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Instant coffee

edited November 2023 in Off-Topic
Do coffee aficionados at MFO recommend instant coffee of a particular brand. I am looking to try out a few options after deciding I need to move on from my Joes coffee chain. I like the place but it’s time to try other things. It’s not you it’s me.

What’s the Greal Owl Honor Roll of instant coffees?


  • Hmmm ... none of it is particularly good. Via, from Starbucks, comes in several roasts and is a combination of microgrounds plus instant coffee. The idea is that the microgrounds create a coffee "feel" in your mouth.

    I know hikers who swear by Mount Hagen, which is reasonably affordable and comes in single-serve sachets. In general, it benefits from sitting for a couple minutes before you sip it. Still, some sniff and dismiss it as "good gas station coffee." (Personally I was always delighted by the heavily sugared-and-creamed stuff at my local tire shop.)

    The high end packets are priced distressingly like going to Starbucks. Look for names like Canyon and Verve.

    Barb, MFO's graphics wizard, does a Nespresso machine which is both better than and less wasteful that Keurig since Nespresso recycles their pods.

    Or, alternately, make good coffee. I buy beans from a little family roaster in Pittsburgh (Prestogeorge) which they roast daily, price fairly and ship promptly. I rather enjoy their light roast / dark roast blends: JP Hearty (named after their founder, John Prestogeorge), Symphony Blend and Scandinavian blend. Grind it fresh with a burr grinder. Use one ounce of coffee for four of the five-ounce cups of water. Brew it in a little Zojirushi drip machine.

  • Not a fan of instant coffee. We prefer to grind coffee beans from our local grocery stores. Out in the Pacific Northwest, WINCO grocery chain offers many flavors and at reasonable prices.

    In backpacking trips, we prefer teas instead.
  • edited November 2023
    ”Hmmm ... none of it is particularly good.”

    Ditto. Instant ain’t that good.

    The in-room coffee makers at hotels and limited amount of coffee don’t cut it. The stuff the hotel serves at their breakfast bar often tastes rancid or watered down. If time, I walk to a nearby Starbucks. Extra treat is a shot of caramel flavoring.

    As instant goes, I’ll take a small jar of whatever’s at home along. Prefer the crystals (Nescafé & others) over the finer stuff. A real glass / china cup in the luggage a must. If there’s a coffee maker in room, you at least have hot water. Adding a bit of your own instant to whatever they turn out adds some needed caffeine.
  • edited November 2023
    I do a lot of backpacking, canoeing and camping where holding down the weight is critical. I also love my coffee and I love it hot, dark roasted and black, dark-black if I can get it. When out and about I use Starbucks Via or Cafe Bustelo dark roast packets.

    However, recognizing that everyone's tastes are different, and agreeing with most of what the good professor posted earlier (with thanks for the additional brands to research) I offer you this article from All Recipes as a tool in your search. Good luck.

    p.s. I never drink instant coffee at home opting for my Nespresso machine or Emeril's Big Easy Bold K-cup Coffee if I'm in a rush. Otherwise I burr grind a local outfits dark roast Sumatra where the roaster person uses his nose rather than a cookbook recipe to judge when the beans are ready.
  • Instant dreck. Only the real thing is the real thing. I was going to post this yesterday, but I didn't want to be seen as the grouch that I really am. However- since others have broken the dike...
  • Somehow, in the household in which I grew up, the substance in question was referred to as « insipid instant. » Maybe the recent advances in coffee technology have left me in the dust, but I remain doggedly wed to the real thing.
  • edited November 2023
    It's all they drink in the Philippines. ALMOST impossible to find ground coffee. They all buy the hideously sweet break-open mini-packs of Nescafe Instant with ugly powdered "creamer" and the 3rd ingredient is way too much sugar. They will smile at you when you ask, and with a shit-eating grin, tell you: "it is water-soluble." Because some bastard in the Marketing Dept. instructed them never to use the word, "instant."

    Instant coffee is hideous.
  • Strong strong response. Love the convictions across the board and will have to learn to go ground up now.
  • This “bean-head” enjoys our Nespresso machine with Roma, Ristretto, Kazar, or Organic Peru coffee pods. Fill the water reservoir, heat the milk, or in my case 1% oatmilk, choose your desired pod, pop it in, press the button 2x, and as Jackie Gleason would say,”and away we go” - I think it was Gleason…
  • "How 'bout a little traveling music, Sammy?"
  • edited November 2023
    Since this thread is still percolating, I’d like to toss out that that instant coffee (“whatever’s at home”) I take along on travel is solely intended for the purpose of travel - or as a backup if my main brewing machine should fail. As a consequence, the contents of the jar are 3 + years old, which doesn’t seem to have affected the flavor any. At home I grind my own and than use a Bunn drip coffee maker for delicious coffee. Caffeinated in the morning. Decaf evenings. Also have a decent Keurig in the kitchen for when a single cup fills the bill.
  • French press. The ONLY way to make a decent cuppa. I have spoken!

  • @Old_Joe : You peeked my interest, so I ventured to Wikipedia. Do you follow those steps to brew your coffee ?
    Enjoy your brew, Derf
  • edited November 2023
    Hey there @Derf- good grief! I had no idea it was so complicated until I followed your lead and took a look at Wikipedia.

    No sir, not even close. We just buy freshly ground coffee, throw in a couple of scoops, add boiling water, wait a few minutes and then push down the little knob on the top.

    That pushes down a tight-fitting filter screen inside the pot, which forces all of the coffee grounds down to the bottom and keeps them there when you pour out the brew. Makes damned good coffee though. After breaking a couple of the glass ones we now use metal ones- they're like a thermos, and keep the coffee warm a long time.

  • edited November 2023
    Agree with @Old_Joe re: the taste of French press coffee but they are a bit messy to clean at my igloo. My septic system balks at the grounds so I only use one in the unfrozen time of the year when I can hose off the innards onto the yard and garden.
  • Since French got into the discussion, I’ll point out two verbs in English, to peek and to peak, and a third which is piquer in French. This verb means to poke or sting and has been borrowed by English in the expression to pique one’s interest. I doubt that spellcheckers can correctly distinguish among the three homophones. The foregoing has been brought to you by your Favorite Friendly French Teacher (ret.).

    I might try a French press if indeed there is one that can keep the brew hot.
  • For those that drink their favorite coffee. Do you add cream & or sugar (sweetner) ?
  • @BenWP- my spellchecker can't even distinguish between a homophone and a telephone.

    Yes, some of the stainless steel versions have a double-shell with a vacuum between them, much like metal thermos bottles.

    Check out this Amazon link.

  • @Derf- Black. I used to use tons of sugar, but quit because of borderline diabetes.
  • Thanks @Old_Joe: I had no idea so many devices were on the market.
  • edited November 2023
    Along those lines, black here. That’s why the taste of the coffee is so important. If I had my druthers I’d add a creamer (but no sugar). Unfortunately, every type of creamer I’ve ever tried has added a lot of unwanted calories. So cream + a shot of caramel is a delicious treat indulged in only occasionally while traveling.
  • I like the Coffee Mate original creamer. We take it with us on vacations.
  • edited November 2023
    That coffee apparatus posted by @Old_Joe looks as if it was designed by someone at Mission Control in Houston. “Beam me up, Scottie” .:)
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