You’ve seen the cans of instant coffee at your local store and wondered, “is that really coffee?” The quick answer: yes instant coffee is real coffee, made from roasted coffee beans. If you want to know how it’s made, keep reading.
How It’s Made
As stated in the first paragraph, instant coffee is made with roasted coffee beans. Roasted coffee beans are then dissolved in hot water. This process extracts flavor and aroma from the beans. The dissolved coffee water is then dried. The two common methods to make instant coffee are: Spray Dried Powder and Freeze Dried.
Spray Dried Powder
The first way instant coffee is the dried powder way. This method takes already brewed coffee and sprays it as a fine mist into very hot/dry air. When the coffee mist lands, it’s turned into dried powder.
The second way that instant coffee is made is through freeze drying. The liquid in the brewed coffee is forced from it using a process called sublimation. This process turns the liquid in the coffee to a gas and what you’re left with is freeze dried coffee.
Both types of instant coffee take away flavor and caffeine levels in the end product. A typical cup of coffee has about 90mg of caffeine. Instant coffee has somewhere between 30-80mg of caffeine.
The flavor of instant coffee is going to taste similar to coffee. Sometimes the producers add flavor and aroma compounds to simulate fresh coffee taste.
Ease and Speed
Instant coffee is easier to make. There’s no hassle of grinding up beans or using filters. All you have to do is stir it in some hot water.
Making a cup of instant coffee is many times faster than using a coffee maker. If you’re someone who needs coffee fast, then instant would be good for you. If you care more about the flavor of the coffee, regular ground coffee is the better choice.
Does Instant Coffee Expire?
Different sources claim that instant coffee never goes bad. If your coffee has been stored properly and never opened then it shouldn’t expire. But if you’ve opened your container I would advise you to stick to the best used date. Air coming in contact with your coffee affects the flavor of it.
Instant coffee is very quick to make and has none of the hassle of using a coffee maker. Although, it does lack some of that fresh coffee smell and fresh coffee taste. In saying that, it generally has a long shelf life if properly stored. If your instant coffee is used regularly, stick to the best used by date.