Want to hear the shortest horror story? You are out of coffee. Don’t worry; Coffeenom is here to present a simple, quick, and affordable way for instant coffee production.
Yes, It meets all the criteria for being accessible: cheaper, faster, and easier to make.
Instant coffee may taste inferior to freshly brewed coffee. But they, too, have their fans. Don’t fall for the myth that it isn’t real coffee.
To make you understand, here’s a guide about how instant coffee is produced.
How Is Instant Coffee Produced?
Let’s start by debunking a popular myth: “instant coffee isn’t real coffee”.
The production method of instant coffee is similar to regular coffee. The coffee farmers carefully select green coffee beans. Then they mix, roast, grind and prepare the beans into a ready-to-brew, soluble coffee.
What’s unique about instant coffee is that they brew it into a concentrated liquid. The water content is then removed by drying. The two most common drying processes are freeze-drying and spray-drying. The drying process turns coffee extract into coffee grounds, which is then used to make a delicious cup of coffee.
The idea of instant coffee started long before its invention. The instant coffee that we know is a product of revolution. Back in 1771, the British invented a ‘coffee compound’.
In America during the civil war (1853), the soldiers used instant coffee named ‘cakes.’ It helped them fight the battle. In 1890, David Strang from New Zealand invented instant coffee. It was instantly water-soluble granules. He used dry-hot air for his manufacturing process.
After two years, Satori Kato, a Japanese-American, invented instant coffee powders using a different method. It was a unique process also suitable for making instant tea.
The first commercialized brand of instant coffee was George Washington coffee. George Constant Louis Washington marketed it in America around 1910. It became popular among soldiers during World War I.
Washington coffee had a competitor with superior taste named Nescafe around the 1930s. Soon in 1938, it became the most famous brand.
The instant coffee we now drink is a result of freeze-drying. This process was first invented in 1960. Freeze-drying preserves the coffee aroma.
Instant coffee made it possible to turn many tea lovers into regular coffee drinkers. Today, 50% of the world’s coffee consumption is credited to the instant coffee market.
The taste of the coffee depends on the quality of the main ingredient: the coffee bean. There is a gradual difference between coffee beans and coffee. Both better and worse variants are there, regardless of the preparation method the coffee has.
The main two types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta. Coffee Arabica is relatively difficult to grow and, therefore, often gives smaller harvests. But it is also considered to be tastier and superior in quality than Robusta.
Coffee Robusta has a lower production cost with a more bitter and earthy taste. The majority of instant coffee comes from Robusta coffee beans. However, there is instant coffee made from Arabica coffee beans too.
You are reading about an instant process for coffee production. To know more about the mass production process, read out our coffee production process article.
Green beans are collected and roasted until they turn brown. Roasting brings out the flavors, aroma, and taste out of the beans. The roast coffee beans expand in size and crack. The degree of roasting for instant coffee is usually medium to dark roasts.
After roasting, the roasted coffee beans are ground into smaller pieces. Grinding increases the surface area of coffee, which facilitates brewing. So that you get the amazing aroma extracted. For instant coffee, the beans are usually coarsely ground.
The brewing step is familiar to all of us. The ground coffee bean is mixed with water under controlled temperature and pressure, then brewed. No, not in a coffee machine that we use. The brewing process uses a huge size tank, holding about 1 million cups of coffee. Brewing extracts the taste and flavor.
The brewed extract undergoes a process that makes it condensed. There are three ways to do so, evaporation, centrifugation, and freezing concentration. The resulting liquid is 50% more concentrated. Just like making custard at home, you are left with a thick syrup-like coffee extract.
Do you want a strong coffee? Then this step is for you. The dehydration process turns the liquid coffee extract into a coffee solid. The dry piece of coffee is so strong that you can enjoy its bites.
The concentrated coffee is dehydrated either using freeze-drying or spray-drying.
In the freeze-drying process, the liquid concentrate is frozen at -104 to -122 °F, which results in a thin layer. The layer is broken up into small pieces. We call them coffee crystals. The crystals are then vacuum-dried to remove the remaining moisture content.
In spray drying, the coffee concentrate turns into dry coffee powder within seconds. Imagine spraying something from a height into a hot drying chamber.
Automated wheels are used, which rotate at a high speed. Spray wheels are used so that the walls of the drying chamber don’t collect the instant coffee granules, So the droplets become powder before landing on the floor. The powder only contains 2-4% moisture after going through the drying step.
The freeze-drying process preserves most of the flavors, while more of it is lost in spray-drying. It gives you fine instant coffee particles, whereas we get coffee crystals from the freeze-drying method.
Finally, our precious coffee gets dressed to meet us. Powdered coffee is packed into glass jars, and the lid is sealed airtight to keep the product dry. Then they are labeled so we can identify them and fall in love at first sight.
Can you make instant coffee in a coffee machine? No, don’t even try it. You will end up gunking up your machine. Instant coffee is a dried extract that dissolves in water. The powder is made from already processed beans.
Like it says on the tin, instant coffee is a, well, instant way of making coffee. All that’s needed is boiling water and instant coffee powder. Pour two spoons of instant coffee into a cup and pour on hot water- Done! Stir with a spoon and enjoy.
The reason why most people prefer instant coffee is that it’s easy and fast. No external coffee machines are needed to produce your coffee drink. It is suitable in many situations. For example, you’re out and hiking, got a rush in the morning, or you’re traveling.
Taste and Flavor
The process of production affects the taste and flavor of coffee adversely. Also, the caffeine content in instant coffee is slightly lower than in regular brewed coffee. Some of the aromas may escape during the drying process. Additional aromas are added to bring the flavor close to fresh coffee.
Instant coffee may not attract most coffee lovers as much as bean coffee. But some people are used to the taste of flavored instant coffee. There’s a high chance of instant coffee drinkers not even knowing what fresh brewed coffee tastes like. Even if you don’t like instant coffee, keep a few instant coffee packets in the kitchen. Instant coffee adds a tasty touch to many cooking and baking recipes.
Is Instant Coffee Good For Me?
Now that you know all about instant coffee, you might still be wondering if instant coffee shares the benefits with other, more natural variants. The answer is “Yes.” Here are a few benefits of instant coffee:
- Coffee is one of the most common sources of antioxidants. The way instant coffee is processed contains a higher amount of antioxidants than regular brews.
- Are you trying to limit your caffeine consumption? Try instant coffee! The amount of caffeine in instant coffee is around 70-200 mg, depending on the roast method or bean type. Instant coffee only contains around 30-90mg caffeine per cup.
- Acrylamide is a substance that is created when coffee beans are roasted. Instant coffee contains safe acrylamide levels that aren’t harmful to the human body. Excessive acrylamide exposure can be lethal in cases.
- Due to the nutrient values present in instant coffee, you can get a boost to your metabolism from drinking instant coffee regularly.
- Caffeine can give you a quick boost to your brain function. With instant coffee, it’s even faster, since you need only 30-120 seconds to get a cup of quality coffee.
Are you worried about expenses due to your coffee thirst? You can minimize your expenses. Here, learn from our how to save money on coffee article.
Are you looking for more variety and richness of nuances in drinking coffee? Then, instant coffee might not be the best choice for you. Instant coffee is the preference for those trying to cut back on caffeine intake and the cost.
Instant or regular, good coffee is good coffee. Keep drinking. Cheers!
No. There is both better and worse quality of instant coffee, depending on the quality of the beans.
Yes, Instant coffee is 100% real coffee.
Nescafe, Starbucks, Mount Hagen, Jacobs, Folgers etc.
Both coffee crystal and coffee powder are a form of instant coffee. But, they are not the same.