What is the Best Instant Coffee? Our Picks!

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A lousy day with coffee is better than a good day without it. 

While the tantalizing aroma and taste of freshly brewed coffee are like no other, let’s not get judgemental about instant coffee; it’s what comes to the rescue when you’re in a rush, and you don’t have the time to brew a pot in the morning or rush to a coffee shop.

The sheer number of options available for instant coffees is overwhelming. Some of the top instant coffee brands are determined to provide quality caffeine, making it smooth and with a rich flavor.

So, why settle for a decent cup of joe when you can have some of the best instant coffees?! But, of course, finding one that can compare to a freshly brewed cup might be difficult. 

Here’s a list of the best instant coffee brands that come close to it, though.

Mount Hagen Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

You can count on this medium roast, freeze-dried, Fairtrade sourced coffee for your morning dose of caffeine. Just stir a scant spoonful of Mount Hagen freeze-dried instant coffee into a mug of hot water, and you’ll have a pleasing brew.

Ethically sourced and gently processed to reflect Papua New Guinea’s flavors, fresh Arabica coffee beans are gently roasted, cultivated, and refined to make this product. 

Small-scale farmers from the countries of origin and ecologically-cultivated coffee benefit the farmers. What you get is a coffee that you enjoy guilt-free.

Although slightly more commercialized than other microbands, Mount Hagen maintains sustainability, with every glass jar being 100% recyclable. 

The other packaging options apart from glass jars are doypack bags and single-serve packets.

Drink it black or with creamer, or mix it with cold water and add ice cubes for iced coffee; you’ll have a good flavor that’s less acidic. This product has overwhelmingly positive reviews, with one customer saying the flavor is better than brewed coffee. 

A 3.53-ounce jar makes 60 cups of coffee.

Four Sigmatic Instant Coffee with Lion’s Mane

As weird as it may sound, the shroomy folks at the Finnish-origin Four Sigmatic have crafted this instant coffee with lion’s mane for the added benefits of mushrooms. 

Promising more than a regular cuppa joe, the blend of 100% organic Arabica coffee beans and Chaga and lion mane’s mushroom powder makes an instant blend that’s vegan and organic.

Apart from the intrinsically creamy, almost dessert-like appeal, it’s also got nootropic benefits. 

Timothy Ferriss, the American entrepreneur, mentioned it boosts his concentration and creativity.

Organically certified, the mushrooms are sourced from all over the world, emphasizing quality. It’s probably not got the best aroma, but the mushroom taste does get masked by the familiar notes of medium roast coffee. Each box has 10 instant coffee packets.

Trader Joe’s 100% Colombian Instant Coffee

This is a good pick if you want to make a cup of iced latte or the famous Dalgona coffee. 

Going by the label, Trader Joe’s 100% Colombian instant coffee tastes amazingly close to a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

A heaping spoon of this, with boiling water and cream, is liquid velvet. It’s pretty affordable, and unlike other instant coffee flavors, there’s a hint of caramel and dark chocolate aromas. 

This Colombian beverage tastes fresh!

Waka Coffee Medium Roast

This medium roast instant coffee is made of 100% Arabica beans that are smooth and sweeter than the bitter and harsher Robusta beans. 

With freeze drying, the coffee extract made from the beans is frozen; the liquid is then sucked out by a vacuum, turning the ice to steam.

Waka Coffee medium roast shows that you mustn’t underestimate freeze-dried coffee, as the process helps retain the flavor and smell of the coffee beans. 

This could very well be your favorite instant coffee, with its well-balanced, smooth, citrus-forward flavor.

The packaging comes in various sizes; you could start with the 8-pack or go for the 24-pack, with individual servings, making it easier to take along for travel. There’s also the 3.5-ounce pack and 8-ounce pack if you’re a big fan of this coffee.

You’ll be glad to know that Waka donates 4% of its sales to support clean water initiatives through Add Water, Give Water program. 

Also, their thoughtful packaging uses post-consumer recycled material; the recyclable boxes are made from sustainably sourced paper.

Trung Nguyen G7 3 in 1 Instant Coffee

A unique product compared to the other instant coffees listed thus far, the Trung Nguyen G7 3 in 1 has single-serve packets filled with high-quality coffee powder, sugar, and non-dairy creamer.

This Vietnamese coffee is made by a patented dry roast process, not freeze-drying, pre-brewing, or concentrating coffee. 

It’s a combination of hi-tech and oriental secret techniques. With its fascinating flavor and charming aroma, you could whip up a hot coffee or even a cold one.

It’s got several positive reviews, with a customer commenting that it tastes better than Starbucks Columbia. The aroma and taste are rich and not bitter.

Cusa Coffee Vanilla Dark Roast Cafe

Combine Madagascar vanilla beans with powerful yet smooth dark roast Arabica beans, and voila! There’s Cusa Vanilla Dark Roast Cold Brew. The best part is that you can sip this cold brew hot or iced.

The beans are sourced from a single, shade-grown, high-altitude, Rainforest Alliance Certified plantation, with organic farming practices and regenerative agriculture. The patented cold brew process preserves the flavor and quality of the coffee.

