In case you are an espresso darling, you must have evaluated various kinds of espresso till date.
And one thing that you might have acknowledged is that Instant Coffee doesn’t possess a flavor like Ground Coffee and you might have even said that it tastes terrible.
You might have thought that either you have bought something wrong or have purchased an expired packet from the store.
At the same time, you might have read a lot of articles on the best way to make Instant Coffee at home.
One fact you should realize that there are various sorts of Instant Coffee products available in the market today and not every one of them tastes similar.
In any case, whichever brand you choose to purchase none of them can possess a flavor like espresso that has been newly blended.
Indeed, even the most widely recognized and popular coffee brands can’t get the taste right in several cases.
So, our main question is why does our homemade instant coffee tastes so bad even after we take lot of precautions.
The real answer lies in the nature of manufacturing process of instant coffee.
It is essentially in the form of a powder that is broken down in a fluid medium like water or milk instead of soaking which is how Ground Coffee is made.
To create Instant Coffee, the dampness from a brewed coffee is taken out in some hot chamber.
And the hotness causes an irreversible substance change in the chemical construction of the beans which changes the flavor of the espresso in the process.
Instant Coffee is a fast way of getting your caffeine intake of the day.
After all, making an instant coffee is not an easy task at all.
You need to appropriately ground the coffee beans, and then soak them in water that is of the right temperature.
This whole process is somewhat tedious and takes some skilled hands to prepare.
I recommend to read further to discover what makes Instant Coffee taste awful and how would you be able to deal with it to make it taste better.
Table of Contents
- 3 Main Reasons that Cause Instant Coffee Taste Bad or Bitter
- Why Your Instant Coffee Tastes Like Plastic and Burnt?
- 4 Easy Solutions to Make Instant Coffee Taste Better
- How to Make Instant Coffee Taste Like Freshly Brewed?
- Is Instant Coffee That Tastes Bitter Bad for Your Health?
- What is the Best Instant Coffee That Tastes Really Good?
3 Main Reasons that Cause Instant Coffee Taste Bad or Bitter
For many of us, coffee lovers, some caffeine toward the beginning of the day gives the necessary oomph to kickstart our day.
And what more regrettable way of destroying it than to have a horrendous tasting mug of espresso in the morning time!
The other choice is to prepare coffee from newly ground coffee beans which is a tedious process.
Other option for us is to go to the cafe while heading towards work or school which could cost a lot for common folks.
Reason 1: Manufacturing Procedure of Instant Coffee
To comprehend why Instant Coffee doesn’t taste great as newly brewed espresso lies in a fact that it is actually in a powder form.
Furthermore, the procedure to make Instant Coffee is somewhat responsible for its odd or bitter taste.
In the manufacturing process of instant coffee, the beans are roasted and afterward ground.
The ground beans then, at that point, are utilized to make a profoundly focused brew.
A few producers even utilize bad quality beans as a technique for cost reduction.
The resultant effect is that the final coffee could get downright horrendous tasting in certain cases.
In case of utilization of good quality beans, the nature of the espresso come out to be acceptable at some level.
But one thing is sure that the Instant Coffee can never have an aftertaste like Ground Coffee.
Reason 2: Use of Robusta Coffee Beans
Something else to note is that usually Ground Coffee is produced using top notch Arabica beans.
On the other side, most Instant Coffee products are produced using Robusta beans which are of a lower quality than the Arabica beans.
Most Robusta beans also have a harsh taste and have a more serious character.
The method of making Instant Coffee also consists of making an enormous volume at a modest cost rather than enhancing the quality of the coffee.
Reason 3: Use of Either Spray Dried or Freeze-Dried Technique
To make the Instant Coffee, the companies actually use either spray dried or freeze-dried powder.
Most instant coffee brands utilize the earlier mentioned technique to make the coffee.
To get the spray dried coffee powder, there is an enormous chamber that is warmed to a serious level and then all of the dampness of the coffee beans is reduced to almost zero level.
Then, at that point, the prepared espresso is sprayed inside the hot chamber where the hotness dries the drops and the leftover solid is gathered at the lower part of the chamber.
At that point when the coffee beans are exposed to that kind of high temperature in the chamber, chemical changes start to happen which changes the flavor of the espresso and the flavor becomes really bitter or odd to taste.
The freeze-drying process is somewhat better the spray dried process.
Because it safeguards the actual flavor of the coffee beans used.
Albeit this strategy can seemingly deliver a superior tasting Instant Coffee, this technique is somewhat costly and thus, only few coffee brands utilize this instant coffee making technique.
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Why Your Instant Coffee Tastes Like Plastic and Burnt?
Instant Coffee can often come out tasting burnt and that likely could be the result of the ingredients that were utilized to make the espresso.
Also, the actual manufacturing process that was utilized to transform beans into a instant coffee powder is also responsible for instant coffee to taste like plastic and burnt.
As most coffee makers utilize the Robusta beans to manufacture Instant Coffee, it is the primary reason for espresso tasting burnt.
