Ask coffee lovers if they love instant coffee, and you’ll get a judgy look in return. Regular coffee aficionados like their coffee freshly made and they usually don’t indulge in what instant coffee offers. Some would even say that instant coffee isn’t real coffee. Is it true? Let’s find out.
Is instant coffee real coffee? Yes, instant coffee is just the dehydrated form of regular coffee. It is made from coffee extract and is turned into instant coffee granules. As instant coffee is real coffee, it comes with the same health benefits which great for an inexpensive alternative. Also, with instant coffee, you don’t need any fancy coffee machines or equipment.
Is Instant Coffee The Same As Regular Coffee?
Yes, instant coffee is regular coffee.
Instead of making your coffee freshly, instant coffee is pre-made. It is a dehydrated version of regular coffee so that you can take your caffeine in a quick and inexpensive manner.
It is also a good choice for people who don’t have a lot of time to play. If you’re just trying out coffee, then instant coffee doesn’t have a barrier of entry.
We see a lot of hate for instant coffee from the coffee brewing camp. But not all of it is justified. Sometimes, it is okay to have instant coffee. You always don’t have to be a guy with a french press or percolator trying to get your perfect brew. Also, some people don’t want to invest a big sum in an espresso machine or something similar.
What Is Instant Coffee?
In simple terms, instant coffee is a type of coffee that is ready to use. You don’t have to brew it, just take a spoonful and add hot water and (or) milk to suit your style.
Instant coffee is made from coffee extract.
How Is Instant Coffee Made?
The coffee extract is made by a process that is very similar to the brewing of ground coffee beans. It can get more concentrated depending on your needs.
The next stage involves the removal of water from the coffee extract so that you end up with dry instant coffee granules or powder. This water removal process is done in a couple of ways.
Spray drying is the process of spraying coffee extract into hot air. The hot air should be around 480 degrees Fahrenheit and coffee concentrate is sprayed into it like a mist.
During this process, the water present in the extract evaporates, and the dry granules (known to us as instant coffee) fall on the ground.
Freeze drying is a bit more technical than spray drying and involves a few steps.
First, you have to cool down the coffee concentrate to about 20 F. At this stage, the extract turns into a slushie-like liquid. Now, this slushie is further cooled down to -40 F which makes the slushie into a slab of coffee ice.
When your coffee ice slabs are ready, they are sent into vacuum drying during which the ice vaporizes and you’re left with dry instant coffee granules.
The method used for making instant coffee doesn’t have any effect on the final product. The final instant coffee is more to do with the type of coffee bean chosen and other factors.
Also Read: Can You Instant Coffee With Cold Water?
Instant Coffee Benefits
Coffee is great as it comes with a lot of health benefits apart from its stimulating behavior.
As instant coffee is just regular coffee in its dehydrated form, it also brings drives the same benefits home.
Instant coffee comes with a lot of antioxidants and other goodies.
Antioxidants are great as they help in fighting free radicals. They can slow down the signs of aging and brings improvements in other areas.
Apart from antioxidants, instant coffee also comes with decent amounts of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B3 (niacin).
As we already said, instant coffee brings home a ton of benefits like
- Improving brain function
- Reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes
- Improving liver health
- Boosting metabolism
- Reduce signs of aging
- Improving mental health
Although instant coffee brings all these nice health benefits, it is important to keep your coffee intake optimal. Drinking anywhere from 2 to 4 cups of coffee is considered moderate, and should be optimal for the majority.
The good things also have a bad side.
Instant coffee comes with a harmful chemical called Acrylamide. This chemical is formed when coffee beans are roasted.
The bad news is that instant coffee comes with twice as much Acrylamide as regular coffee.
Consuming high amounts of Acrylamide can increase the risk of cancer and can also negatively affect your nervous system. Thankfully, if you keep your coffee consumption optimal, there’s nothing to worry about.
Instant Coffee’s Caffeine Levels
The amount of caffeine you find in instant coffee is less than what you find in regular coffee.
A lot of people consume coffee purely for caffeine and its stimulating effects. If you need a punch of caffeine without any compromise, then you should go for regular coffee.
At the same time, if you’re medically required to cut your caffeine intake, then instant coffee might be a pretty good choice.
Like anything, too much caffeine is not good for you. It can cause sleeplessness, anxiety, tremors, a racy heartbeat, and even an upset stomach.
Fun Fact – A cup of instant coffee can give you anywhere between 30 to 80 mg of caffeine whereas a cup of fresh coffee can give you between 90 and 140 mg of caffeine.
Also Read: Does Coffee Extract Have Caffeine?
Who Should Drink Instant Coffee?
If you’re new to the world of caffeine and want to get a taste of coffee, then instant coffee is a good place to start.
With instant coffee, you don’t have to learn fancy brewing techniques or invest in expensive coffee equipment.
Instant coffee is also a fine choice if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. In a hurry, you can make a quick cup of instant ground coffee and start your day right.
Who Shouldn’t Drink Instant Coffee?
If you are a sophisticated coffee drinker who chooses between arabica beans and robusta beans and has your own coffee maker, then you should never try instant coffee.
Freshly brewed coffee is way better than the best instant coffee you’ll find on the market. Even using espresso powder can be a bit of a downgrade for brewed coffee lovers.
Instant coffee is a no-go if you want more caffeine in your drink. Regular coffee comes with almost twice the amount of caffeine you would find in a cup of instant coffee.
The coffee flavor and taste of freshly brewed coffee are also miles better than instant coffee. This alone is a good enough reason to skip coffee powder and start brewing your coffee.
Is Instant Coffee Real Coffee? – Wrap Up
If you were wondering if instant is real coffee, it is.
We have explained how instant coffee is made, and the process involves using nothing but coffee extract. Instant coffee comes with less caffeine content when compared to regular coffee, but stacks up well in terms of health benefits.
If you’re looking to get real coffee that is inexpensive, easy to make, and takes less time, then instant coffee is a great place to start.