Top 15 Best Instant Coffees – 2023 Reviews and Top Picks

Tired of waiting in line just to have a cup of freshly brewed coffee? Do you sometimes wish that you could just prepare it at home? Is cleaning the coffeemaker adding to your stress?

Make your life easier and more enjoyable with these underrated instant coffee powders and granules from the world’s best coffee makers. They may be instant, but they are surprisingly packed with the same ingredients for fresh brew coffees.

1. Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Colombia Coffee

Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Colombia Coffee

Starbucks is known for skillfully mixing bitterness and sweetness in many of its original blends, which is apparent in its instant version of the popular Colombian Arabica coffee. This Starbucks Via instant coffee is also preferred by many coffee lovers because of its strong walnut flavor.

Besides its nutty taste, Colombian Starbucks instant coffee is favored by many coffee drinkers because of the tradition involved with its preparation. If you like your coffee to just have the right amount of acidity and roasted flavor, this Starbucks version will not disappoint.

A lighter and smoother taste can also be achieved by diluting one 0.11 oz. packet in more hot water than what is suggested in the directions found in the packet.

2. Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

This granulated instant organic coffee is made of organic Arabica beans. Unlike the other Arabica instant coffees, Mount Hagen explicitly announces its beans are sourced from the highlands of Germany. One 100-gram jar can make more or less sixty cups, depending on how strong you’d like your coffee to be.

This Mount Hagen organic instant coffee is processed using the freeze-and-dry method. This ensures no preservatives and additives interfere with maintaining its organic flavor.

Although this brand is weaker and less flavorful than other instant coffees, Mount Hagen organic instant coffee could last six to twelve months in the jar without absorbing moisture and getting spoiled. It also makes a good cold beverage.

3. Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Decaffeinated Coffee

Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Decaffeinated Coffee

A pack of this instant, caffeine-free instant organic coffee comes with six 3.53 oz. jars, which is enough to make sixty cups of Arabica coffee sourced from the highlands. Also guaranteed to be free from any preservatives and additives, the coffee beans are processed to leave the flavors and aroma intact. Mount Hagen uses a patented method to produce this product.

Apart from being 100% organic, it is lightly roasted. This gives each cup of decaf coffee a smooth texture and a flavor known by experts as a “city roast.”

While most of these products are as expensive as their fresh-brew versions, they are made to meet the standards of those that have been very careful not to veer away from the widely-accepted ways of preparing coffee.

Instant coffees nowadays are not only tastier, but they are more practical than preparing coffee fresh off the grinder. You don’t need to spend money on fancy equipment just to enjoy the same benefits of brewed coffee.

4. Nescafe Taster’s Choice Instant House Blend

Nescafe Taster’s Choice Instant House Blend

Said to have been made of only pure coffee, this instant house blend comes in 7 oz. canisters that last for more than half a year, depending on how much you use per cup.

The recommended amount of Nescafe coffee per cup is a teaspoonful, even though these ground beans are only roasted light-medium. Therefore, you’d still get a full-bodied flavor even if you use less than a teaspoon. As you may already know, the lighter beans are roasted, the more flavor is retained.

While some of its drinkers complain about missing markings on the pack to determine its expiry, no one ever complained about Nescafe instant coffee tasting bland, even after the standard shelf life of instant coffee products, which is twelve months.

5. Douwe Egberts Pure Gold Instant Coffee Sticks

A pack of this product contains 200 sticks, each with 1.5 grams of granulated instant coffee. Most of its drinkers find the aroma strong with hints of the fresh brew version of the Douwe Egberts coffee, although the taste itself is not as robust. This is probably caused by the partial-hydrogenation process that its manufacturer uses on its coffee beans.

Despite its slightly-compromised flavor when prepared black, some sugar and cream can change all that. Some coffee lovers claim a brown or a white version of this instant coffee can easily be mistaken as fresh-brew. Furthermore, the packaging keeps it fresh-tasting longer than ground coffee in jars or canisters.

6. Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence (Dark Roast)

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence (Dark Roast)

This is one of the Dutch brand’s premiere coffee products offered in a glass jar. This is said to have been processed using the traditions of the 250-year-old company, so storing it in a jar doesn’t compromise the fuller taste and aroma of the granulated coffee.