Complementing the coffee’s caramel and burnt sugar flavor notes is the soothing flavor of vanilla. You’re bound to be reminded of baked goods, or better yet, a liquid chocolate chip cookie.

You can carry these individual serve packets on the go and avoid spending on cold coffee at overpriced coffee shops. 

So not only is this an instant coffee, it’s an instant cold coffee too!

Cafe Altura Organic Fair Trade Decaf Instant Coffee

An exclusive blend, the Cafe Altura decaf instant coffee has organically grown Arabica coffee beans sourced from 3 continents – South America, Asia, and Africa. 

This coffee is USDA Organic, fair trade, non-GMO, Kosher certified, and taste-a-licious.

The proprietary freeze-drying process preserves the natural coffee flavor and aroma. It’s the perfect pick if you’re a health and environmentally conscious coffee drinker.

There aren’t many options for instant decaf coffee as there are for organic, fair trade coffee. 

It makes a great alternative to regular roast bean coffee for those who want to switch to decaf. As per customer reviews, it tastes like freshly brewed coffee and has an almost chocolatey taste, with no bitter aftertaste.

If you’ve been underestimating the flavor of instant decaf coffee, this is a must-try to help you change your mind.

Douwe Egberts Pure Gold Instant Coffee

When a brand has been making coffee for about 250 years, you can be certain they know what they’re doing and expect nothing but some of the best coffees. This is exactly what Douwe Egberts’ Pure Gold Instant Coffee is!

This is a unique Dutch coffee that is freeze-dried and medium roast. It has been made from the finest beans blend and roasted using Douwe Egberts’ expertise. 

As per the many positive customer reviews, it doesn’t have an overpowering or bitter taste. Another customer claims to have never had coffee but got addicted to this after a single sip.

The only con for this amazingly smooth instant coffee would be its cost, that too for just 7.05 ounces.

Jacobs Kronung Instant Coffee

This one is from yet another premier coffee brand. The Jacobs Kronung instant coffee is a product of Germany. This is supposedly one of the finest Jacobs coffee.

With a superior taste, there is a decent punch in its flavor. 

Experienced roast masters constantly check the roasting process. This soluble Jacobs Coronation is the ideal element to add zest into your everyday life, for small breaks, and even while traveling or on vacation.

This product can be used for making basic instant coffee or even iced instant coffee. 

While it’s a little pricey compared to brewed coffee, it definitely costs less than a Starbucks cold brew. A satisfied customer even stated that it has an excellent flavor and texture, just like brewed coffee.

Starbucks VIA Instant Italian Roast

No list of coffees seems complete without including one from the coffee giant – Starbucks. 

Based on your taste buds, Starbucks could be either famous or infamous with its signature robust, distinct coffees.

What you get from the Starbucks VIA instant Italian roast is a deeper and darker flavor, notably sweet undertones contributing to its overall depth. 

The use of 100% Arabica coffee beans of the highest quality and the in-house cafe brews keeps the taste fresh. A dash of cream and sugar transforms it into a great cup of coffee with its own depth of flavor.

This is 100% ethically sourced coffee, in partnership with Conservation International. Grab this Italian roast if you like an instant espresso, but without the coffee maker!

While there’s definitely a punch in this coffee, if you’re a coffee drinker who enjoys the pungent, robust richness of dark roasts, you might not get that sensation with this one, as per reviews. 

It’s also expensive when compared to other brands.

Maxwell House the Original Roast Instant Coffee

When Maxwell House says good to the last drop on their label, they mean it!

As a classic American coffee brand, the Maxwell House Original Roast Instant Coffee gets the job done in providing you with piping hot coffee.

This is available at quite an affordable price compared to other large brands. 

A single 8-ounce jar of liquid caffeine can make up to 120 cups of coffee. The brand also describes this medium Kosher blend as incredibly smooth, with the custom roasted coffee beans emanating a classic taste.

Among the many positive customer reviews, the common one is its affordability and it being just as good as other, more expensive blends. This dark blue jar of caffeine goodness can be found at most grocery and online stores.

Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Style Instant Coffee

If you’re fond of Italian-style espresso, you’ll be delighted with Medaglia D’Oro espresso-style instant coffee. 

Since its debut in America close to a century ago, in 1924, it has been a traditional favorite.

It was the Italian-American families to make this their favorite coffee, as it was a commemoration of a small sliver of home to them. 

Each jar (usually a 1-2 ounce jar) has the finest quality coffee beans, emanating a rich, aromatic espresso flavor. Americans love their americanos and espressos (from cappuccino adagio to demitasse presto to Caffe Sambuca). This coffee is bound to be a favorite once you’ve given it a ‘shot’.

With a 4.8 star rating, 89% of customers have given it a 5-star rating. An Amazon reviewer shares her opinion on this coffee, saying it has the same full-body smoothness as any non-instant coffee. The wonderful flavor has no bitter aftertaste either.

This instant coffee is nothing but delizioso! It’s an authentic Italian romance of delicate flavors and dark, bold beauty.

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee

While Folgers may not have had success with their first instant coffee in 1953, the second time around in 1958 led to the Folgers Classic Roast instant coffee! 

