The Best Instant Coffee
Unless you drink enough coffee to keep you awake for a year, to have the time to sample all of the different brands and flavors of instant coffee, you'll never get around to finding the best ones. Because there are so many options and competition, we have created a guide discussing some of the most popular types of instant brews. The brands on our list are all popular, and well-known for creating instant coffee flavors that taste as great as brewed coffee. We’ll review the top ten products below for you so that you have a narrowed down list to try, and after we’ve discussed that, we’ll cover some important criteria points for you.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 16 hrs of research
- Mount Hagen Organic
- Maxwell House International Coffee French Vanilla Cafe
- Folgers Classic Roast Coffee
- Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend
- Four Sigmatic Instant Mushroom Coffee
- Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia
- Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf
- Nescafe, Taster’s Choice
- Nescafe Clasico
- Douwe Egberts Pure Gold
Top Ten Instant Coffees
1. Mount Hagen Organic
Not strong enough for some people
Mount Hagen’s Organic Instant Regular Coffee is one of those instants that taste better than freshly brewed coffee, and that is because the manufacturer did a great job making sure the right ingredients were used. You’ll notice this coffee is smooth and the flavor is not overwhelming, but instead, it is just right. Plus, this coffee blend is also very affordable, and that makes it a nice option for those of you that want something great tasting but also cost-effective.Read more
Mount Hagen’s Organic Instant Regular Coffee did a great job making this coffee, since it is the first certified organic instant coffee ever created, and this coffee is also very easy to make. The major ingredient that makes up this coffee blend is 100% Highland Arabica Coffee Beans. That means the blend is certified organic by EcoCert, so the blend also meets the organic standard of quality set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Taste and Quality
If you don’t like the typical overly bitter or acidic taste of many other instant coffees, then do not overlook this one because it is not like the rest. With flavor, this coffee tastes very mild and has a smoothness when you swallow it, so you won’t have that reaction you have had with other instant brands that are too bitter. Its certified organic flavor makes it one of the best-tasting coffees out there.
Ease of Use
Mount Hagan’s coffee is very simple to make, and all you need to do is add water and microwave. Since the coffee grounds are freeze-dried, you won’t have any problems getting your morning brew quickly. Also, it is nice to know that this coffee is all organic, so you are getting a nice overall flavor with the coffee as well.
What makes this product a great all around choice in instant products is its great flavor, excellent ingredients, and low price. For a coffee that has a nice flavor and is simple to create, you also get the nice addition of affordability.
2. Maxwell House International Coffee French Vanilla Cafe
Nice, sweeter French vanilla taste
Easy to make
Flavor might be too sweet for some people
If you prefer coffee with a great history and a reputable brand name, then you probably like Maxwell House’s coffee selection. Most of us coffee lovers have tried this brand at some point or the other and haven’t been disappointed. This brand has been around for over 100 years, and their coffee blends are known for being rich and full of flavor. Maxwell House’s International Coffee French Vanilla Café fits that motif and brings you a great instant product that you will enjoy.Read more
The ingredients in Maxwell House’s French Vanilla Café bring it a very smooth and rich flavor. These ingredients include sugar, non-dairy cleaner, and dried arabica beans with caffeine. In the caffeine, there is some milk so you also get a creamy flavor with your coffee.
Taste and Quality
Maxwell House has a reputation for making coffee that provides a smooth, full flavor, and their French Vanilla Café coffee fits this description. You’ll get a sweet, creamy French vanilla taste and a smooth coffee flavor from the dried Arabica beans. Also, the taste is consistent throughout each cup you drink, which is a nice benefit.
Ease of Use
Maxwell House’s French Vanilla Coffee is very easy to make, and the consistent flavor you’ll get after you make it is also a nice bonus. To make this coffee, use four teaspoons of the coffee mix and put it in a coffee mug. Then, stir in some boiling water until your cup is full and you have about eight ounces of it, mix, and enjoy.
Maxwell House has always been known for being a great tasting coffee brand that is very affordable. Maxwell House’s French Vanilla Coffee is easy to find and works well if you are looking for a good instant product on a budget.
3. Folgers Classic Roast Coffee
Easy to make
Some people feel this coffee tastes a bit too strong
If you are the type of coffee drinker that enjoys long-standing brands that have a lot of cultural history, then you might want to consider Folgers Classic Roast Coffee. Folgers has been in business since 1850 and has earned a quality reputation for making a great-tasting brew. This affordable, instant product choice offers you a nice aroma and a coffee that is both easy to make and won’t taste watered down.Read more
Folgers Classic Roast Coffee is comprised out of very rich mountain grown coffee beans that are rich and provide a great scent. Those coffee beans are dehydrated so that you wind up with a nice, instant product that brings you a smooth, strong taste you’ll love having each morning. You’ll love how it makes your house smell great every morning.
