Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 19:06
Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee often sparks off a lot of snobbery amongst coffee lovers and coffee snobs, and unjustifiably so!
The usual argument is that instant coffee is better and fresher, but the hard facts are there are certain uses cases and situations where an instant coffee is better.
With modern manufacturing technology, instant coffee lovers are certainly enjoying themselves with their flavor-locked coffee granules of high quality.
Keep reading as we dig down and impartially detail the topic of instant coffee Vs ground coffee in a fair and educated manner.
What Is Ground Coffee And Instant Coffee?
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is Ground Coffee And Instant Coffee?
- 2 How Is Instant Coffee Made?
- 3 Ground Coffee vs. Instant Coffee Flavor
- 4 Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee Caffeine Content
- 5 When To Use Instant Coffee Vs Coffee Grounds
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee
- 6.1 Which Is Better Ground Or Instant Coffee?
- 6.2 Is Instant Coffee The Same As Ground Coffee?
- 6.3 Why Is Instant Coffee Cheaper?
- 6.4 Why Does Freshly Ground Coffee Taste Better?
- 6.5 Is Instant Coffee Less Healthy Than Ground Coffee?
- 6.6 Is Instant Coffee Same As Ground Coffee?
- 6.7 Why Does Instant Coffee Taste Better Than Ground Coffee?
- 6.8 Can I Just Add Hot Water To Ground Coffee?
- 7 Frappe-Ing It All Up – Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee
In this obvious first section, we talk about what ground coffee is and what instant coffee is. Let’s get cracking on.
What Is Ground Coffee?
Ground coffee is the result of grinding roasted coffee beans in your coffee grinder. The grind size can vary depending on which coffee you are brewing.
The grind size can vary from 100 microns for a strong Turkish coffee to a small pebble like 1,200 microns for Cowboy coffee and everything in between.
You absolutely must use the correct grind size for the coffee drink that you are brewing. If you use the grind size for an espresso (200 microns) but you are brewing a cold brew coffee you will end up with a horrid tasting over brewed bitter coffee.
Like wise, if you are using a 1,000 micron cold brew grind size but trying to brew an espresso it will be weak, watery and very under brewed.
Ground coffee is the choice among coffee lovers due to being better quality and fresher. For the best fresh coffee with the freshest possible taste, you absolutely must store your coffee beans properly.
To do that, you must store them in a professional coffee canister that has an airtight lid and a one-way valve. Then fill it with our beans and then store the canister in your freezer. Your beans will stay fresher and will not freeze them.
It doesn’t end there. Keep your beans and resulting grounds as fresh as can be by removing them from your coffee canister while they are as cold as can be and just as you are about to brew your coffee.
What Is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is coffee. Some snobbery in the coffee world refuses to even call instant coffee as coffee. It is made from brewed coffee beans, the coffee is then reduced to a strong coffee concentrate and then the coffee concentrate is then freeze-dried and turned into coffee granules.
These coffee granules are what you add hot water to make an instant coffee.
The technological advances mean you can get a very good cup of coffee.
How Is Instant Coffee Made?
Let’s go into the process of how instant coffee is made in a little more detail. One of the reasons that instant coffee is cheaper is that lower (usually but not always) quality coffee beans are used and are predominantly Robusta beans.
I said usually as you can now get high quality instant coffee that are from great specialty locations and of quality Arabica beans.
The beans are roasted to a predetermined roast level to produce the flavor and taste profile desired and the ground to a powder-like form.
Coffee is then brewed with them and then boiled down to a coffee concentrate. This concentrate is then placed on racks and then dehydrated and freeze-dried, stripping them of water content. The whole process of dehydration and freeze drying is a scientific drying process designed to lock in the flavors.
A spraying process using a liquid coffee concentrate is also part of the production process.
Once the coffee grounds are crystallized, they are ready to be packed and sold.
Ground Coffee vs. Instant Coffee Flavor
For a while I used to turn my nose up at instant coffee and falsely assume the coffee was not as delicious or of lesser quality. This is not the case, and has not been so for a number of years.
Instant coffee now, generally speaking, has a very similar flavor profile to a ground coffee equivalent. They do have a slightly more pronounced bitter taste, but not overtly so than average ground coffee.
They obviously do not go through the same brewing process.
Coffee grounds, on the other hand, have a much fresher taste, and notably so when you have stored your grounds perfectly as I described above and grinding them immediately before you brew your cup of coffee.
They are also much more aromatic than instant coffee where you don’t have a generic coffee scent. You can notice the unique aromas from each bean and their origins – both from the beans and the brewed coffee.
Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee Caffeine Content
When it comes to the caffeine content, freshly ground coffee beans have a greater caffeine content than instant coffee. There are two important reasons why this is the case.
The way in which caffeine functions requires that it has to be extracted from the actual coffee bean or ground coffee bean when exposed to heat, and then a liquid substance to draw it out.
What this means is that the hot water that is in contact with the coffee will have the effect of absorbing the caffeine in the beans. The longer that your coffee beans are in contact with the hot water, the greater the amount of caffeine is extracted.
This is why French coffee, Vietnamese Caphe Phin, Turkish coffee and percolated coffee, in terms of caffeine, produce a strong coffee brew.
Also, due to the long extraction period, the strength of flavor is stronger.
