Assessment of instant coffee

“We’ve secretly replaced the fine coffee this restaurant normally serves with instant coffee. Let’s see how the guests react…”

Back in the 70s there were a number of commercials that started this way. Where an upscale eatery would replace their gourmet coffee with a popular instant coffee brand. They would buy the patron’s dinner and then tell them they were drinking instant coffee. The patrons that were filmed usually said things like “Is this instant? I couldn’t tell” or “This is the best coffee I have ever had!”. These people were obviously delusional.

Instant coffee is an interesting abomination that has noble beginnings and goes terribly wrong by the time it reaches the store. First, the creators of this evil brew start with quality coffee. Sometimes it’s Colombian, sometimes it’s Kona, sometimes it’s good old American blends. It’s fresh brewed and quite pleasing, of course, no one will get to drink it yet.

It’s then put through a process of freezing and dehydration which slowly removes anything that’s good from the coffee (except for the caffeine, thankfully.) It’s then placed in tiny packets for single serving use, or jars to be spooned out by people with low standards and not enough time.

If you’ve ever had a cup of real coffee from a peculator, regular coffee maker, or even Starbucks you know how coffee should taste. So, imagine polishing off a nice tall mug of that and following it up with something like instant. The first thing you’ll notice is that it tastes very much like the water you’re drinking.

This is because the coffee cannot fully saturate the water that well. You’ll probably have to use either two packets (or two spoonfuls from the jar) to get the full flavor you’d expect from your regular coffee. But, don’t worry because eventually you’ll get to taste the coffee. Then, you’ll get to taste the aftertaste which will taste of metal, then you’ll get another aftertaste, and usually a third.

Coffee is only meant to have one flavor: it’s own (and perhaps the flavor of cream and/or sugar if you’re so inclined). It should not have a flavor that will outlast the plastic jar it came in.

Instant coffee is a sure sign that society has gotten way too lazy. If someone really needs a cup of coffee that bad and they don’t want to take the time to brew their own, they can always drive to the local coffee shop and pick up one there. It’s not that hard – and if you’re hungry, you can usually get a nice biscotti to go with it.

Of course, there’s an even greater evil out there: Instant Decaf – but, that’s a topic for another article.