Some coffee connoisseurs find the crystals interesting but never thought the taste and aroma could be the same as the dark-roasted coffee bean, which had just been prepared fresh from the grinder, straight into the coffee maker and into their cups.

Although it doesn’t claim to be organic, Pure Indulgence is said to taste natural without any hints of chemicals.

7. Verve Coffee Roasters Craft Instant Coffee Streetlevel Blend

Verve Coffee Roasters Craft Instant Coffee Streetlevel Blend

Verve Coffee is sourced from Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras. Their Streetlevel blend instant coffee has notes of ripe stone fruit and zesty citrus. These flavors balance well with its syrupy sweetness, with other tasting notes of clementine, red apple, and honeycomb.

Each small batch is brewed in-house every day out of Santa Cruz, California. They use vintage-style roasters as well as state-of-the-art roasters. They also use a preservation technique to ensure freshness in each batch.

Verve Coffee also follows a Farmlevel Initiative committed to positively impacting the communities they partner with, using sustainable growing practices, paying fair wages, and sourcing directly from the farmers.

Many found the flavor of Verve Instant Coffee stronger than other instant coffee varieties and smooth and rich. The only real downside is the price. It is costlier than other instant coffee options, but the taste more than makes up for the higher price tag.

8. Folgers Classic Roast

Folgers Classic Roast

A pack of this popular brand of coffee has three 8 oz. jars. These are enough to make 360 6 oz. cups of coffee. Processed into coffee crystals using freeze-drying, it easily dissolves even in cold water. This means no aroma and flavor get stuck at the bottom of the glass.

Unlike other instant coffee granules, this Folgers instant coffee classic does not disappoint when it comes to mixing it with milk or creamer. According to fans of this American favorite, it doesn’t take a lot of adjusting the amount of coffee, milk or sugar just to get the aroma and taste you want.

Others also cannot determine whether Folgers instant coffee is decaf or instant when served hot, which is good for anyone who wishes to serve instant coffee to guests without embarrassment.

9. Jacob’s Coffee Jacobs Kronung Instant

Jacob’s Coffee Jacobs Kronung Instant

A pack of this German instant coffee is enough to make eighty cups of flavorful coffee as it includes two 7.05 oz. jars. This brand is made of pure ground coffee beans and is said to not overwhelm a drinker’s sense of taste and smell.

One Amazon reviewer even testified it does not taste weird even if you’d start using it two years after its “best before” date. Although for your safety, you are recommended to refer to the expiry label on the jar. A lot of drinkers also noted its low-acidity level. Therefore, drinking several cups of it in a day wouldn’t hurt.

It is versatile as well. You can make an espresso with less water to keep you active for several hours. Add more water to your original mix if you want it to have the same effects as drinking tea for relaxation.

10. Maxwell House Instant Coffee

Maxwell House Instant Coffee

Maxwell House Instant Coffee is a good choice if you are a coffee lover on the hunt for a rich, medium roast. It has the same quality you would expect from Maxwell House’s ground coffee. It is also an affordable option steeped in nostalgia. It is the kind of coffee you can imagine would be served in a diner in your hometown.

However, while affordable, this coffee is often used in recipes rather than to make a cup of coffee. The large bottle also makes traveling somewhat inconvenient compared to smaller instant coffee bottles or even more travel-friendly packets.

Overall, this instant coffee does offer a rich and embodied cup of coffee with the touch of acid and sourness you might expect from a Robusta blend; however, it isn’t for everyone’s tastebuds.

11. Medaglia D’oro Instant Espresso Coffee

Medaglia D'oro Instant Espresso Coffee

Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso coffee should definitely top your list if you are looking for an instant espresso coffee. It offers a traditional espresso flavor and is easy to make. All you have to do is boil water and add one teaspoon of instant coffee to 6 fl oz of either hot water or milk. Stir and enjoy. The instant espresso coffee doesn’t contain milk, peanut, egg, fish, soy, tree nut, or wheat allergens.

This Italian roast is an unusually rich, aromatic instant espresso coffee that combines fine flavors with bold beauty. People have been enjoying Medaglia D’Oro coffee since 1924, and that Italian-style espresso tradition is still going strong today.

Since it comes in such a small bottle, it is easy to travel with. However, its higher price tag may not be ideal for everyone, but you can be assured of a delicious tasting coffee that is rich and not bitter.