Their classic red jar displaying the mountains and a peering sun is sure to catch your eye.

Supposed to be their best instant espresso product, this jar of medium roast has convenient coffee crystals that you can gulp down in a jiffy. At Folgers, they choose the beans for optimal flavor and double-dry them for a deeper, even taste. 

An 8-ounce jar makes up to 120 cups.

All it needs is hot water or milk, and you’ll have a satisfying, balanced cup of joe. It’s also got an impressive number of 5-star reviews, with almost 80% of the customers praising its taste and aroma, apart from the highly convenient and instant preparation process.

Anthony’s Organic Instant Coffee

Many of us are quite conscious about our food and beverage intake, preferring organic items. 

There’s a good range of organic coffees available these days, as brands cater to customers’ varying requirements. Anthony’s Organic instant coffee is one such premium organic instant coffee option.

This micro-ground coffee is made from Arabica beans from the tallest mountains of Latin America. Being USDA organic means, it is non-GMO and is also gluten-free.

Anthony’s is also keen on replacing the term ‘teaspoons’ with ‘coffeespoons,’ going by their reasoning that tea is equivalent to 3 cylinders, while coffee is equivalent to 12 cylinders. 

The best part is this organic instant coffee can be used for various dessert preparations. For example, make a coffee cake with caramel frosting, chocolate mocha brownies, or chocolate mocha almond butter, the recipes of which are available on their site.

Nescafe Taster’s Choice House Blend Instant

Some coffee brands are evergreen and never fail to impress, iincluding Nescafe!

The Nescafe Taster’s Choice House Blend Instant has been crafted more elegantly to impress. This is one of their signature blends, in which the mildly roasted beans are flash-frozen for enhanced smoothness.

With 80 years of freeze-dried coffee development, what you get from this jar of Nescafe is an ultra-smooth and balanced cup of coffee. Crafted with 100% real coffee beans, they’re roasted carefully, ensuring the full flavor and aroma is captured for each blend. 

A 7-ounce jar makes up to 105 cups of coffee.

While there are mixed reviews about it, especially with coffee snobs ridiculing instant coffee, there’s one customer claiming she drinks it the moment she wakes up, to right before she goes to bed; drinks it hot, cold, and even sprinkles it on ice cream. Now, that’s a devoted customer indeed.

Highground Organic Instant Coffee

Yet another contender in organic coffee making is the Highground Organic instant coffee, a medium roast that uses 100% Arabica beans. 

The coffee grounds possess a fresh, intense, and rich flavor.

This product of Spain works perfectly to make an iced coffee or Dalgona coffee. It’s Kosher, vegan, certified organic, and fair trade. 

The sustainably sourced beans are freeze-dried in a format perfect for hot and iced coffee.

One customer describes it to have a medium to mild flavor, not bold like most dark roasts that feel like a punch in the face. Along with great flavor, it has low acidity and is gentle on the stomach.

Juan Valdez 100% Colombian Classic Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee

The Colombians sure know how to make a fantastic cup of joe. The Juan Valdez freeze-dried Colombian premium coffee claims to be a direct competition to the Starbucks Columbia Roast. 

This BuenDia Classic coffee is quite aromatic and irresistible.

Although it’s got a medium acidity, the texture sets it apart from other Colombian coffees. The well-balanced, medium body makes it distinguishable. Several Amazon reviewers have mentioned this as a pleasant change from the typical dark and bold blends.

One reviewer even says that there is no discernible taste difference between this coffee and freshly brewed coffee. Another chef and coffee lover with about 8 different coffee-making devices finds this the best instant coffee with a great aroma and satisfying coffee experience.

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style Dark Roast Instant Coffee

A unique Latin coffee by a brand founded over a century ago, Cafe Bustelo Espresso style dark roast instant coffee is a Latin-style espresso. 

It makes a full-bodied, rich and intense coffee, giving you the much-needed punch to get you going in the mornings.

You’ll find nutty and sweet notes, almost chocolatey. It’s also one of the market’s most accessible instant coffee brands. Yet, despite its surging popularity, it remains an affordable option. 

With or without cream or sugar, or even for a whipped coffee, this is one bold sabor latino.

Among the amazingly vast 5-star ratings, one customer prefers this over most drip coffees any day, even over most coffees made in a French press. Another customer mentions its taste as nutty, rich, earthy, and caramelized heaven.

Final Thoughts

While the fact remains that instant coffee might not compare to the deliciousness of manual brewed coffee, the instant coffee options available in the market today are highly appreciable. 

Moreover, there are some really good, superior-quality products that are bound to fulfill your caffeine needs.

A coffee with bold flavor and a pleasant smell doesn’t have to be always brewed. On the days when you’re busy or lazy to make yourself a regular brew, go for one of the instant options we’ve listed; you’re bound to be more than satisfied and want more.

Photo of author


Jeff Stone
Jeff is a coffee aficionado. He loves a couple cups of joe first thing in the morning. He like trying out new grounds and gear and then writes about it here. When he is not sipping java, he is usually writing it for his clients as a software engineer.

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