One of my forum visitors recently classified instant coffee as “doodoo of the devil sent to poison our bodies.” I personally thought they were being a wee bit harsh on this very innocent and useful invention. In the early years, I relied mainly on instant and it was also the norm for so many others, including soldiers during World War II and beyond.
Basic instant coffee is not a mysterious liquid. It is coffee with most of the water removed. There are several methods that manufacturers use to produce this. One is called the Spray Drying Method where the coffee is sprayed with hot air that causes the water to evaporate. Another is the Freeze Drying Method which extracts the frozen coffee from the ice after freezing it to a temperature of minus 40 degrees.
Another instant is called Cool Brew made by a method called cold brewing. Unlike the powdered instants though, Cool Brew is perishable but also tastes most like freshly brewed. Cold brewing “…is a process by which the most flavorful essence is extracted from freshly roasted coffee using absolutely NO HEAT. The coffee is brewed very slowly using only cold water. With cold water brewing, the most flavorful oils are extracted leaving behind the bitter acids. This ensures the richest possible flavor with the least bitter taste. The essence is 100% natural. CoolBrew® has no preservatives, so it must be kept refrigerated to preserve the flavor.”
Starbucks Instant-VIA™ Ready Brew
Yes, you heard it here; Starbucks has come out with an instant coffee. “With Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew, at last there’s an instant coffee you can enjoy at home that’s as good as fresh-brewed Starbucks® coffee.” Of course, Starbucks could never do anything without it being just a wee bit different so on their website, they have a video explaining why their instant process is just a bit kinder and gentler producing a superior product. They also have available just in time for Father’s Day, a mug with 6 packs of Via Instant.
Café de Olla La Paz Chiapas
Another instant that I personally enjoy is Café de Olla La Paz Chiapas. The traditional drink is made with granulated coffee, cinnamon, dried orange peel, cloves and brown sugar cane boiled in a terra cotta pot over an open wood fire. Café La Paz is low in sugar. It is made with brown sugar cane and cinnamon which give it the signature sweetness but it is not a syrupy sweetness like some of the flavored coffee drinks we often purchase from some of the chains.
A Poisonous Instant in the News
A recent story in the news did nothing to improve the reputation of instant coffee. “U.S. regulators warned the public on Friday not to consume seven Mr. Brown instant coffee and milk tea products that were made in China because of concerns they may be contaminated with melamine. The Food and Drug Administration said the products were recalled by King Car Food Industrial Co Ltd "due to possible contamination with melamine."
Instant coffee has not enjoyed the best reputation with regard to flavor and quality, but over the years it has improved. Try a few and give them a chance, especially if you find yourself in a situation where instant coffee would be most convenient.