Robusta beans are bitter than arabica beans and furthermore they contain two times more caffeine as compared to the arabica beans.
To neutralize the sharpness in the coffee beans used, the coffee makers roast the beans to a darker degree in order to properly adjust the harshness of the beans.
In any case, a darker roast brings about a coffee that tastes like a burnt coffee.
The other reason why Instant Coffee might taste burnt is that it has been made by the spray drying process.
Since Instant Coffee is espresso that has been already brewed, a high measure of hotness is needed to dry the espresso.
The spray drying process dries the espresso utilizing high heat rapidly and that ruins the flavor of the espresso and causes the burnt taste.
4 Easy Solutions to Make Instant Coffee Taste Better
Here are a few methods using which you can make Instant Coffee taste better and reduce its plastic or burnt taste.
1. Use Cocoa Powder:
Adding Cocoa Powder to an instant coffee is one of the best methods of making Instant Coffee taste better.
We all have Cocoa Powder laying around in our home.
You have to simply add a teaspoon or two of Cocoa Powder to the Instant Coffee prior to adding water and the outcome is some Mocha like coffee.
2. Add Some Butter:
You may ponder about butter in espresso, how is that going to make my espresso taste great?
By adding some butter to your coffee, you can provide the espresso a smooth texture and furthermore can reduce its sharpness.
You should simply add a little slice of butter to your coffee and see the results for yourself.
3. Add Some Cinnamon:
You might have heard or even seen individuals adding cinnamon to their tea to make it spicier.
The question is would it taste good if you add cinnamon to your instant coffee.
My answer is definite “Yes”.
By adding cinnamon to your coffee, you can make your coffee little bit spicy.
Simply add a little cinnamon powder to the Instant Coffee powder and put water in it.
And that’s how you will be able to reduce the bitterness of your instant coffee.
4. Add Some Milk:
By adding few drops of milk, you can make instant coffee taste better than the earlier.
If you like latte or frappe, then you should simply add milk to your espresso alongside sugar and some ice for a frappe.
You can also add some ice and make a hot latte.
I recommend to use Almond milk instead of dairy milk to reduce the fat and sugar content in your instant coffee.
How to Make Instant Coffee Taste Like Freshly Brewed?
1. Use the Good Quality Coffee Brand:
The first important step to make Instant Coffee taste freshly brewed is to buy good quality Instant Coffee from a reputed brand.
The best instant coffee brand so far in my experience is Starbucks Via Medium Roast Instant Coffee.
This coffee is a blend of smooth and well rounded Latin American coffee and chocolate as well as toasted nuts.
Very few Instant Coffee brands can match the taste and flavor of Ground Coffee although some may come very close.
2. Use Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee:
The second step to make sure you get the best tasting instant coffee is to avoid using coffee that is made from spray dried process.
Instead, always opt for “freeze-dried” instant coffee.
As I already explained above that freeze-dried coffee tastes much better than the spray dried coffee.
3. Add Cold Water Before Hot Water:
Before you add hot water to your Instant Coffee, I recommend to mix little cold water to the coffee powder.
This will wet the espresso to form a paste.
After the espresso has turned into a paste, you can add high temp water to it.
There is no specific temperature you need to maintain when it comes to adding water to your Instant Coffee.
4. Finally Add Some Milk and Sugar:
You can certainly enhance the overall taste and flavor of your instant coffee by mixing some milk and little sugar to it.
You can add more milk or sugar to change the overall taste of the coffee depending on your taste preference.
In case, you feel that the taste of your coffee is not that great, its probably because of high amount of water added to it.
You can always add less water to maintain and texture and flavor of your instant coffee.
Is Instant Coffee That Tastes Bitter Bad for Your Health?
Instant Coffee tastes bitter because of the utilization of Robusta beans during the creation of espresso.
Robusta beans as the name suggests, are more powerful and contain extreme character as compared to the arabica beans.
This causes the bitterness in your instant coffee.
There are no case studies or research articles online which clearly proves that there are some medical issues because of drinking bitter tasting Instant Coffee.
Albeit roasted coffee beans have a little bit of Acrylamide which can be hazardous if consumed in large quantity.
Acrylamide is formed because of the roasting of coffee beans at higher temperature.
I came across a research report that compared Acrylamide content of various sorts of espresso with espresso substitutes.
This report says that espresso substitutes contain a higher amount of Acrylamide at 818 mcg/kg.
Acrylamide content in the instant coffee was 358 mcg/kg and in the ground coffee, it was only 179 mcg/kg.
So we can safely say that instant coffee as well as ground coffee does not pose any health risk when consumed on a regular basis.
What is the Best Instant Coffee That Tastes Really Good?
Now this list can differ person to person.
Everyone has his/her own choice and preference when it comes to the taste of instant coffee.
According to my experience, the following 3 instant coffee brands have unique taste and they taste really good as compared to the other traditional coffee brands.