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The process of brewing a fresh cup of coffee every morning can be fun and gratifying, to say the least. However, your busy schedule might not allow you to do this every day.
So what do you do when you crave for a full-bodied cup of Joe?
Well, with the emergence of instant coffee, you don’t have to fret anymore. Instant coffee allows you to make your favorite cup of rich, flavorful coffee within seconds – whenever you need it. All you need is a cup of warm or hot water and you are good to go.
In this guide, we look at NINE of the very best instant coffees, starting with our favorite – the Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast Coffee.
Here are the best instant coffees you can buy:
- Best Overall - Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast Coffee
- Runner up - Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals
- Best for Cappuccino - Hills Bros. Instant Cappuccino
- Best Gift Idea - Starbucks VIA Instant Very Berry Hibiscus
- Best Organic - Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Coffee
- Best for Decaf Coffee - Highground Organic Instant Decaf Coffee
- Best Budget - Nescafe Clasico Dark Roast
- Best Vanilla Flavor - Maxwell House International French Vanilla Café
- Best Columbian Medium Roast - Waka Coffee
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
Top 9 Best Instant Coffee (2021 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast Coffee
- Roast: Italian Dark Roast
- Weight: 0.11 ounces per packet
Starbucks is undeniably the largest coffeehouse chain in the world, hence it is not surprising at all that the Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast Coffee is our favorite pick.
The VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast is made from high-quality Arabica coffee bean to give it a rich and smooth flavor. In case you didn’t know, Arabica is the most popular type of coffee, and it is renowned for its deep, fruity flavor.
This instant coffee goes a notch higher by adding notes of caramelized sugar to the flavor, meaning you can look forward to enjoying tasty cups of coffee instantly whenever you need to satiate your craving.
What is even more appetizing is that you don’t need a grinder or a brewing machine to make your favorite cup of coffee. All you have to do is to tear open one packet of the Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Roast and pour it into a cup before adding hot water and sugar or milk to taste.
The whole box contains up to 50 packets of Starbucks instant coffee, enough to prepare 50 cups of great-tasting coffee.
However, it is worth noting that the caffeine content is relatively high, translating to about 140mg per serving. For this reason, this instant coffee might not be good for people with sleeping problems such as insomnia or for nursing moms.
Deep, rich and balanced taste
Quick and easy to make (requires hot water only)
Available in a compact, portable pack
One box contains 50 packets
High caffeine content
2. Runner Up - Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals
- Roast: Classic Roast
- Weight: 8 ounces
Folgers is an American brand that has been in the business of making rich, pure coffee for more than 150 years, and this classic roast instant coffee is just but one of their numerous flagship products.
This instant coffee comes in an 8-ounce, easy-to-open jar full of freeze-dried coffee crystals. One full jar can make up to 120 cups (6 fluid ounces each) of great-tasting coffee, making Folgers Classic Roast a popular choice with coffee snobs and addicts alike.
The coffee boasts of a conspicuous taste that can turn anyone into a coffeeholic. Moreover, the crystals are freeze-dried to preserve their taste and the nutritional value of your drink, meaning you can look forward to enjoying a full-bodied taste every time.
Making a cup of coffee has never been easier as these crystals tend to dissolve quickly even in lukewarm water. This is a great advantage especially if you don’t have immediate access to hot water.
Another highlight of this coffee is its versatility – you can use the Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee to make various caffeine-laced recipes.
The crystals dissolve smoothly in drinks, sauces and batters, and you can use Folgers Classic Roast to make creamy instant iced coffee, coffee & cinnamon fudge, and dishes such as Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Five-Spice Raspberry Sauce.
Can make up to 120 cups of delicious coffee
Freeze-dried to maintain its original full-bodied taste
Dissolves quickly even in lukewarm water
Convenient packaging for easy storage
Inexpensive instant coffee
Some people say it has a bitter, acidic taste
3. Best for Cappuccino - Hills Bros. Instant Cappuccino Mix
- Format: Cappuccino mix
- Weight: 12 ounces
If you love cappuccino, latte and other espresso-based drinks, then the Hills Bros Instant Double Mocha Cappuccino Mix is exactly what you need. As you can tell from its name, this instant coffee mix is tailored for making delicious cappuccino, and it can produce up to 28 cups of this decadent drink.
