Best Instant Coffee: Top Brands RANKED (Updated For 2021)

Best Instant Coffee: Top Brands RANKED (Updated For 2021)

There’s arguably no better way to start a morning than with an aromatic, single-origin coffee.

But sometimes we just need a quick cup of liquid energy before heading out the door.

Enter instant coffee.

Are you actually writing about instant coffee?

Yes, we actually are.

Look, you won’t mistake instant coffee for an amazing, freshly ground cup of Kona coffee, but it definitely has its time and place.

Just ask Jerry Seinfeld.

That Bookman can be a real piece of work.

If you're looking for the best instant coffee to satisfy your caffeine craving (or hold of Library Inspector Bookman) then this is the guide for you.

Why You Can Trust The Coffee Maven

Quick Picks
Best Instant Coffee Brands

What's best for us may not be best for you. Let's expand upon the Top Picks above and highlight a few more of the Best Instant Coffees by category:

Not sure which is right for you? The next section should help...

3 Tips When Buying

Before we get to the individual Best Instant Coffee reviews, let's take a look at the rankings.

Overall
91
Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts is a Dutch national favorite that has been serving fantastic coffee for 200 years. They’re one of the first brands in the instant coffee market and have maintained a strong presence ever since.
Overall
90
Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee

Mount Hagen instant coffee is made from ethically-sourced, organic beans. Its flavor and aroma are mild, well-balanced, and not at all bitter. They also partner with growers who focus on safety and sustainability.
Overall
90
Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee

Anthony’s Organic Instant Coffee is made with premium 100% Arabica beans from Central America. The ultra-fine grind is perfect for both hot and cold beverages, as well as cooking and baking.
Overall
89
Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

This Starbucks Via Instant Colombian roast is made from 100% Arabica beans. Each box comes with 26 packets, and it makes a truly quick, well-balanced cup of Starbucks coffee.
Overall
86
NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso

An instant espresso NESCAFE, this a great choice for those looking for a cup of espresso-like concentrated coffee. Made from 100% Arabica beans, it's balanced in flavor, smooth, and even has a little crema.
Overall
86
NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee

Made from 100% premium and ethically-sourced beans, this coffee has been flash-frozen to preserve all the flavor you’d expect from a freshly brewed cup. As far as instant coffee goes, this blend is on the lighter side.
Overall
85
Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee

Kava is 90% acid neutralized, meaning that it only contains half the acid found in regular coffee. This is a great option for those with sensitive stomachs, even if you occasionally have to drink this in lieu of breakfast.
Overall
85
Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee

This Folgers Classic Roast is rich, smooth, and blends well, making it a great mix-in for morning shakes or baking. Since this instant coffee comes in packets, the crystals will stay dry in your purse, suitcase, or office.
Overall
83
Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee

This Maxwell House medium roast is a great choice for those looking for a rich, medium roast. However, the taste may be too mild for those looking for a stronger cup.

Is This Guide For You?

Our editors have rated and ranked each option. Without further ado, here are our official reviews in this all-encompassing buying guide.

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
91
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
92
Freshness (20%)
85
Balance & Acidity (10%)
92
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
91
Brand Reputation (10%)
92
The Bottom Line
Douwe Egberts is a Dutch national favorite that has been serving fantastic coffee for 200 years. They’re one of the first brands in the instant coffee market and have maintained a strong presence ever since.

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Pros

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Cons

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Pros

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Cons

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
90
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
91
Freshness (20%)
85
Balance & Acidity (10%)
93
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
90
Brand Reputation (10%)
90
The Bottom Line
Mount Hagen instant coffee is made from ethically-sourced, organic beans. Its flavor and aroma are mild, well-balanced, and not at all bitter. They also partner with growers who focus on safety and sustainability.

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Pros

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Cons

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Pros

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Cons

Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
90
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
91
Freshness (20%)
85
Balance & Acidity (10%)
90
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
90
Brand Reputation (10%)
92
The Bottom Line
Anthony’s Organic Instant Coffee is made with premium 100% Arabica beans from Central America. The ultra-fine grind is perfect for both hot and cold beverages, as well as cooking and baking.

