In the US, 7% of people drink instant coffee. In the UK, 77% do. And while I may be a Brit, I’d like to tell you why – this time – we should learn from the Americans.
Of course, I don’t want to give you a one-sided story. So I’m going to tell you what instant/soluble coffee is and the pros and cons of drinking of it. I hope you’ll come to realise why you really shouldn’t drink that instant cup of coffee-flavoured water.
Spanish Version: Por Qué No Debes Tomar Café Instantáneo
The Rise of Instant Coffee
I get it… when it was first produced, back in 1910, instant coffee was exciting. There was technology in your cup of coffee! It was empowering to make expensive coffee out of these affordable soluble granules – and the mysterious factory process behind it just felt incredibly modern.
And, perhaps, the instant gratification appealed to the traditional coffee-buying housewife. She could reduce her housework load and make coffee for her and her husband as, Folgers put it in their ’50s commercials, “without coffee-making lessons”.
But just as the sexist ads belong in the ’50s, so too does instant. Not convinced? Here are some pros and cons for you…
Moments from genuine US T.V commercials from the ’50s and 60s. Video credit: Shaun Clayton
3 Reasons to Drink Instant Coffee
1. It’s quick and easy to prepare. Just add hot water! When you’re running late for work, you don’t need to bother with grinding beans or cleaning messy equipment.
2. Learning how to make good coffee isn’t easy. Anyone can pour water on some crystals. Just use your kettle if you have no brewing equipment.
3. There’s no waste. Who wants the hassle of having to dispose of the leftover coffee grounds?
SEE ALSO: VIDEO: How Is Instant Coffee Made?
3 Reasons Not to Drink Instant Coffee
1. It has limited mouth feel! There’s just no comparison to how fresh coffee tastes.
2. There’s no romance. The ritual of making your own coffee, brewing it just how you like it, is magical. But with instant, you can’t delicately infuse those sweet coffee grounds with water to achieve the perfect extraction. You can’t inhale the intense and intoxicating aromas as they dissipate into the air. Instant coffee is just an aerated slurp and caffeine jolt!
4. It doesn’t actually take that long to brew a freshly roasted artisanal coffee. An AeroPress takes 60-90 seconds, a Hario V60 2 minutes, and an espresso (with a machine) an average of 25 seconds! Sure, instant takes about 2 seconds… but isn’t a minute’s worth of effort worth it for a much better coffee?
Instant Coffee: What’s The Conclusion?
Instant coffee offers convenience at the cost of experience. It found its niche as a rationed caffeine boost for U.S. military personnel, and was popular during the housewife-era of the ’50s and ’60s. But today, we have more options available to us. We have freshly roasted, transparently sourced and traded, high-quality coffee beans, and the ability to brew them in just a minute or two.
I know there are many people out there who will never be convinced. Instant coffee is an integral part of their morning. But I hope that, if you buy instant, I’ve convinced you to consider trying a natural artisanal brew – because once you’ve tried it, I’m sure you’ll prefer it.
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