Making coffee with this instant coffee cappuccino mix is very easy. You don’t even need to add milk. All you have to do is add hot water and stir for a few minutes to experience the double mocha cappuccino flavor.
The ingredients are naturally and artificially flavored and sweetened with Splenda to create rich, frothy, and creamy coffeehouse cappuccino just the way you like it.
Moreover, this coffeehouse mix is extremely versatile, and you can use it to create other tasty beverages ranging from ice-blended cappuccino to double chocolate mocha. In fact, the jar comes with instructions and recipe suggestions on how to make different blends of coffee.
Even better, this double mocha mix is sugar-free, and it only has 8 grams of carbohydrates, making it ideal for diabetics or people on weight loss programs.
Quick to dissolve and very easy to use
Sugar-free instant coffee mix suitable for weight loss and diabetics
Can make up to 28 cups of delicious coffeehouse cappuccino
Sweetened with Splenda and other natural ingredients
Ideal for preparing other coffee blends
The jar is too small and runs out quickly
4. Best Gift Idea - Starbucks VIA Instant Very Berry Hibiscus
- Format: Instant refresher drink
- Weight: 4.13 ounces
Nearly all coffeeholics and coffee snobs have one thing in common – they love sharing their favorite drink. The Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee, Very Berry Hibiscus is a great gift to bestow your coffeeholic friend during a graduation party or a wedding anniversary.
It comes in a compact and convenient package, making it easy to store or carry around. One box contains up to six 20g packets of sweet and tangy coffee sticks flavored with green coffee extract.
Starbucks VIA dissolves quickly, and it is very easy to brew. Best of all, it has an extremely delightful taste that your friends will cherish long after the party is over. It has hints of lemongrass, sweet ginger and hibiscus, and when mixed with hot water, the burst of aroma will stimulate your senses to unimaginable levels.
Despite its sweet and tangy taste, this instant coffee has no added sugar or artificial flavors. Instead, it contains cane sugar, grape juice powder, citrus, vegetable juices and other natural flavors.
And in case you are losing weight, then this instant coffee is good for you. It does not contain significant amounts of carbohydrates (9 grams only) with zero saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
The only issue we have this coffee is that it’s a bit pricey, and you have to finish all six packs within one week after opening to enjoy them while they are still fresh.
Boasts of a delightful taste
Does not have any artificial additives or preservatives
Made with berry hibiscus for a sweet, tangy taste
Compact, convenient packaging for easy storage
Gift-table instant coffee
The price is a bit high for only six 0.70 oz packs
5. Best Organic - Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Coffee
- Format: Organic coffee
- Weight: 3.53 ounces
The Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee has always been a favorite for many coffee lovers. After all, it is 100% natural with no added artificial flavors or preservatives. The premium Arabica beans used to make this coffee are carefully grown and harvested in organic farms in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.
The production process is equally intricate to ensure the taste, flavor and aroma of the coffee remains as original as possible. Moreover, the beans are freeze-dried to preserve their full-bodied taste and aroma.
Mount Hagen coffee comes packaged conveniently in a jar, making it ideal for travelers, students and small families who prefer instant coffee. One jar of this instant coffee can make up to 60 servings, which is more than enough to serve you for two months depending on how frequent you drink your coffee.
To make the most of this organic instant coffee and attain the right flavor, you have to let it sit for a minute or two after mixing it in hot water. This will ensure all the freeze-dried granules dissolve completely. You can also add milk, cream or sugar to make your favorite blend of coffee.
Contains 100% organic ingredients
Can make up to 60 cups of delicious coffee
Freeze-dried to maintain its original full-bodied taste
Comes in a glass jar for longer shelf life
Convenient packaging for easy portability
Requires at least two teaspoons for a strong cup of coffee
6. Best for Decaf Coffee - Highground Organic Instant Decaf Coffee
- Format: Organic Instant Coffee
- Weight: 3.53 ounces
If you want to wake up every morning to the intense aroma of great-tasting decaf coffee, then consider buying the Highground Organic Instant Decaf Coffee.
