Best Instant Coffee

While instant coffee might never be the best coffee, there can surely be a best instant coffee shortlist from which we can at least make a decent cup of coffee. Since you’re reading this, you are probably a coffee drinker too in search of a quick, convenient way to enjoy your coffee. In your quest to find the best instant coffee, I believe the info here will help narrow down your choices based on taste preference and price. You can then shortlist a few brands to try instead of spending years buying and trying every available instant coffee on the market!

My wife keeps telling our friends that I’m a coffee addict, which I insist I am not! I always reply that I might drink 5 or 6 cups a day, but I can stop anytime and go without my caffeine shots! My coffee journey started as a college student working in a cafe and I subsequently co-owned a coffee shop where I personally selected the coffee machine, grinder and beans. So I am probably at least above average when it comes to knowledge and appreciation of coffee. However for the sake of easy everyday use with no hassles, I have been drinking instant coffee at home exclusively for the last 4 years. In that time, I’ve tried a range of brands and their various roasts, including but not limited to Folgers, Nescafe, Douwe Egberts aka Moccona, Starbucks, etc. Some are terrible and others range from decent to enjoyable.

Instant coffee is often the runt in the coffee litter. It’s despised by coffee snobs and sometimes is given a bad rep. However, the production of instant coffee has been refined over three quarters of a century and there are many good instant coffee products now available. The wide variety of choices can be quite overwhelming!

I’ve put some of the best instant coffee options in a comparison table below to help anyone quickly look at the brands, prices, Amazon customer ratings and access the reviews of each instant coffee. The reviews can help you narrow your search based on your preference (light, robust, bitter, acidic, etc.). I have also calculated the price per cup which is very helpful to see how much value each option really presents. This can also help you assess the real price and value you are deriving from each instant coffee product. I’ll be adding to this table as I continue to test and review contenders for the title of  the best instant coffee.

Best Instant Coffee Comparison Table

ImageBrand and TypePrice Per CupAmazon
Review Link

Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Colombia Coffee (50 count)

Starbucks VIA official site
Based on 50 count pack at $29.95
4.6Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia Coffee Review

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee in Jar, 7-Ounce
$0.146 for 7 ounce jar4.8Moccona aka Douwe Egberts Instant Coffee Review

Douwe Egberts Pure Gold Instant Coffee, 7-Ounce Jar

Douwe Egberts UK
$0.13 for 7 ounce jar4.6Moccona aka Douwe Egberts Instant Coffee Review

Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, 3.53-Ounce Jar

Mount Hagen official site
$0.2175 for 1 3.53oz jar
$0.2113 for 2 jar pack
$0.1915 for 6 jar pack
4.6+Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee Review

Taster's Choice French Roast Instant Coffee, 7-Ounce Canisters

Nescafe Taster's Choice official site
$0.076 for 3 jar pack4.3Nescafe Taster's Choice French Roast Instant Coffee Review

Reviewing to Find the Best Instant Coffee…and also the bad and mediocre.

To compare the various coffees, we will use certain terms. Here are the characteristics I use to judge a coffee. I have numbered them in  order of what I generally look for chronologically.

  1. Aroma: don’t you love being greeted by the smell of coffee? If it smells bad, who would even bother to drink it?
  2. Acidity: a fine coffee is supposed to have a pleasant sharp bite. I personally do not like overly acidic coffees which are sour. This is also because I prefer dark roasts which tend to be less acidic. A little note – acidity in coffee can also cause stomach pains so it is not advisable to drink on an empty stomach.
  3. Body: the richness of a coffee. Is it light and delicate? Or rich, heavy and full-bodied? Or somewhere balanced in between?
  4. Flavor: the taste of a coffee. Is it sweet, nutty, chocolaty, burnt, or any other description that strikes you.
  5. Aftertaste: also known as “finish” in coffee connoisseur circles. Does the coffee change taste at the finish (just swallowed) as compared to the start? Does it leave a pleasant or unpleasant aftertaste?

Another useful feature is actual user reviews. We can use Amazon as it has one of the best review systems for the products it sells. It has a wide breath of users, many of whom provide very useful feedback coupled with a simple but effective 5 star rating system.

Finally, do look at the estimated price per cup which  is based on the price as sold on Amazon divided by the number of approximate servings  per jar.

Now that we are equipped with the necessary knowledge, let’s begin the hunt for the best instant coffee together!

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