Most coffee machines can make a great, fresh cup of joe from a variety of ground coffees — and in different strengths, from regular to very rich. But can you put instant coffee in a coffee maker and still get a good-tasting result?
I usually start the day with a hot cup of coffee or two. And sometimes I’ll switch up the blend of coffee I use from lighter to darker, or milder to richer-tasting. But I always start with ground coffee beans.
So I began to wonder if it was possible to make a decent cup using instant coffee in my coffee maker.
As it turns out, you shouldn’t use instant coffee with a coffee machine. The end result won’t be as pleasantly smooth as a cup you’d get from coffee grounds. And coffee machines simply aren’t designed to work with instant coffee.
In this article, I’ll cover what happens when you use instant coffee in a coffee machine and I’ll reveal whether it can cause any damage. Plus, I’ll go over how it can affect both the taste and texture of coffee.
- What is instant coffee?
- Can you use instant coffee in a coffee maker?
- Can using instant coffee in a coffee machine cause damage?
- How to use instant coffee with a coffee maker
- Can you use instant coffee in a French press?
- Can you make instant coffee with a Keurig?
- What’s the best way to make instant coffee?
- More coffee answers
What is instant coffee?
Instant coffee is a form of dehydrated, concentrated coffee bean extract that is made into granules or a fine powder. The granules are made in a couple of different ways — either by freeze-drying the extract and then separating it into very small pieces, or the extract can be spray-dried. That involves spraying the extract into a field of hot air, which dries the fine mist and creates instant coffee crystals.
When the granules are added to water, they dissolve to create liquid instant coffee. Just like with regular coffee, you can get instant coffee in a range of styles, from light to dark roast.
The ease of use of instant coffee can make it a great alternative to brewed coffee. And it can be a great way to get a quick caffeine fix if you’re in a rush. But the process used to make it can eliminate some of the more robust coffee flavors. So the taste of instant coffee can often be more muted than that of regular coffee.
Can you use instant coffee in a coffee maker?
You really shouldn’t use instant coffee in a coffee maker. Coffee machines are designed to use water to gradually extract coffee flavor and aroma from coffee grounds.
With drip coffee makers, the grounds are placed into a coffee filter, then the cold water is heated up and gradually poured over them. The liquid coffee is then dispensed during the extraction process into a carafe below, while spent grounds are left in the filter basket.
Since coffee grounds are made directly from roasted coffee beans, the result is a flavorful cup of coffee that is much richer than instant coffee. Typically, one scoop of coffee grounds will yield one cup of coffee in a standard drip machine.
If you use instant coffee in a drip coffee maker, it can dissolve too quickly. That can leave you with weak coffee in the carafe and a gummy coffee sludge in the filter compartment. You simply won’t get an enjoyable cup of hot coffee.
Can using instant coffee in a coffee machine cause damage?
While using instant coffee in a coffee machine can result in a thick sort of coffee sludge, in most cases it shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. That sludge will collect in the filter area.
If you use a paper filter, you can simply discard it. If you have a machine with a permanent metal mesh filter, you can clean it out with warm water to remove the granules.
The bigger damage will be to your cup of coffee! Using instant coffee will simply not taste as flavorful as ground coffee in a coffee machine.
How to use instant coffee with a coffee maker
If you still want to make instant coffee with a coffee maker, it is possible. An easy way to do it is by simply using your coffee maker to heat up water. Do this by placing the instant coffee powder into the carafe instead of the filter area. Then add water to the coffee machine water reservoir and start the brewing process.
The machine will heat up the water and dispense it into the carafe below, where it will dissolve the instant coffee granules. This way you don’t get any instant coffee mess in the filter area of your machine.
Can you use instant coffee in a French press?
A French press is a popular choice with coffee lovers as it’s fairly easy to use and creates great-tasting coffee. French presses work by adding ground coffee and hot water to a carafe, then letting it steep. Then you use a plunger with a metal filter to separate the grounds from the resulting coffee.
Since instant coffee dissolves when it comes into contact with ground coffee, using French press coffee makers wouldn’t really make sense. You would have nothing for the plunger and filter to separate.
It would be better just to add hot water to a separate carafe, then add instant coffee and stir.
Can you make instant coffee with a Keurig?
K-cups use ground coffee inside a sealed container. With reusable k-cup pods, you simply add the ground coffee similar to the way you would add it to a traditional coffee maker.
But you can’t add instant coffee to the reusable coffee pods. The Keurig simply won’t be to brew it effectively. Instead of a rich, smooth cup of coffee, you’ll get a thin, watery one.
As an alternative, you can heat up water with your Keurig, then pour it over instant coffee in a mug.
What’s the best way to make instant coffee?
The best way to make instant coffee is to skip the coffee machine and simply use hot water. Either make boiling water on the stove or heat some up in a mug in the microwave. 🚨If you use the microwave method, be sure to use a kitchen glove or mitt to remove the mug as it can become very hot.
Once you have your hot water, simply add 1 or 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to your mug, stir it with the hot water, and let it dissolve. Then add any sweeteners or creamer that you prefer.
Because of the way that instant coffee is produced, it typically contains less caffeine than ground coffee. On average, an 8 oz cup of brewed ground coffee will have about 95 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, the same size cup of instant coffee will contain about 60 mg of caffeine.
That said, caffeine levels can vary in both ground and instant coffee depending on the brand or type of coffee you choose.
Instant coffee has a fairly long shelf life. Unopened instant coffee can last for several years if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place like a pantry. Opened containers of instant coffee can last for 1-2 years if resealed properly between uses.
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