If you’re older than let’s say 25, you’ve experienced an instant coffee that was pretty crappy. Am I right? In the last twenty or so years, coffee has come a long way from what it used to be. Or should I say that instant coffee has come a long way from what it used to be. I remember as a teen and early adult enjoying instant coffee out by the campfire. And I say “enjoy” loosely. I think it was the campfire, the ghost tales, the camp songs and the guitar strumming that I enjoyed most of all.
Plus the metal, ceramic coated mug that I drank my coffee out of. I can still smell the campfire. The burnt wood, and the coffee the sweet, milky smell of it. That’s because all those many years ago, to enjoy an instant coffee meant you had to adulterate it with a cow’s worth of cream and an acre of sugar beets worth of sugar! I kid you not.
But somehow it was part of the ambience and the joy and the experience of being out in the wild. But let’s face it, that’s also what most of us drank at home. At least 20 years ago or so. There was no fair trade instant coffee. You pretty much had your choice of Ovaltine or Nescafe instant coffee. Most times I chose the Ovaltine.
But times have changed and now it’s hard to choose a best instant coffee. The variety of choices is huge and the taste profiles of these coffees is terrific. As a matter of fact, it’s only been with practice that I was able to discern Starbucks instant coffee from their regular brew. And now they’ve introduced a decaf instant coffee to boot! Helpful for many folks, though I can have a double espresso as a night cap and sleep like a baby. But I know many folks need decaf in the evenings, and the powers that be have answered.
Better instant coffee
So the choice amongst instant coffee brands has increased exponentially, and what I’m really excited about and I hope you will be to is organic instant coffee. Who would have thunk it!
You can get the Mount Hagen organic freeze dried instant coffee at quite a reasonable price. As mentioned, you can get instant decaf coffee as well now and of course all the fabulous instant cappuccino flavored coffees that are available and have been available for some time. General foods makes reliable instant flavored coffee drinks that you just add a few teaspoons to hot water, stir and enjoy. I quite like them, but they are sweet and so should probably only be enjoyed in half cups or half mugs.
A bit of instant coffee history
Instant coffee was invented in 1901 by a Japanese fellow living in Chicago at the time. Coffee history is long and colorful. Basically, instant coffee is made from ground, roasted coffee beans which have had all soluble bits extracted. There are basically 2 main ways of doing it. Freeze dried instant coffee and spray dried instant coffee. Most coffee connoisseurs prefer the freeze dried method as it seems to mimic the brewed coffee flavor profile more accurately leaving out many of the bitter elements that can give away instant coffee’s pedigree.
I recommend most coffee lovers have a bottle or box of instant coffee just in case. I often throw instant coffee in my suitcase when traveling for a reliable cup of coffee wherever I might be!