12. Nescafe Gold Instant Coffee

Nescafe Gold Instant Coffee

Nescafe Gold Instant Coffee is another espresso flavored instant coffee choice loved by many. It is made with a smooth blend of Arabica coffee and has a velvety layer of coffee crema. Even brewing a small cup of this instant coffee provides you with rich and extraordinary flavor. It is the perfect instant espresso coffee to make a traditional espresso or even a cup of Americano.

The price is also not too bad because you get two bottles instead of one. However, it is still on the pricier side, considering it is just instant coffee. The jars the coffee comes in are also small enough for travel, making Nescafe Gold instant coffee a great choice for camping.

13. Café Bustelo Instant Coffee

Café Bustelo Instant Coffee

Café Bustelo definitely tops the list as one of the best tasting instant coffee powder options out there. It is made with 100% pure coffee and has a flavor like no other. It is flavorful and versatile, and when made according to the directions, it provides even the most avid coffee lover with a robust and strong cup of coffee.

You can adjust the water to instant coffee ratio, depending on your tastes and if you want a stronger coffee. You can also make it with hot water or milk. It is also robust enough to stand up to whatever sugars or sweeteners you use. It also doesn’t have the oily or sour instant coffee taste that many are known for.

14. Four Sigmatic Instant Mushroom Coffee

Four Sigmatic Instant Mushroom Coffee

If you are ready to think outside the box in your search for the best tasting instant coffee, you should try exploring Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee. This instant coffee mix is made with lion’s mane and Chaga mushrooms.

They roast and brew shade grown, organic Colombian coffee beans and then concentrate the coffee using evaporation, and then it is spray dried into an instant powder. They then use a third-party lab to test each batch for quality and to ensure each serving provides 50mg of caffeine, which is about half of what you find in a regular cup of coffee.

Organic lion’s mane is a functional, nootropic mushroom. It is often used for increased focus and creativity. When combined with organic fair trade specialty instant coffee, you will have no jitters or a crash. Instead, it provides you with hours of focus.

The Chaga in this Sgmatic mushroom coffee has immune-supporting benefits and is loaded with antioxidants. The coffee is also infused with Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogen well-known for endurance support, boosting brain function, and the reduction of stressors.

The biggest downside to this instant coffee brand for many was the higher price tag, and it wasn’t as strong as regular coffee; however, this is to be expected with some instant coffee varieties. Some also find the flavor a bit off-putting, while others don’t even notice the mushrooms at all.

15. Waka Instant Coffee

Waka Instant Coffee

Last but not least, we have Waka Instant Coffee. It is a high-quality medium roast coffee made from Colombian 100% Arabica freeze dried beans. The coffee comes in 8 single-serve packets for convenience, but you can also purchase this instant coffee in larger counts if preferred.

Real coffee beans are used to make this instant coffee without any additives. It is perfectly freeze dried to preserve the aroma and coffee flavor. It is a well-balanced and smooth coffee flavor with notes of citrus. The freeze dried Arabica used gives this instant coffee much more of a rich and complex flavor.

The coffee is also sustainably packed in the US, and the packaging is from post-consumer recycled content. You can make it hot or iced or add Waka Instant Coffee to your favorite recipes. Since it has no additives or sweeteners, you can easily customize this coffee to your own tastes.

Some people say that one packet of this instant coffee is too strong for them, so if you like a weaker or milder coffee, this might not be for you.

Tips for Making the Perfect Cup of Instant Coffee

Still not convinced that instant coffee over traditional grounds is right for you? Maybe you just need some tips on making the perfect cup of instant coffee.

Choose a Quality Brand

Try to look for freeze-dried instant coffee, as this remains closer to the flavor of brewed coffee compared to other types. Opt for granulated instant coffee than powder since its flavor and consistency are often better.

Always Heat a Fresh Pot of Water

Avoid reheating water that has been in the pot or kettle for a while because this makes the water taste bad. If you don’t have a kettle, microwave your water before adding your instant coffee. Be careful, though, as overheated water in the microwave tends to explode if left unchecked.

Follow Package Instructions

This is especially important if you’re trying a new brand – Pour just enough water to fill your mug, then adjust according to taste. Try to use the same mug and spoon each time, so you’ll have a basis of measurement next time you make a new cup.

Add Milk, Cream, or Sugar as Desired

Many people like their coffee black, but you can add sugar for a less bitter brew. Adding milk or cream can help improve the flavor of the coffee, too.