Fresh coffee, freshly ground, gives you an adjustable coffee brew that you easily adjust in terms of grind size, extraction time, type of filter used and the temperature of the water as these all have an effect on how your coffee will taste.
These adjustments are not applicable to instant coffee or have no effect on how instant coffee will taste.
Instant coffee gives you no control over the extraction of the flavor or caffeine content. This is determined by the coffee company. The only way in which you can make the coffee or caffeine content higher is to use more of the instant coffee powder.
More often than not, this results in coffee that has a stronger bitter taste.
Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee Health
Naturally, the question of which of the two coffees is healthier arises. To be clear, and as a disclaimer, I am not a medic nor claim to be. I have a mind for scientific information thanks to holding a science degree (in engineering!). I have extensively looked at a number of studies and researched various well established medical websites like Healthline, WebMD, Pubmed and the NIH.
It is clear that coffee does have beneficial properties for your health.
The difference between both instant coffee and ground coffee and which is healthiest has very little difference. Both have antioxidants, essential minerals and vitamins as well as other compounds that aid your health.
However, with both ground coffee and instant coffee you need to stick to the recommended limitation of 400 mg of caffeine per day.
Coffee, unfortunately for addicts like myself, is not a wonder health elixir.
For all health concerns, be responsible and consult with a medical professional.
When To Use Instant Coffee Vs Coffee Grounds
Of course, coffee beans and grinding your own coffee grounds immediately before you are brewing a cup of coffee is better as it produces a fresher and tastier cup of coffee.
there are times when you simply have no choice or are simply better off with instant coffee than regular ground coffee. One fine example of that is when you are travelling and have just arrived at your destination. Tired and needing a good Cuppa Joe and just too drained to brew a coffee, a simple instant coffee will do the trick.
when you are on a camping trip, instant coffee is simple and much more convenient than whole beans or ground coffee.
Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee
Which Is Better Ground Or Instant Coffee?
Better is subjective. On this website I don’t particularly like to say which is better, unless there is a particular case of saying so. Readers of this site and coffee lovers are very smart people and I respect their (your) opinion.
In terms of “better for you health”, it is simply a straight draw. Better taste wise I think that is pretty evident due to the fresher taste assuming the coffee beans have been stored properly and in perfect conditions.
Is Instant Coffee The Same As Ground Coffee?
Instant coffee and regular ground coffee are both very different and in many ways. Ground coffee beans, for example, are not soluble and are fresh. Instant coffee is pre-brewed coffee and is 100% soluble and technically is not fresh as it is pre-brewed.
You need to brew and extract ground coffee, instant coffee you just need to add water.
Why Is Instant Coffee Cheaper?
Instant coffee is cheaper than ground coffee as instant coffee manufacturers often use low-quality coffee beans, predominantly robusta beans.
It is common for manufacturers to use the coffee beans from the previous year due to the price being lower.
Why Does Freshly Ground Coffee Taste Better?
when you keep your beans as whole until the point of brewing, they are much fresher as the oxidation process has not started. Also, when you buy pre-ground coffee grounds the oxidation process has been accelerated.
When you grind your coffee beans the surface area increases and thus a greater amount of oxygen is in contact with your coffee grounds. Much better is of course buying whole beans and grinding your coffee beans yourself.
Is Instant Coffee Less Healthy Than Ground Coffee?
Instant coffee has a lower caffeine content and has a higher acrylamide content than ground coffee and has the same amount and levels of healthy antioxidants, phenolic compounds and flavonoids as well as the nutrients as other types of coffee.
If anything, instant coffee is only slightly less healthy than regular coffee.
Is Instant Coffee Same As Ground Coffee?
No, both instant coffee and ground coffee and two very different types of coffee. Instant coffee is processed and fully soluble while ground coffee is not processed and cannot dissolve in hot water at all.
Instant coffee is coffee grounds that have already been used to brew coffee, drinkable coffee and thus, by definition, a greater quality and depth of flavor will be experienced with coffee grounds.
Why Does Instant Coffee Taste Better Than Ground Coffee?
Directly comparing instant coffee and ground coffee is near impossible as different coffee beans are used to make both. To give an accurate comparison both would need to be made with exactly the same beans, roast and the same everything to eliminate all variables.
Even then, the different brewing method of just adding water with instant coffee and the chosen brewing method for the ground coffee creates a variable that influences the flavor. Thus, a direct and accurate comparison is impossible.
On the occasion that you get a better tasting instant coffee, it is likely that a better quality of coffee was used to make the instant coffee granules. Notably, there are some very good instant coffees available.
Can I Just Add Hot Water To Ground Coffee?
Yes, you can just add hot water to ground coffee, but it doesn’t make an enjoyable coffee as you will end up with gritty coffee grounds at the bottom of your cup of coffee. It is advised that you at least use a filter.
If you are in a rush type of person, the use of an automatic drip coffee maker will produce better results. In this case, you just add coffee….to your coffee filter!
Frappe-Ing It All Up – Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee
While it is fairly clear that despite all the talk of instant coffee Vs ground coffee that ground coffee is fresher and has a greater aroma, producing a better and more caffeinated coffee.
Instant coffee should not be dismissed at all as due to advances in manufacturing technologies have improved the flavor, and you do get a very good cup of coffee with good quality instant coffee granules.
There are a few good use cases that few would argue against when using instant coffee – camping and travelling, it’s a convenience thing.
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