The 10 Best Tasting Instant Coffee for Complete Convenience

Cup-of-coffee-on-wooden-table

Coffee is one of the most versatile drinks and you can easily make coffee without a coffee machine.

Not everyone wants to resort to cowboy coffee or homemade filters, though, and not everyone wants to buy an espresso machine, a coffee maker, or a latte and cappuccino machine either.

So, if you don’t want the hassle of a semi-automatic machine and you can’t stretch to a Nespresso machine, how about instant coffee?

Well, you might be surprised to know that the best tasting instant coffee comes somewhere close to coffee you make in a moka pot. What counts is making sure you choose some of this and not some of the low-quality instant flooding the market and giving freeze-dried coffee a bad name.

Over the past year, sales of instant coffee have spiked with people spending more time at home and looking to widen their repertoire for making coffee.

Here are the most common reasons for using instant coffee rather than a more authentic brewing method:

  • Get coffee near-instantly
  • No hassle of grinding beans
  • Non-coffee drinkers who want hassle-free coffee for guests
  • Cooking and baking
  • Making smoothies

As you can see, there’s a reason that half of all green coffee beans end up used for instant coffee.

Now, if you’re aiming to find the best tasting instant coffee, focus on these elements to make that easier on yourself:

  • Type of coffee bean: Arabica beans are higher quality than robusta beans, and they are also less bitter. Unfortunately, many instant coffee contains robusta beans as these are cheaper. Sometimes, you’ll find instant coffee with a blend of arabica and robusta, but your best option is one made from 100% arabica beans. We draw your attention to this throughout our reviews below.
  • Strength: Many instant coffees use non-standardized descriptors like rich, golden, balanced, or smooth. These do not indicate strength and are nothing but an indication of the style of coffee. The roast of the coffee can be categorized as directly below, and this impacts the flavor profile as well as the strength. There is no standard scale for strength, although some manufacturers create their own 1-10 scale, and strength is indicative of roast rather than caffeine content anyway
  • Roast: Medium roasts are the most popular for instant coffee. These beans have a dark grain and the surface is quite oily. Both the taste and aroma deliver sweet and sour notes. Classic roast, city roast, and Viennese roast are all examples of medium roasts. Medium roasts work especially well for single-serve coffee. Light roasts typically have a slightly sour note and they work especially well when served with milk. These beans are pale brown and the aroma is delicate, while the taste is complex. Dark roasts are used infrequently for instant coffee. The dark brown beans have a highly saturated flavor and a bright appearance due to the way essential oils are released. French roast is a classic dark roast
  • Size of container: Some instant coffees come in single-serve sachets, but most come in jars or containers, often bundling several packs for better value. If you need instant coffee on the go, single-serve is a super-convenient option, but for home use, jars usually work better

So, if you keep these pointers in mind when you’re looking for the best tasting instant coffee, you should have no problem finding the right one for you and your family.

Madibarestaurant.com is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

I. The 10 Best Tasting Instant Coffee

1. Our #1 Pick: Starbucks Via Instant Iced Coffee

Starbucks-VIA-Instant-Coffee-Medium-Roast-Packets

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 5.6oz (6 packets)
  • Dimensions: 6.8 x 3.7 x 1.9 inches

First up and our overall favorite in today’s collection of the best tasting instant coffee comes from powerhouse brand Starbucks.

This box contains 6 packs of iced coffee allowing you to enjoy a crisp and refreshing caffeinated drink all year round.

The Via Instant line comes with a huge choice of flavors, with this ice coffee blend sweetened with cane sugar. If you’re not partial to a sweet sensation, this is not the best bet for you.

While the sweetness might polarize opinion, the medium roast used for this iced coffee should appeal to most tastes. You get a smooth but balanced drink with no discernible bitterness.

The beans used are all arabica, so you’ll get none of the cheaper and cruder robusta beans in the mix here.