Taste and Quality
Folgers has made a nice instant product here since you get all the taste of a regular brewed coffee. The taste is very classic and traditional and has a rich flavoring that does not taste bitter or watered down. You’ll wind up with a smooth, easy to drink product.
Ease of Use
Making this instant coffee product is a snap. All you need to do is grab your favorite coffee cup, put in a scoop of the instant Folgers mix, and then add eight to ten ounces of boiling water depending on how large your cup is. Stir the mix in, and you’ll have your coffee ready to go quickly.
Folgers Classic Roast Coffee brings you a very affordable product that is cost-effective and easy to make. The coffee is not costly, and it will help you get your morning pick me up each day you need it. With its great taste and excellent reputation, this is a solid choice for your coffee.
4. Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend
Tastes like coffee out of your coffee pot
Can go anywhere with you
Some fans of instant products find this to be so strong
Jacobs Kronung’s Instant Blend is an excellent instant product for you if you are the type of person that feels like the quality and taste of instant products is not your cup of tea. Many people swear by this instant product because the taste is very similar to your usual blended morning coffees. So, if you need something instant for your office or to take with you on the go, this affordable coffee option just might be the product for you.Read more
Jacobs Kronung’s Instant Blend is comprised out of high-quality coffee beans that account for the coffee’s great taste that so many people rave about. The beans are freeze-dried and placed in a can that seals out the air so that you get a consistent, fresh taste. The freeze-dried coffee beans are also totally soluble, so that helps to give you a coffee that is very smooth and without chunks.
Taste and Quality
The manufacturer of this coffee did a great job of providing high-quality beans and ingredients that make this coffee very closely resemble blended coffees. The taste is excellent, and you get the smooth blend of coffee that tastes like you are getting something right out of the pot, and not out of the microwave. So, if you are looking for something that tastes great and that you can take with you anywhere, this product just might be for you.
Ease of Use
Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend offers you a very easy-to-make product that gives you a taste very similar to your typical homemade coffee pot blend. It does not taste like it comes out of the microwave. All you need to do is stir in a scoop of the coffee blend into your coffee pot, and then add eight to ten ounces of boiling water. Stir, and you have your coffee.
Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend comes with an affordable price tag considering the quality of the product. With its great taste and reputation for tasting like it just came out of a coffee pot, you are getting an easy to make product that doesn’t cost much. So, you’ll be able to afford to drink it every day.
5. Four Sigmatic Instant Mushroom Coffee
Mushrooms help settle your stomach
Tastes like coffee
Some people feel the flavor is too strong
Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee might sound like it has a strange flavor to it, but it does not taste like mushrooms. This coffee mix is a bit different, but it has become very popular recently because it is made to be organic and healthy. Its ingredients are also acceptable to vegans. The mushroom species in the coffee are put there so that the coffee blend does not upset your stomach, and you’ll still get a nice, coffee flavor when you drink this mix.Read more
Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee is made from Chaga dual extract, cordyceps dual extract, and instant coffee powder. You wind up with about forty mg of caffeine per serving. Also, the mix of coffee with mushrooms means that you wind up with a coffee blend that is designed to be easier on your stomach. So, if you’ve ever had coffee upset your stomach, you’ll probably enjoy this great-tasting mix more than you might think.
Taste and Quality
Although the name of this coffee brand might throw some of you off, even though it does contain mushrooms, you won’t be able to taste it in the mix at all. Instead what you’ll get is a very smooth and consistent flavor and a coffee product that won’t upset your stomach. So, not to worry, this product tastes like regular coffee.
Ease of Use
Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee is very simple to make. All you need to do is pour a scoop into a coffee cup. Then, add eight to ten ounces of hot water into your coffee cup an stir. You’ll wind up with a coffee that tastes great and also helps to settle your stomach each morning.
Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee has an affordable price tag considering the popularity of the product and all that it has to offer. If you like your morning coffee but need a little something to help you settle your stomach in the morning, you can have a bit of both with this coffee. You’ll wind up feeling ready to go and have your stomach feeling great each day you drink it.
6. Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia
Tastes similar to coffee you would buy at Starbucks
Flavor isn’t watered down
If you like Starbucks coffee, you’ll save money with this product
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia offers all of you Starbucks lovers the opportunity to have your coffee at home every day in the morning with a more cost-effective price than you would get by entering a Starbucks store. Also, it is simple to make since it is instant, and it tastes very much like what you’d buy at a Starbucks store. Also, this coffee stands out from some of the other instant coffees because it does not taste watered down or weak, but actually offers a lot of flavors.Read more
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia is comprised out of soluble and micro-ground Arabic Coffee, which is listed as the only ingredient. That ingredient makes this Columbian coffee taste more flavorful than many other types of instant products. Even better, when you mix it together and add the hot water, it smells exactly like brewed coffee, so you know you are getting a great taste.
Taste and Quality
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Columbia is a great tasting product for an instant product, and if you are a fan of Starbucks Coffee in general, then you will really appreciate the taste. It is quite smooth and doesn’t taste watered down, which can be a problem with some decaf coffees.
Ease of Use
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia is very easy to make, and the coffee is even packed in small bags so that you have enough coffee to add hot water and stir. That means this coffee is easy to take along with you to work or wherever else you might need it. With its simplicity of use and portability, this coffee scores big in the ease of use category.
If you are a Starbucks fan, you’ll wind up discovering a good value with this coffee product here. If you are the type of person that picks up your morning coffee at Starbucks on the way to work, then you should love the flavor of this coffee and the amount of money it will save you. However, if Starbucks isn’t your cup of tea, you might wind up not liking the taste, or feeling like this coffee is an overly expensive instant product.
7. Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf
Affordable if you are used to Starbucks prices
Tastes like Starbucks blends
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf Coffee offers you a nice choice of decaf instant products if that is something you are looking for. If you just want the taste without the kick and you are a fan of Starbucks, then you’ll most likely wind up really liking this coffee. This coffee tastes very much like the decaf brews you can purchase at Starbucks, but it is much cheaper!Read more
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf Coffee is comprised out of high-quality ingredients that help give you a true Starbucks taste with this instant product. Comprised out of soluble and micro-ground Arabica coffee, you wind up with an instant product that packs a punch with taste. In fact, most users feel that this coffee tastes very similar to the decaf coffees you can purchase at Starbucks.
Taste and Quality
This Starbucks Decaf blend has a nice flavor that resembles the same decaf blends you can purchase at your local Starbucks. However, this brew is much less expensive than purchasing your coffee at your local Starbucks. You’ll wind up with a coffee blend that is both roasted and sweet, and it doesn’t contain much caffeine at all.
Ease of Use
This Starbucks blend is very easy to make, and it is something you can bring with you to make at work or quickly whip up at home. All you need to do is put a scoop of the coffee in your favorite coffee cup and add eight to ten ounces of hot water. Stir, and you are ready to go.
Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf Coffee will seem like an affordable deal for people that really like Starbucks coffee. So, if you are the type that often grabs your coffee there, you will wind up saving some money with this product. However, if you are not a fan of Starbucks flavors, then this product might seem a bit pricey.
8. Nescafe, Taster’s Choice
Jar seals in freshness
Can make it anywhere
Some people do not think the taste of this coffee is strong enough
Nescafe is another well-known coffee manufacturer whose reputation excels in the area of excellent taste. This company takes pride in making high-quality, great tasting blends that are offered at cost effective prices to the public. With their use of tasty coffee beans that are then dehydrated to make up this instant product, you’ll wind up with a nice, smooth coffee to drink each morning.Read more
Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice blend is made out of high-quality, fresh premium coffee beans that come from a responsible source. The coffee is then dehydrated and placed in a jar made to lock air out so that when you make your coffee it smells great and has a very fresh taste. The design of the jar helps to keep the coffee tasting great for a long period of time.
Taste and Quality
Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice blend was created to ensure you’ll get an instant product with a smooth, fresh taste. The design of this manufacturer’s jar helps to keep the coffee fresh for a while, and you’ll also get a blend that does not taste watered down and offers you a smooth flavor. With a fresh taste added to it, this coffee will always taste great each morning.
Ease of Use
It’s very easy to make Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice coffee since this particular blend is an instant product. You can enjoy the coffee easily anywhere anytime since all it takes is one scoop of coffee combined with eight to ten ounces of boiling water. After that, stir your blend, and you’ll be able to enjoy your coffee anywhere.
Nescafe’s Taster’s Choice is very cost effective so that you get an affordable product here, and one that is also easy to use. You can make this coffee just about anywhere, and it is also very affordable. With its great taste and a quality jar that seals in the freshness, you’ll get to enjoy great tasting coffee every morning.