This instant coffee is ground from carefully sourced organic Arabic coffee beans and roasted to perfection.
The coffee goes through the CO2 process, which is as gentle as the Swiss-water process, to decaffeinate and preserve the coffee’s organic profile. It boasts of a rich, well-balanced flavor profile, making it ideal for people of all ages. And since it only contains 92mg of caffeine per cup and it is abalone-free, anyone can drink it, including kids.
But that’s not all….
It comes in a new, updated glass jar for convenient storage and extended shelf life. Best of all, the Highground Organic Instant Decaf Coffee is exceptionally versatile, and you can use it to make your favorite coffee blends such as Dalgona and other frothy coffee drinks.
Can make up to 60 cups of delicious coffee
Decaffeinated using the CO2 process to maintain its organic profile
Convenient packaging for easy storage
Versatile instant coffee works well with other blends
Some people claim it has a strong, bitter aftertaste
7. Best Budget - Nescafe Clasico Dark Roast
- Roast: Dark Roast
- Weight: 7 ounces
If you want to enjoy a good cup of coffee without spending much, then consider buying the Nescafe Clasico Dark Roast Instant Coffee.
Although the Nescafe Clasico is available at a lower price, it does not compromise on quality. This mild, smooth, dark roast coffee balances price with a taste that’s similar to the “real deal”. It has a rich, full-bodied flavor as freshly brewed coffee, and you’ll never know you are drinking instant coffee.
Nescafe is made from 100% coffee beans responsibly sourced and harvested with no artificial additives or preservatives. The company works with agronomists and coffee farmers around the world to ensure responsible and sustainable farming.
You do not have to wait to sip your favorite cup of coffee. The Nescafe Clasico is very easy to prepare as the coffee granules dissolve quickly within seconds.
Besides, it comes in a glass jar with a plastic lid that is easy to open and store. One jar of this rich-flavored instant coffee is 7 ounces, and it can make up to 100 cups or even more!
Can make up to 100 cups of delicious coffee
Made using responsibly sourced Arabica coffee
Comes in a glass jar for extended shelf life and easy storage
Does not have a bitter aftertaste
Not ideal for people who prefer high caffeine content
8. Best Vanilla Flavor - Maxwell House International French Vanilla Café
- Format: French Vanilla Café
- Weight: 8.04 ounces
Creamer drinkers will love the Maxwell House International French Vanilla Café. This instant coffee is made in the USA, and it has managed to stay strong in the market for years thanks to its quality and delicious taste. We promise you will never get enough of this French vanilla drink, as the taste and aroma are consistently great.
Making a cup of great-tasting coffee has never been easier. After all, the Maxwell House instant coffee does not require any grinders, brewers or even the best coffee makers to make an excellent mug of coffee. All you need is a cup of hot water and you are good to go!
It comes in a convenient 8.4-ounce canister capable of making up to 17 cups of delicious, creamy French vanilla flavor coffee. The re-sealable canister is made out of plastic for easy opening and to preserve the freshness of the coffee.
The best part is that the Maxwell House International French Vanilla Café is exceptionally versatile. Apart from making a good, creamy cup of Joe, you can use it to make other blends such as Cappuccino, Latte, decaf coffee and iced-coffee.
Contains instant coffee mixed with rich French vanilla flavor
Can make up to 17cups of delicious, creamy coffee
Comes in a re-sealable plastic canister for easy storage and extended shelf life
Very easy to use (requires hot water or milk to make)
Works well with other coffee blends
Contains artificial flavors
9. Best Columbian Medium Roast - Waka Coffee
- Roast: Medium Roast
- Weight: 0.8 ounces
For many coffee lovers, instant coffee has a reputation of leaving a bad aftertaste in the mouth since it does not taste like the “real thing”. The ingredients normally lose their potency during the production process. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Waka Columbian Medium Roast Instant Coffee.