Kiss goodbye to the grinder and the coffee machine and usher in gourmet coffee in seconds flat. Starbucks proves here that not all instant is a write-off.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Iced coffee on demand
  • Natural cane sugar
  • Made from arabica beans
  • Extremely sweet

2. Mount Hagen Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee

Mount-Hagen-Freeze-Dried-Instant-Coffee

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 3.5oz (2 jars)
  • Dimensions: 2 x 10 x 13 inches

Mount Hagen is one of the most reputable names in the instant coffee space. While this freeze-dried instant certainly isn’t your cheapest option, when was the last time buying the cheapest coffee you could find worked out for you?

This coffee is Fair Trade, so you can buy with a clear conscience and the knowledge the growers will be getting a fair price while you get a lip-smacking instant. Organic and non-GMO, you’ll be getting everything you want and nothing you don’t here.

Like most instant coffees, the medium roast beans should appeal to most palates, and the taste of this coffee is surprisingly rich and full-bodied for an instant.

You get a pack of 2 jars in this bundle, although you can pick up larger value-packs with 6 jars once you’ve established that you like the taste of this stuff.

The only real drawback with this coffee is the slight bitterness that might put some people off. Overall, though, you’re getting one of the best tasting instant coffees from a brand you can rely on.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Organic and certified Fair Trade
  • Bold and rich taste
  • Highly aromatic
  • Slight bitterness

3. Starbucks Via Ready-Brew Colombia Coffee

Starbucks-VIA-Ready-Brew-Colombia-Coffee

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 0.11oz (50 packs)
  • Dimensions: 6.8 x 3.7 x 1.9 inches

Next up is another offering from Starbucks, again from the enduringly popular Via Instant line. How does this Colombian coffee shape up, then?

Well, by the standards of most instant coffee, this blend delivers a smooth yet deceptively rich taste, and you’ll also get plenty of aroma here.

The medium roast is caffeinated and packs a reasonable punch without being overpoweringly strong.

These instant sachets work well for hot or iced coffee, giving you great flexibility as well as single-serve convenience. The small sachets are ideal for taking to work out when you’re out somewhere for the day, and they also work well in the home kitchen.

You get great value here as well with 50 sachets of single-serve convenience at a pretty reasonable price point.

For tasty and practically instant coffee with just a faint trace of nuttiness, Starbucks hits another home run here. The only gripes we could find among a sea of positive user testimony concerns quality control issues, so check the contents of your delivery closely.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Balanced and smooth
  • Hint of nuts
  • Great value bundle
  • Some quality control concerns

4. Maxwell House Suisse Mocha

Maxwell-House-Suisse-Mocha-Cafe-Sugar-Free-Beverage-Mix

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 4.1oz (pack of 4)
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.2 x 2.4 inches

Maxwell House has been producing tasty instant coffee for decades, although not all of their instant coffee tastes good. This Suisse Mocha, on the other hand, is one of the best tasting instant coffee out there, so how does it shape up?

Despite being sugar-free, this is not an especially low-calorie drink. Each serving has 60 calories, so keep your eye on this if you’re following a calorie-controlled diet.

In return, you get a rich and decadent taste more reminiscent of mocha than straight coffee. Flavored with real Swiss chocolate, you’ll enjoy a taste sensation, whether at breakfast or later in the day.

The large resealable container helps you keep the coffee fresher for longer, and you can buy a variety of configurations, including this pack of 4 containers.

Not only does this coffee work well in its own right, but you could also use it as creamer for a different coffee is you want a real treat.

The only real downside to this coffee is that you don’t get too many servings in each container, so you’ll probably find you burn through this stuff quite quickly.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Low in fat and calories
  • Sugar-free
  • Also works well as creamer
  • Not many servings per pack

5. Kava Acid-Neutralized Instant Coffee

Kava-Acid-Neutralized-Instant-Coffee

Features

  • Roast: Dark
  • Weight: 4oz (3 packs)
  • Dimensions: 12 x 5 x 8 inches

As we reach the midpoint of our instant coffee reviews, we have something slightly different from Kava.

This is coffee made from real coffee beans, but with fully 90% of the acid neutralized during production. Whether you suffer from acid reflux or you’re just looking for a low-acidity coffee for daily drinking, Kava delivers the perfect solution.

The value pack included 3 jars of the 4oz coffee, giving you hundreds of servings of coffee without any of the acidity or bitterness commonly associated with instant.