9. Nescafe Clasico
Easy to make
Not everybody will like the taste
Nescafe’s Clasico Coffee gives you a great tasting, affordable option for an instant product. Known for creating coffee with strong and bold flavors, Nescafe is a very popular coffee manufacturer in the United States. Their Clasico Coffee comes in a cost-effective jar that offers you 100 cups of coffee.Read more
Nescafe’s Clasico Coffee brings you an instant product that is comprised out of 100 percent pure Nescafe coffee. You get about 100 cups per jar, bringing you a great value that is always tasty. The primary reason for the excellent taste is the ingredients, since this coffee is made from 100% pure coffee, and its great design has made it a very popular brand.
Taste and Quality
The taste of Nescafe’s Clasico Coffee is impressive since it brings coffee drinkers a very popular product that many people already enjoy. This coffee is so popular because it offers a “Cafecito” that is popular with the Latino culture, and that has helped to make this product a top seller. The flavor is quite full for an instant product, and it also smells great when you make it.
Ease of Use
Nescafe’s Clasico Coffee is easy to make. All you need to do is to take a scoop of the dehydrated coffee beans and put them in an eight to ten-ounce coffee mug. After that, add about eight ounces of boiling water, and your great tasting coffee will be ready in a few seconds.
For its popularity and its great taste, Nescafe’s Clasico Coffee is a very affordable instant product choice. You get plenty of great-tasting flavor for your dollar, and close to 100 cups for each can that you buy. Also, this coffee’s popularity should tell you a lot about how great the coffee tastes.
10. Douwe Egberts Pure Gold
No preservatives or additives
Some people may feel the taste is too bitter
Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Coffee brings you an all-natural option derived from roasted, ground and dehydrated coffee beans. This product offers you a freshly packed and easy-to-make product that is priced affordably. The airtight packaging that this coffee is placed in means you get a healthy product that includes no preservatives.Read more
Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Coffee is produced to be healthy and includes an air-tight package that keeps the coffee safe, and allows the manufacturers to make this product preservative-free. What you get from this product is a very natural choice that is made from dehydrated coffee plant seeds, and offers you a very pure choice.
Taste and Quality
Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Coffee is packed with excellent and pure ingredients that are packed so that they stay fresh. This coffee is also sealed so it contains no preservatives, and that adds to the overall flavor of the coffee. The taste is smooth and pure, with a nice coffee flavor that doesn’t seem weak or watered down.
Ease of Use
Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Coffee is very easy to make, and all you need to do is add a scoop of the dehydrated coffee to an eight to ten-ounce coffee cup. After that, add about eight ounces of boiling water, and stir. You’ll have your great tasting coffee ready in a few seconds.
Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Coffee is priced to be cost-effective and brings you a great tasting coffee that is priced affordably. You’ll get plenty of cups out of your purchase, and you won’t have to worry about burning a hole in your pocket.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The type of ingredients that you’ll find in your instant product will affect much about its overall taste. What we usually see with these types of products are dehydrated coffee beans or freeze-dried coffee beans. The type of coffee beans used by the manufacturer can vary, and that variety helps to give us many more options in overall taste. Many of these coffee brands also sell their products in air-tight jars or containers to make sure that you’ll get fresh coffee when you open it up and make it.
There are also some special types of instant products, and we’ve included a couple of examples of those on our list. For instance, for vegans, we listed Four Sigmatic’s Instant Mushroom Coffee because its ingredients are acceptable for vegans. However, many other people beyond vegans really enjoy this coffee product because although it has mushroomed in it, it does not taste like mushrooms. The purpose of the mushrooms is to help settle your stomach if you have a sensitive stomach, and also if that sensitive stomach prevents you from drinking your beloved coffee in the mornings. So, the idea behind this coffee product is to offer an option for vegans, but also to help out people with stomach issues so that they can still drink coffee.
Another specialty option in instant products is decaf choices. We included one of those on our list as well, Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf Coffee. While decaf coffee is usually not totally free of caffeine, it contains far less for people who should not have or don’t want to have much caffeine in the mornings. Also, the nice think about Starbucks’ version of decaf is that it tastes just like the type of product you can purchase at the store.
As mentioned above, taste does depend a lot on the types of ingredients used in the different coffee selections. While many people feel that instant products do not taste as good as home-brewed coffee choices, many coffee brands have worked hard in the past few years to close that gap. So, what we’ve wound up with on this list is a nice choice of coffee brands that have done much to make their instant products quite tasty.
One coffee blend that has hit a home run and made their instant product taste just like a brewed coffee is Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend. This coffee brand has a long list of fans because their instant product is very tasty, and you won’t be able to tell a difference between their instant and home blended coffees. So, if that is something you are concerned about, this product might be a great choice for you.
Starbucks has also done a great job of making their coffees taste very similar to what they actually offer in the store for purchase. So many people also like these coffee choices and save a lot of money by making them at home.
