There is no doubt that we live in fast-paced world. We are opting for things that are quick and convenient more and more. I remember when I was a kid that my mom used to warm up milk in a pot before we bought our first microwave. Today, I don’t want to wait more than the 60 seconds it takes warm up a glass of milk in the microwave. What about coffee? Is there a technique that we can use to make coffee quickly to keep up with our busy schedule? In today’s post I want to look at something most of us have at least heard of before if not tried – instant coffee.
The taste and caffeine levels of instant coffee do not compare to brewing coffee using one of the traditional methods. Having said that, instant coffee sales are very good. There are some people that only drink instant coffee. In fact, a few years ago Starbucks launched an instant coffee product called VIA.
Let’s have a look at instant coffee and some of its advantages.
What is Instant Coffee?
Invented in 1881 by Alphonse Allais of France, instant coffee gained popularity when it was given as part of the rations given to soldiers during wartime. Instant coffee is a drink made from brewed coffee beans. I like to think of it as dehydrated coffee that can be made quickly by adding hot water to the powder and stirring. Instant coffee comes in powder or granulated form.
There are essentially two ways that instant coffee is produced; freeze-drying or spray-drying after which it can be rehydrated.
- Spray-drying: This is the most common drying process which involves spraying the liquid coffee into a stream of hot, dry air. By the time the coffee droplets fall, they become a dry powder.
- Freeze-drying: In freeze-drying, the coffee extract is frozen to about -40 degrees C and then cut into granules. The granules are then dried at low temperatures and under vacuum.
Examples of some brands of instant coffee include Nescafe, Maxwell House and Starbucks VIA.
Some of the advantages of instant coffee include fast preparation time, longer shelf life and no cleanup since there are no coffee grounds.
With instant coffee, you have a drink that is low in caffeine. If you find that your need a stronger cup of coffee then adding an additional spoonful or two of the instant coffee powder to your drink should give you the added kick that you require. Instant coffee is also very low in oils, which is a good thing if you are keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels. In terms of the taste – instant coffee tastes weaker than other methods of brewing coffee and it is not as flavourful.
Is instant coffee for you? Again, the answer comes down to individual preferences. Some don’t like it while others can’t live without it. One thing is for certain though, this is a great drink for those people who are looking for convenience.
What are your experiences with instant coffee? Do you enjoy it? Is there a particular brand that you like? I would love to hear your opinions.