The morning’s first cup of fresh coffee holds a special place in our hearts. After all, it’s our exclusive “me time” before the day’s mundaneness takes over. One debate that almost always resurfaces when we talk about coffee is the difference between instant coffee vs ground coffee.
There’s no right or wrong answer to this, as both coffee types are popular for many good reasons.
That said, some key differences between the two can be absolute game-changers as far as the right coffee for you is concerned, so read this article until the end.
What is Instant Coffee?
Most people, when they want a quick cup of coffee, reach out for instant coffee. It’s made from whole coffee beans that are first well-roasted, then grounded, and finally brewed. Next, the water from the brewed composition is removed, leaving behind dry coffee crystals.
When you add water again to this dehydrated coffee powder, you get a nice, warm cup of coffee. Since making this coffee only involves adding water, it’s called instant or soluble coffee.
What is Ground Coffee?
Ground coffee is the most common type of coffee in the USA. It’s made of coffee beans ground into smaller particles. This is done to extract as much flavor from the beans as possible and is performed using different tools such as a grinder, food processor, blender, etc. Once the grinding process is complete, these are packaged and then sold as ground coffee.
The more this coffee is grounded, the finer the coffee particles get. There are various types of coffee grades available, including:
- Coarse ground coffee
- Medium ground coffee
- Extra fine
What is the Difference Between Instant and Ground Coffee?
Here are four primary criteria based on which we can draw a fairly accurate comparison between instant and ground coffee:
If the taste is a concern for you, as is for a lot of people, go for ground coffee. Instant coffee is made up of low-quality Robusta beans. They’re the cheapest coffee beans used to bring about a high caffeine flavor, so they taste inferior to ground coffee made from Arabica beans.
When the premix of instant coffee is made, the already brewed coffee is further processed and dehydrated, causing the coffee to lose its flavor and become bitter.
Since ground coffee isn’t dehydrated, the classic coffee flavor remains intact, so it will taste better than instant coffee.
Using ground coffee can be cumbersome because it doesn’t dissolve in water. Instead, it needs to be soaked in it, but then it’ll start leaving its flavor in the water. Once this is done, the coffee grounds will have to be separated from water, followed by a thorough cleaning of the machine. Next, the caffeinated solution will have to be mixed with milk and sugar – and then you will have your coffee ready.
That sounds like too much work, doesn’t it?
With instant coffee, all you need to do is add hot water to the premix, sit back and enjoy the drink. Instant coffee is extremely convenient to make and the go-to for many people, especially someone who needs a cup on the go.
Robusta coffee beans that are used to make instant coffee have high caffeine content. Plus, they grow in abundance since their plantations are resistant to diseases and pests.
On the other hand, Arabica beans that are used to make ground coffee are prone to pest attacks, which is why their production is about 50% less than Robusta beans.
This is a prominent reason why instant coffee (made from Robusta beans) is cheaper than ground coffee (made from Arabica beans).
But if you’re one of those coffee enthusiasts for whom price isn’t a deciding factor and you’re looking for the highest quality taste, you must go for ground coffee — for the reasons we’ve mentioned in the first point.
Dissolving in Liquids
No matter how finely you grind the coffee, it will not dissolve in water. Instead, you’ll have to soak it in water to extract its flavor and then add it to milk.
Instant coffee has the exact opposite mechanism as far as dissolving in liquids is concerned. When you add instant coffee to hot water, it will dissolve in no time.
How Long Does Ground Coffee Remain Usable?
Ground coffee starts to release its flavor quite quickly, but it will remain drinkable for many years. The only way ground coffee goes bad is when it is contaminated with water or any other liquid since this will lead to bacterial growth. You must always store ground coffee in a dry place.
Can I Freeze Fresh Ground Coffee to Lengthen Its Life Span?
Freezing ground coffee would mean introducing moisture into it, which will cause the growth of fungal bacteria. You should remove the coffee beans from the original packet because they may not be airtight. Next, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a safe, dry place.
Can Instant Coffee Go Bad?
Instant coffee has a much longer shelf life than ground coffee. But it can still go bad and develop a mold if it is not stored properly. It’s also best to adhere to the expiry date mentioned on the packet.
What Can You Do with Expired Instant Coffee?
Do not consume or use instant coffee if it has expired. Use it for your garden as a fertilizer.
Which Coffee Has the Highest Caffeine Content?
Robusta coffee beans have the highest caffeine content, whereas Arabica beans have around half the caffeine as Robusta beans. The type of coffee bean and the brewing method used also dictate the caffeine proportion in coffee.
We hope this article has settled the debate of instant coffee vs ground coffee for you. Simply put, instant coffee would serve well if price, ease of making, and overall convenience are top concerns for you. But if you need a lip-smacking coffee that’s way ahead of its peers in terms of taste and aroma, go for ground coffee.