Ease of Use
Most brands of instant coffee design their products to be very simple and easy to use. Basically, all you need to do is put the coffee in a coffee cup, boil some water, add it, and stir. By making instant products so simple to create, the idea is to let people have something they can easily make at work, or anywhere else they would like to make their coffee.
Value is always something you want to consider when buying anything. When measuring the value of a product, you should consider how you usually purchase your coffee, and how much money you could possibly spend on a new product. The ease of use of the product is also important here.
For example, if you go to Starbucks often and decide to replace your usual store-bought brews with one of their instant products we have on our list, you will get a great value, since you will spend far less money.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you love coffee but do not like too much caffeine as it may make you hyper, go instant. Instant coffee contains less caffeine so you will still get a great taste, and the convenience of making a quick cup of coffee and it will not make you jump off the walls.
Other Factors to Consider
When selecting your instant product, there are a few other factors you’ll want to consider. First, you need to think about how much caffeine you want or need, and if a decaf coffee product might be better for you. The other thing you’ll want to think about is whether or not you think a vegan product might be better for you.
If you’ve been advised to have less caffeine, or you find that caffeine makes you too jittery, you might want to consider purchasing a decaf coffee product. Decaf coffee still has caffeine in it, just not as much as what you’ll find in regular versions of coffee. If you feel like coffee gives you the jitters but you’d still like to have something tasty in the morning, then think about purchasing a product like Starbucks Via Ready Brew Decaf Coffee.
If you are a vegan, then you are also going to have to pick your instant products out carefully. Fortunately, there are products for you, like one we’ve included on our list, Four Sigmatic Instant Mushroom Coffee. And, if you have a sensitive stomach, purchasing a vegan coffee product may allow you to still have your caffeine and coffee while also settling that stomach. Four Sigmatic’s Coffee, for instance, includes mushrooms that help ease your stomach, but the coffee itself does not contain any mushroom flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do instant products have similar levels of caffeine in them when compared to home-brewed coffees?
Yes, many of them actually do. If you want to get a certain amount of caffeine per cup, just check out the ingredients on the back. Usually, the manufacturer includes that information.
In a regular 8-ounce cup of coffee, there is typically about 95-grams of caffeine. While instant coffee caffeine levels are similar to a home-brewed cup, they are slightly lower. However, if you wish to change this, you can always make yourself a double. In this instance, you are the barista.
q: Is it true that some instant products taste as good as home-brewed coffees?
While it might seem shocking to some, yes, it is true. For instance, one brand that we discussed above that is renowned for this is Jacobs Kronung Instant Blend. The same as how some people love the flavor of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and some people despise it, instant coffee can be a hit or miss depending on your taste buds. If you have tried one in the past that you weren’t crazy about, we urge you to try a different brand. You will be amazed at the robust flavors that can be packed into the powder or freeze-dried little pellets.
q: Is it more affordable to make instant products at home?
Absolutely! It has been reported that the average American spends about $3 per day on coffee. When you add it all up, that comes out to about $1,100 per year. And this is even truer if you really like to purchase Starbucks products at their stores since they offer instant products that taste very similar and are much more cost-effective. Considering instant coffee, on average, costs about $10 per jar or package, with one coffee a day, that would be about $50 per year of instant coffee! Let’s say you splurge or enjoy more than one cup a day, that would still be about a $1,000 savings.
q: Will I be able to make an instant product at my office?
Yes, the beauty of instant coffee is convenience. Instant coffee actually gained its popularity during the wars. In the trenches, there was obviously no coffee makers and the soldiers had to find the energy to continue in other ways. Back then, it definitely didn’t taste as delicious, but it got the job done. As long as you have access to a microwave, stove, campfire with a pot, or a water heater, you will have no issue making instant coffee wherever you are. Instant coffee is made to be accessibile. You simply heat the water, measure out the appropriate amount of instant coffee, and mix. If you wish to add any syrups, sugars, or milk, you would add those last.
q: Why is the taste of these products improving?
With so much competition, manufacturers have had to step back and think about how they can make their product stand out. Many manufacturers have taken time to experiment not only with taste but also with how the freeze-dried coffee beans are preserved in jars. Brands have been able to offer fresher options than previously.
q: Instant products seem very cheap. Will I still get a decent amount of coffee?
Yes, you will. While a lot of that depends on the brand, you’ll be able to get enough coffee to make between 50-100 cups per jar depending on the brand you purchase. Some people can argue (depending on the brand, of course) that instant is more expensive than ground coffee, you can’t beat the convenience of instant coffee. The instant coffee will completely and simply dissolve into the hot water, while the coffee grinds will need to be filtered out.