Instant coffee can often be scoffed at by coffee snobs, but it can be a simple, reliable, and cost-effective means of getting your caffeine fix at home. Some instant coffees have also come a long way since the early days of instant and can get quite close to the real thing.
Whether you need your daily fix of coffee, looking forward to making iced coffees this summer, or even iced coffee popsicles, we have a closer look at instant coffee and how to choose a brew that suits you.
Know your beans
Whether you generally go for instant, ground, or whole beans, knowing your coffee beans can be a good skill to have.
There are two main types of coffee bean: Arabica and robusta. Arabica has a delightful flavour and plenty of character – it’s grown in Central and South America, Indonesia, Africa and India.
Arabica is generally sweeter and has more variation in flavour than robusta, as it can be influenced by the climate in which it is grown. It has been estimated that Arabica makes up 75 per cent of the world’s coffee production.
Robusta is a wild bush that can be found in Africa, Vietnam and parts of Indonesia. You should expect a heavier and less varied flavour from robusta, which doesn’t display regional variations as much as Arabica tends to. It’s sometimes added to cheaper blends to give them a ‘coffee kick’.
Take note of where your coffee is from and how it’s roasted
To know what to expect before you even open your packet, jar, or tin of coffee, you need to research the regional characteristics of the coffee beans.
The location of where Arabica beans are grown can impact the flavour profile, as well as how heavy or light the roast is. Here is how Arabica characteristics differ by region:
- Central and South America – nutty, fruity and rich with subtle hints of chocolate.
- Africa – crisp and fresh with bright acidity. Usually sourced from Kenya.
- Indonesia – rich and luxurious. A fairly high roast brings out the character of the bean.
The strength ratings you’ll see on packets aren’t about caffeine content, but how high the roast is. Typically, the stronger/higher the roast the more intense the flavour.
Get clued up on your options
There are now so many different types of instant coffee, including some stylish single-origin and micro-ground options to give your caffeine kick a touch more luxury.
However, some may be utterly underwhelming, including some of the pricier options, so look for reviews and guides to the best instant coffee before you buy.
Make it right
How you make your instant coffee can also affect how it tastes. To get the best from your instant, first avoid pouring freshly boiled water onto your coffee, as this can make it taste bitter. Wait for 10 to 20 seconds after the kettle has boiled before pouring.
Your milk preferences can also make quite a difference. Most experts prefer semi-skimmed milk, saying it works better than most plant-based milk options, but oat milk was the best of those. Full milk can create a heavier note.
Store your coffee properly
Always store your coffee in an airtight container, whether that’s the container it came in, or a glass, metal or plastic caddy. Keep it in a cool, dark spot out of direct sunlight to avoid having the flavourful essential oils evaporate. Do not keep coffee in the fridge, as the moisture present will ruin your coffee.
If you’re looking to explore that variety of tastes and experiences with your favourite brew and looking for discount coffee, visit our online store today.