While you get this stripped from the coffee, you’ll be surprised at the depth of the body and the richness of the flavor. It might not be a shot of authentic espresso, but you can certainly get your day started with a nice kick if you opt for some Kava instant.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Very low acidity
  • Deep and full-bodied taste
  • Minimal bitterness
  • Contains potassium hydroxide

6. Four Sigmatic Foods Mushroom Instant Coffee

Four-Sigmatic-Foods-Mushroom-Instant-Coffee

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 0.9oz (10 packs)
  • Dimensions: 3.2 x 3.2 x 3.2 inches

Next up is some instant coffee that won’t appeal to everyone and is priced at a premium. Is this mushroom-based blend worth your time or nothing but marketing hype?

The answer lays somewhere in between.

First up, you get coffee made from 100% arabica beans, so you’re off to a strong start. The medium roast should appeal to most tastes.

The key selling point here is the two types of mushrooms used, with a laundry list of claimed health benefits. Some users report feeling sharper focus and others claim they didn’t feel much more effect than from a regular cup of joe.

Either way, you’ll get a depth of flavor from the Chaga and lion’s mane mushrooms, as well as rhodiola root, an adaptogen with potential health benefits.

Fair Trade and organic, you can buy this coffee knowing it not only tastes great, but is also sustainable and fair for all parties.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Chaga mushrooms support immune function
  • Can enhance concentration and focus
  • Fair Trade and certified organic
  • Pretty pricey

7. Café Altura Freeze-Dried Organic Instant Coffee

Cafe-Altura-Freeze-Dried-Instant-Organic-Coffee

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 7.06oz (2 jars)
  • Dimensions: 7.83 x 7.6 x 2.9 inches

Café Altura serves up a traditional organic instant coffee that’s well worth popping on your shortlist.

Another medium roast – the most common option by far for instant coffee – you’ll get pure arabica beans for a taste sensation, even if you’re not using a grinder and coffee machine.

Organic and non-GMO, this coffee is also certified Fair Trade, allowing you to buy with a clean conscience.

You get a couple of jars bundled, each containing up to 60 servings of coffee, depending on how heavy-handed you are when serving.

Not only does this coffee taste pretty good in the cup, it also makes a great choice if you need some powdered coffee for baking.

You will need to take a gamble on this coffee as no returns are allowed, but there is nothing outlandish about the taste or aroma likely to put you off, so you’ll be making a fairly safe bet.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Made from arabica beans
  • Organically grown and Fair Trade
  • Non-GMO
  • No returns permitted

8. WAKA Quality Instant Coffee

Waka-Quality-Instant-Coffee-Medium-Roas

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 0.1oz (8 packs)
  • Dimensions: 3 x 1.5 x 6 inches

WAKA makes some of the best tasting instant coffee you can find, so how does this particular blend stand and fall?

Off the bat, you’ll get an all-arabica blend, eliminating the cheaper robusta beans used in a lot of instant coffee. Robusta beans might be cheaper, but they are also inferior in terms of taste.

The single-serve sachets work well at home or for travel purposes. Each of the packs contains 8 sachets, giving you awesome freeze-dried coffee in seconds flat.

Both the flavor and the aroma of the medium roast arabica beans are preserved by the freeze-drying process, so you’ll get a strong and full-bodied coffee, even though you won’t be making it from scratch with freshly ground beans.

All the coffee is packaged in the United States, so you can buy with complete confidence and the knowledge you’ll be upping your instant coffee game substantially.

This coffee is ideal served hot, but it doesn’t make the smoothest fit for iced coffee, so consider the Starbucks we kicked off with instead if you prefer your coffee cold.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • All-arabica beans
  • Loaded with flavor and aroma
  • Packaged in California
  • Not ideal for iced coffee

9. Nescafe Instant Light Decaf Coffee

Nescafe-Instant-Coffee-Packets

Features

  • Roast: Light-medium
  • Weight: 0.06oz (80 packs)
  • Dimensions: 7.17 x 5.16 x 3.74 inches

Nescafe is a household name in the coffee vertical, but most of their coffee is really quite bad. Does this instant decaf conform to type or make a pleasant change?