Unlike other types of instant coffee, Waka tastes like fresh brew. It is made from 100% Arabica coffee beans renowned for their deep flavor. To preserve its original taste, these coffee beans are freeze-dried during the production stage. This ensures the coffee maintains its rich, smooth, full-bodied taste.
Waka Instant Coffee is easy to make since it does not require any grinders or coffee machines. The granules dissolve extremely fast, ensuring you get your rich, flavored drink in less than a minute.
Top-rated by professional reviewers, the Waka Columbian Medium Roast Instant Coffee is also versatile, and you can use it to make other blends such as Dalgona coffee.
Unfortunately, this medium roast coffee comes in a 0.8oz pack, which can only make 8 servings per pack. This means you have to buy several packs to avoid running out of your favorite instant brew.
Made from 100% Arabica coffee beans
Freeze-dried to maintain a rich, smooth, full body taste
Dissolves quickly and tastes like a fresh brew
Does not contain any additives
Inexpensive instant coffee
Can make 8 servings only
Truth be told! Coffee can be so addictive, and you never know when the craving for this delicious brew will arrive. However, the process of brewing fresh coffee can be a long and protracted journey for coffeeholics like us.
The good news is that with the availability of instant coffee, you can now prepare and enjoy your favorite brew in seconds.
However, the big question remains. What is the best instant coffee in the market right now?
If you prefer Cappuccino or Dalgona Coffee, then the Hills Bros Instant Cappuccino Mix and the Waka Instant Columbian Medium Roast Coffee are your surest bets.
Our top pick is the Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Dark Roast Coffee. This instant coffee has a rich and smooth taste, and it is very easy to make. What’s more, one box comes with 50 packets, enough to make 50 cups of great-tasting coffee.
Try it today!
How to Choose the Best Instant Coffee?
Since instant coffee is a reconstituted product, you shouldn’t expect it to have the same taste like a fresh brew. However, some brands come close, and that’s why buying the right instant coffee can go a long way to ensure you enjoy your drink just the way you like it. Here are a few points to consider when buying instant coffee:
Type of Instant Coffee
We can classify instant coffee into three categories, including:
- Spray-dried instant coffee – This type is made by spraying hot and dry streams of air through low quality coffee beans to produce fine, rounded granules. The coffee loses a lot of flavor during the production process, hence this type of coffee is usually cheaper.
- Freeze-dried instant coffee – As suggested by its name, the coffee extract is frozen to –ve 40 degrees, cut into granules and then dried at low temperature in a vacuum. This method uses higher quality beans such as Arabica, and it preserves most of the flavor during production.
- Chicory-based instant coffee: Chicory is a different plant to coffee, but it is normally sold as instant coffee. Some coffee brands often add chicory to their instant coffee as an ingredient.
Type/Origin of Coffee Bean
There are 2 main types of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Arabic is sweet with fruity notes, and it accounts for 60% of the coffee we drink around the world. On the other hand, Robusta grows in lower altitude areas and it is best known for its high caffeine content and bitter taste.
Level of Roast
The level of roasting also determines the overall taste of the coffee. Coffee beans can be roasted light, medium and dark, with light roast having the highest caffeine content and dark roast with the lowest caffeine. The label on the instant coffee package should indicate whether the coffee is light, medium or dark roast.
It is important to check the caffeine levels if you are managing an underlying health condition or you are a nursing mom. Instant coffee with high levels of caffeine is not ideal for people with conditions such as insomnia and diabetes. Lactating or pregnant mothers and children should also avoid drinking caffeinated drinks.
Additives and Flavors
Some types of instant coffees have added flavors such as hibiscus, citrus, lemonade, and berries to enhance the taste and aroma. Other types include additives such as crema, sugar and mocha tailored for special blends such as Dalgona, Cappuccino and Latte.
The packaging has a bearing on the shelf life of coffee. It will also determine how easy it is to store your coffee after use. if you travel a lot, then go for a brand with convenient packaging for easy portability and storage.