Does instant coffee really taste inferior to brewed coffee? I talked extensively about the quality of beans and the instant coffee manufacturers not caring about taste as long as they sell a lot. For actual coffee fanatics (I do not consider myself as one), the difference will be pronounced. But how about average Joes like us?
Is it hard to brew a cup of coffee?
To just brew coffee, it’s pretty easy. An officemate gifted me an automatic drip brewer about 4 years back which was bought from S&R. You just had to plug it in, add room temp water to its little tank, put an ample amount of fine ground coffee beans in the permanent filter, flip a switch, and you get a cup of coffee in as little as 2 minutes.
It is not hard to brew coffee at home. To brew it properly, however, that’s a different point altogether. That takes training, research… heck even the acidity of your water should be a factor!
But guess what, there are people that actually know this stuff: Baristas. Why? It’s their job (and for most, their passion). Consider it as similar to having dinner at a fine dining establishment, where trained chefs prepare your food. All their years of experience are culminated there in that one plate. Eating is not just a necessity, it’s an experience. Will you be able to replicate that plate exactly at home? Most probably not.
You go to a specialty coffee shop to enjoy a cup of coffee expertly prepared for you by a trained barista. As I am writing this, I am sipping a cup of coffee brewed through a v60 that took some time to get to me. I didn’t mind. Why? Because what I tasted was so light, fruity, and just downright delicious I was only taking small sips of it so as not to finish it immediately.
For the normal coffee consumer, you won’t be expected to brew a perfect cup by yourself at home. Don’t be afraid to try though. It is highly recommended that you brew at home because it’s fun and ultimately cheaper in the long run than dropping by your favorite shop every day.
It’s not that hard to brew, even with manual methods. Just don’t expect it to taste as good as what you get at the shop.
So what does instant coffee taste like?
Bitter. Just straight up bitter. Especially steer clear of what they call “strong” coffee. It’s a level of bitter you never thought could be possible. Here’s something to think about, the more bitter and blacker the coffee is, the less caffeine it probably has.
I’m talking about just instant coffee – no sweeteners and creamers. Not the coffee mix of the 3-in-1, just instant coffee itself. I bought two sachets of the stuff from the grocery and even tried the one from the office vending machine; all three had no taste at all. They were all just bitter. Warranted these were just the baseline product lines, I was not able to try the “premium” lines. If you have, can you share your experience in the comments?
Although this espresso is also bitter, it still has body. The “strong” Instant Coffee I had was just nauseating
This is nothing compared to the different flavor notes from single origin beans that you can get from your local specialty coffee store. Yes, apparently coffee is naturally sweet. Also, depending on the region it came from, it has different flavor notes. I typically prefer ones that have hints of chocolate but fruity notes are welcome. They just have to be explained to me. You can read more about “third wave” coffee through this article by Perfect Daily Grind
Again, as I tried to discuss in part 2 of this series, it’s the absence of this level of care for the bean and the brew in exchange for massive amounts of profit that leads to instant coffee just tasting, well, bad.
In a world where you can learn anything from the internet, how are instant coffee manufacturers still able to earn profit?
Marketing; it’s all about effective marketing.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the short rant I had on my Instagram stories about a certain brand marketing a particular line of instant coffee as being “with real coffee grinds”. This triggered me for three days. Why? Let me relieve my rant:
All instant coffee began by grinding up coffee beans, brewing them, and then drying them to get the coffee powder/granules. So saying that a particular product line is “with real coffee grinds” is preposterous. My theory as to why they market it like that? “Grinding coffee beans will yield a better cup” and thus aimed to fool most consumers to pay more.
Will someone not familiar with how to brew coffee know that if there were “real coffee grinds” in that pack, they’ll have a bed of wet coffee grinds at the bottom of their cups? No. But they’ll believe this particular line is better and thus costs more (seriously, it was about 20 Php per sachet, 10 Php more than a similarly sized 3-in-1 sachet).
A good salesman can sell anything to any gullible person willing to listen. Remember that.
Finally, we conclude this three-part series
So is instant coffee Kape? It contains caffeine, albeit at a lower volume than brewed coffee; manufacturing of these does not care about proper methods and can actually be contributing to global warming; and it generally tastes bad.
As I said in part 1, of course it’s coffee. But should we continue to support it, no it’s not Kape to earn that. It actually gives Kape a bad name.
Boycott instant coffee altogether? Of course that will not happen and I am not asking everyone who is reading this to do that. I am a lowly blogger, and these large multinational corporations can rip me to shreds should they decide to take action against me.
I do encourage everyone to open up their minds more about coffee? Am I someone who has gets a benefit by you doing so? Outside of you ramping up the views for my blog, none yet. It’s just that I’ve had a taste for good coffee and I want to keep being able to do that. Please don’t kill good coffee.
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Categories: serious Kape
I had my first espresso experience way back in 1994 in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria. The espresso machine was as big as the 3 portable generator sets. Thinking back, I just imagine the efforts to create that perfect glass of café.