Although more and more coffee connoisseurs are looking for an excellent quality and an individual taste of their favorite drink, and are therefore increasingly choosing whole coffee beans, instant coffee is still on the market. Coffee capsules or pads are also very convenient forms of preparation, but both cannot quite keep up with instant coffee in terms of time and simplicity.
What is instant coffee and when is it drunk?
Not every coffee specialty that can be turned into a delicious drink by pouring hot water on it deserves this name. Rather, according to the Purity Law, instant coffee is pure coffee extract that is made from roasted coffee with the aid of water. In accordance with the purity law, it therefore contains no other additives such as sweeteners, flavorings, flavor enhancers or milk powder.
From a purely technical point of view, coffee extracts are highly concentrated roasted coffee infusions. In the retail trade, instant coffee is most often sold as granules or in powder form, while liquid extracts, which are made more durable in frozen form, are also found in gastronomy.
Instant coffee is ideal when things have to be done quickly and the coffee connoisseur attaches less importance to taste. Rather, the focus is on the caffeine in morning coffee. For many people, the taste of instant coffee also evokes memories of coffee parties with relatives or grandmothers from times long past. That is why it is still occasionally drunk today to indulge in old memories.
History and production of instant coffee
The New Zealander David Strang invented instant coffee at the end of the 19th century and had it patented. Certainly the limited shelf life and the associated losses of coffee in productive years played an important role in the development. In the 1930s, it was Nestlé who significantly advanced the industrial production of instant coffee.
The soluble coffee is produced in four steps. After the green coffee has been roasted at around 200 to 230 degrees Celsius and then coarsely ground, the material to be ground is extracted in a complex process. This creates the so-called “thin juice”.
Water is removed from the immediately cooled thin juice through concentration, so that it becomes “thick juice”. The extract is then dried; possible processes are spray drying, agglomeration and freeze drying. Depending on the drying process, the instant coffee gets its typical consistency.
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Different types of instant coffee
There are several types of instant coffee that differ depending on their taste and texture.
Some variants are coarse-grained, others fine-grained, and still others are available as granules. Popular instant coffees are available from manufacturers such as Nescafé, Jacobs and Tchibo. In addition to the classic instant coffees, there are also coffee creations available that are just as easy to prepare.
The taste of instant coffee
Even if the instant coffee impresses with its low expenditure of time and its simplicity, its taste cannot compete with freshly ground coffee beans. Due to its elaborate manufacturing process, instant coffee loses many aromas that can still be contained in more gentle processing. The quality of the coffee also tends to be a little lower. Many manufacturers use Robusta coffee as well as arabica beans in industrial processing and these can come from different growing areas.
Nonetheless, instant coffee is one of the most frequently drunk types of coffee worldwide. In addition to the quick preparation, this popularity could also be a reason that many coffee drinkers like to mix their favorite drink with milk, sugar or other additives. The taste of the coffee is pushed into the background. In such coffee creations, the harmony of the individual ingredients seems to be much more important.
Compared to coffee beans
Compared to coffee beans, instant coffee only scores better in terms of its simpler form of preparation. Soluble coffee is ready in no time and is therefore particularly suitable when things have to be done quickly. In terms of taste, however, freshly ground coffee is far superior to instant coffee. The wonderful scent alone, which transforms the kitchen into a real oasis of wellbeing when grinding the beans, compensates for the extra effort that you put on yourself when freshly preparing your favorite drink.
The intense taste and the wonderful experience you have while drinking the coffee also score points. For a delicious coffee bean, you should simply take the time to appreciate the taste experience. From a qualitative point of view, coffee beans are also mostly of higher quality, as the origin of the beans can be better traced and different types and beans from different growing areas are mixed less often. For example, the cost of making soluble coffee can be reduced if a higher percentage of Robusta beans is used. In coffee roasting plants, the coffee beans are also roasted more gently, which results in a higher quality.
- Instant coffee is quicker and easier to prepare than filter coffee
- Instant coffee can not compete with coffee beans in terms of quality and taste
Overall, the consumption of soluble coffee is only recommended in exceptional cases, as it cannot convince many coffee connoisseurs in terms of taste. If you plan your coffee breaks and get up a little earlier in the morning, you should prefer coffee with beans.