Luckily, this is a pretty tasty decaffeinated coffee. You’ll never achieve the same depth of flavor with a decaf, and you’ll never get outstanding instant coffee, so you’ll be making these compromises with Instant Light. In return, though, you’ll enjoy a crisp and refreshing beverage with no caffeine at all.

Each pack comes stuffed with 80 single-serve sachets. While this means lots of plastic is involved in production, you can’t beat the convenience delivered.

Whether you want some coffee to drink late into the evening without worrying about disrupting your sleep patterns or you are simply intolerant to caffeine, Nescafe proves here that not all decaf coffee is tasteless swill.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Tasty decaf option
  • Single-serve convenience
  • Subtle taste and aroma
  • Uses lots of plastic

10. Folgers Classic Instant Roast

Folgers-Classic-Roast-Instant-Coffee-Crystals

Features

  • Roast: Medium
  • Weight: 8oz
  • Dimensions: 3.6 x 3.6 x 6.6 inches

No collection of the best tasting instant coffee is complete without an entry from legendary brand Folgers.

You can make over a hundred cups of joe from this 8oz container, with the neat flip-top lid keeping it fresher for longer while promoting easy access.

This is a classic medium roast which is caffeinated and quite aromatic, as well as reasonably flavorful.

As with all instant coffee, you’ll need to be reasonable with your expectations – you’ll never rival the results of freshly ground coffee beans with instant – but you might be surprised at just how good this stuff tastes.

A few disgruntled consumers complain that this coffee doesn’t respond well to being used for whipped coffee, so you might want to rethink if you make lots of the stuff.

Overall, this is one of the best tasting instant coffees out there and well worth a place on your shortlist.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Unbeatable brand image
  • Neat flip-top lid
  • Make up to 120 coffees
  • Doesn’t work for whipped coffee

II. FAQs

Arabica beans are the highest quality beans. Robusta beans are cheaper and of inferior quality. These are often used in instant coffees, and the resulting taste won’t rival that of coffee made from arabica beans. Whether you’re drinking instant coffee or grinding beans before brewing, arabica is the best bet.

2) Which is the best type of roast for instant coffee?

Medium roasts are the most commonly used for instant coffee, although light roasts also work well. You don’t find many dark roast instants, but we review one for you today if you fancy something extra-dark.

3) Does instant coffee contain much caffeine?

The caffeine content of coffee will vary considerably from brand to brand. The roast is also a factor, as well as how much coffee you put in your cup. As a rough guideline, instant coffee contains 26mg of caffeine per 100g of coffee granules.

4) Can you find instant coffee that’s decaffeinated?

Yes you can, and we review some decaf options for you above.

5) Is the water temperature critical when making instant coffee?

Heat your water to between 195F and 205F. If you don’t have a thermometer, boil the kettle and allow it to sit for 30 seconds. The water will now be the optimum temperature for making coffee. With instant coffee, the vast bulk of the flavor is already baked in, so the temperature of the water will not have the same impact as with other brewing methods like pour-over.

6) How does instant coffee differ from regular coffee?

The main differences are the production method, the caffeine content, the taste, the aroma, and the nutritional profile. The key draw of instant coffee is a long shelf-life and near-instant preparation. Instant coffee typically has less caffeine than brewed coffee made from freshly ground beans

7) Is it dangerous to consume too much caffeine?

It is inadvisable to consume more than 400mg of caffeine daily, 2 or 3 regular cups. Drink more than this and the caffeine levels can lead to insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, migraines, and digestive issues.

8) How can I improve the taste of instant coffee?

Use bottled or filtered water. Consider adding some sugar, milk, or creamer. Experiment with flavored syrups to get a tastier end result in your cup, even if you’re relying on the convenience of instant coffee.


III. Conclusion

We hope today’s guide to the best tasting instant coffee has shown you that not all freeze-dried instant tastes abominable.

Whether you’re looking for convenience first and foremost or you’re looking for coffee you can use when cooking, instant has a place and you now have a handful of great options delivering more taste and aroma than the average jar of instant coffee.

All that remains to do now is pick which one best suits and you can give the espresso machine a break.

Bookmark our blog as you head off today and pop back soon. We update our content daily so don’t miss out!

5/5 - (2 votes)

Leave a Comment