Is Instant Coffee Real Coffee?

Yes. Instant coffee is made with real whole coffee beans. Once the volatile and soluble parts of the beans are extracted, the water is removed, and the powder is what is left over. It is essentially dehydrated, and we just need to add water to create a delicious cup of coffee.

The only big difference between instant coffee and real coffee is what happens after they are brewed into an extract. Ground coffee is not processed past washing and roasting before it is packaged and shipped.

Instant coffee, on the other hand, has been brewed but then goes through another drying and cooling phase. Sometimes this process can take away some of the coffee’s flavor, leaving instant coffee bitter.

How to Find the Best Instant Coffee

Tasting Notes

When finding the best instant coffee, determine what kind of roast you like, whether light, medium, or dark. The tasting notes are often included on the packaging. A dark roast, for example, may have some smokiness to it.

Single Serve Packets vs Jar

Our review contains a mix of single serve packets as well as jarred varieties of instant coffee. Single serve packets are much easier to travel with, and the amount of coffee you need per cup is already measured out. However, to save money, you can buy your instant coffee in a bigger jar that you can store.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you narrow down your choices for the best instant coffee.


Instant coffee is usually less expensive per serving than regular ground coffee, but you will almost always notice a difference in the taste. There are more affordable packet options, but you will pay more for a specialty coffee brand or larger jars.

The Health Benefits of Instant Coffee

Some people prefer brewed coffee because it tastes better and because they think it is healthier than instant coffee. However, studies have proven that instant coffee also has many health benefits, some of which are listed below:

Low in Calories

Instant coffee contains approximately 4 calories per 6-ounce cup. This makes it a good source of caffeine compared to sodas and other caffeinated beverages. Studies also show that drinking instant coffee saves you at least 40,000 calories per year, as opposed to drinking juice.

Rich in Antioxidants

In 2012, Food Chemistry published a study stating that freeze-dried instant coffee has more antioxidants than other coffee types. The process of manufacturing instant coffee packs antioxidants, like flavonoids and phenols.

Another study in 2013 showed that instant coffee, especially those that contained unroasted green coffee beans, contains high levels of chlorogenic acid, an important antioxidant for the cardiovascular system.

Good for the Heart

In 2010, the Molecular Nutrition and Food Research journal published findings about how instant coffee protects people from heart disease. According to the clinical trial, healthy individuals who drank a cup of instant coffee for five days showed a significant reduction in stress linked to chronic diseases. These findings propose that some components in instant coffee prevent certain chronic illnesses.

Improves Glucose Levels

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism showed how instant coffee helps improve blood sugar levels. In the study, overweight individuals with glucose levels higher than normal were asked to drink five cups of instant coffee per day.

After four months, tests confirmed that the individuals showed a slight improvement in their glucose levels. In 2006, Diabetes Care also released findings that showed how instant coffee could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, provided that the coffee is drunk black.

Good for Hydration

While popular opinion claims that coffee is bad for hydration, this is actually not the case. Instant coffee offers the same level of hydration as plain water, so you can include it in your daily fluid intake requirements. Make sure to maintain a healthy balance, though. Water is still the best way to keep you hydrated, so don’t forget to drink it throughout the day, coffee or no coffee.

Final Thought

Also gone are the days when instant coffees were viewed as instant health hazards. With the increased demand for healthier options, many instant coffee manufacturers have discovered ways to keep up with their competition.

Many of these companies now use processing methods that do not depend on chemicals and artificial flavors just to come up with a product that emits the same aroma and flavor as freshly brewed coffee.

At the end of the day, it is entirely up to you what type of coffee to drink. It doesn’t matter whether it’s instant or fresh brew. Just keep in mind that your options are not as limited as you’ve thought them to be.

Read More: Best Espresso Machine


Starbucks VIA® Ready Brew Colombia Coffee

Rating: 4.6

Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Instant Coffee

We chose Starbucks Via instant coffee as our top pick because Starbucks really makes a difference in premium instant coffee. Not only are they sustainable and ethical, but they are supplying high-quality coffee that positively impacts the lives of coffee farmers and their communities.

Coffee drinkers can use Starbucks Via instant coffee as a hot or iced coffee, and the easy-to-use packets make it great for on-the-go whenever you need that coffee pick me up.