like coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk. If you have a hand frother, you can whip up a latte or even a cappuccino without a ton of extra effort. 

Brew It Cold

Another way to make powdered coffee taste better is to brew it cold. You can sip on an iced coffee or brew the instant coffee powder into a smoothie. You can make iced coffee beforehand so you can just pour a cup in the morning and head out the door. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can make a double-strength batch of coffee and pour it over ice. If you have a few spare minutes, you can also brew your instant coffee into a frappe by blending it or shaking it.

Make The Best Brew For You

woman holding a glass jar of instant coffee powder

When it comes to coffee consumption, freshly ground whole beans are the way to go for the best flavor. But sometimes life gets in the way and you simply don’t have time to brew a delicious cup of coffee. Whether you’re driving carpool, are late to the office, or just have a packed day of adventure ahead, a cup of instant coffee can jumpstart your day.

Drinking instant coffee doesn’t mean you have to settle for gross coffee. With these tips, you can brew a cup of regular coffee that tastes better than the stuff you find at gas stations and convenience stores. From classic brewed coffee using high-quality arabica beans to blends with coffee syrups and spices, there’s a delicious way to spruce up your cup of java.

Looking for more ways to enjoy a cup of coffee? Continue browsing our Cup & Bean blog. There, you’ll find everything from the basics of coffee drinking to fun recipes and new ways to enjoy your caffeine. Don’t miss our breakdowns of the best ground coffee and the different types of coffee drinks so you can brew the best cup for your palette.

After chasing down everything there was to know about tea on the Cup & Leaf blog, I'm now exploring the world of coffee. From different types to countries with the best brews and everything in between, I'll be your guide on this coffee discovery.


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