Written by Sofia Moore
Last Updated

When selecting a type of coffee, you’re always presented with the choice of instant coffee or ground coffee. But why do two varieties of coffee exist?

What are the distinctions between ground coffee and instant coffee?

What is instant coffee?

Instant coffee is a coffee product that has been finely powdered and can be reconstituted with hot water to create a full-flavored cup of coffee.

It was invented in 1901 by George Constant Washington, a British chemist residing in Guatemala.

 

How is instant coffee made?

The coffee beans are first roasted and then ground. The ground is then brewed with hot water to extract the flavor. The liquid is then freeze-dried or spray-dried, removing the water and leaving only the coffee particles. These coffee particles are what make up instant coffee granules.

When you reconstitute instant coffee with hot water, you are essentially re-introducing water back into the dried-out coffee particles, which results in a cup of coffee.

Instant coffee has a longer shelf life than ground coffee because the lack of moisture prevents bacteria growth.

 

What is ground coffee?

Ground coffee is simply fresh coffee beans ground down into small pieces. These small pieces (or grounds) that we use to brew our favorite cup of coffee each morning.

 

How is ground coffee made?

Once the coffee cherries have been harvested, they are typically transported to a processing plant where they go through an initial cleaning process before being hulled and stripped of their outer layers (a process known as wet milling).

After the wet milling process is complete, the coffee beans are ready to be dried until they reach a moisture content level of 10%. 

Once they’ve reached this point, they’re referred to as “green coffee beans” and can be stored for long periods without going bad.

These green beans will eventually need to be roasted prior to being sold or brewed, as roasting brings out many desired flavors that exist deep within the bean itself.

 

What does instant coffee taste like?

Instant coffee has a reputation for being watery and weak, but this isn’t always the case. Some instant coffees are surprisingly flavorful and robust. That said, many people still prefer the taste of freshly brewed coffee made from ground beans.

It can be difficult to replicate the flavor of fresh-brewed coffee with instant coffee, but it is possible to find brands that come close.

 

How does ground coffee taste?

The taste of ground coffee depends on a few factors, including the type of bean, the roast, and the grind. In general, freshly ground coffee has more flavor than instant coffee because it hasn’t been exposed to air or water, which can cause it to lose some potency.

That said, some people prefer the taste of instant coffee because it is more consistent in flavor and easier to make.

When to use instant coffee vs. coffee grounds There are a few instances where instant coffee is preferable to ground coffee. If you’re traveling and don’t have access to a coffee grinder or brewing supplies, instant coffee is good.

It’s also convenient for making large pots of coffee because it dissolves more easily than ground coffee. However, if you’re looking for the best flavor, freshly ground coffee is the way to go.

 

There Are Five Distinctions Between Ground and Instant Coffee
  • Ground coffee is made from fresh coffee beans ground into small pieces. Instant coffee is made from freeze-dried or spray-dried coffee particles.
  • When you reconstitute instant coffee with hot water, you are essentially re-introducing water back into the dried out coffee particles, which results in a cup of coffee.
  • Instant coffee has a longer shelf life than ground coffee because the lack of moisture prevents bacteria growth.
  • The taste of ground coffee depends on a few factors, including the type of bean, the roast, and the grind. In general, freshly ground coffee has more flavor than instant coffee. 
  • There are a few instances where instant coffee is preferable to ground coffee. Instant coffee is a good option if you don’t have a coffee grinder or brewing supplies. It’s also convenient for making large pots of coffee because it dissolves more easily than ground coffee.

 

Final Thought

It is up to the individual coffee drinker to decide whether they prefer ground coffee or instant coffee. There are pros and cons to both types of coffee, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

If you’re looking for convenience, instant coffee is the way to go. However, freshly ground coffee is the better option if you’re after flavor.

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