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Pros

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Cons

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Pros

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Cons

Anthony's Organic Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
89
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
90
Freshness (20%)
82
Balance & Acidity (10%)
90
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
90
Brand Reputation (10%)
93
The Bottom Line
This Starbucks Via Instant Colombian roast is made from 100% Arabica beans. Each box comes with 26 packets, and it makes a truly quick, well-balanced cup of Starbucks coffee.

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Pros

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Cons

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Pros

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Cons

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso
Overall Rating
86
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
86
Freshness (20%)
85
Balance & Acidity (10%)
85
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
88
Brand Reputation (10%)
87
The Bottom Line
An instant espresso NESCAFE, this a great choice for those looking for a cup of espresso-like concentrated coffee. Made from 100% Arabica beans, it's balanced in flavor, smooth, and even has a little crema.

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Pros

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Cons

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Features & Specifications

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Pros

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Cons

NESCAFE Gold 100% Arabica Instant Espresso Features & Specifications

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
86
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
85
Freshness (20%)
85
Balance & Acidity (10%)
88
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
85
Brand Reputation (10%)
87
The Bottom Line
Made from 100% premium and ethically-sourced beans, this coffee has been flash-frozen to preserve all the flavor you’d expect from a freshly brewed cup. As far as instant coffee goes, this blend is on the lighter side.

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Pros

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Cons

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Pros

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Cons

NESCAFE Taster's Choice Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
85
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
85
Freshness (20%)
92
Balance & Acidity (10%)
95
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
85
Brand Reputation (10%)
85
The Bottom Line
Kava is 90% acid neutralized, meaning that it only contains half the acid found in regular coffee. This is a great option for those with sensitive stomachs, even if you occasionally have to drink this in lieu of breakfast.

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Pros

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Cons

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Pros

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Cons

Kava Acid Neutralized Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
85
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
85
Freshness (20%)
82
Balance & Acidity (10%)
85
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
85
Brand Reputation (10%)
90
The Bottom Line
This Folgers Classic Roast is rich, smooth, and blends well, making it a great mix-in for morning shakes or baking. Since this instant coffee comes in packets, the crystals will stay dry in your purse, suitcase, or office.

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Pros

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Cons

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Pros

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Cons

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee
Overall Rating
83
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
82
Freshness (20%)
82
Balance & Acidity (10%)
83
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
85
Brand Reputation (10%)
85
The Bottom Line
This Maxwell House medium roast is a great choice for those looking for a rich, medium roast. However, the taste may be too mild for those looking for a stronger cup.

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Pros

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Cons

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Pros

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Cons

Maxwell House Original Blend Instant Coffee Features & Specifications

Frequently Asked Questions

What is instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is a dehydrated, powdered beverage derived from real coffee beans that have been processed to remove all water for better long-term storage. To turn the dehydrated coffee powder back into real coffee, you just add water.

History of Instant Coffee

Nescafé and Folgers are the big-name instant coffee brands today, but they weren’t the first to invest the drink. In fact, instant coffee has a long history dating back to the 1700s. Here’s a quick timeline:

Since 1954, instant coffee production has diversified with dozens of instant coffee brands appearing on the market.

Did You Know? Nearly 50% of the world’s green coffee bean supply is used to make instant coffee.

When would I ever want instant coffee?

There’s a reason nearly 50% of all green coffee beans end up as instant coffee–people use it!

Here are a few popular uses:

  • For those who prefer a quick cup of coffee (this is the obvious one)
  • For those who don’t drink coffee but want to provide guests with the option
  • For baking as a way to add coffee flavor without additional liquid
  • For cooking, such as making dry rubs for meat
  • For smoothies

How is instant coffee made?

Instant coffee starts out like any other type of coffee: fresh, unroasted green coffee beans.

The process of making instant coffee begins with the typical coffee-making process:

  • Harvest green coffee beans
  • Roast them
  • Grind them
  • Brew a large batch of coffee

From this point, there are two methods.

Method 1: Spray Drying (the hot way)

In this method, brewed coffee is sprayed in a very fine mist into very dry air heated to around 480°F. As the coffee falls through this super-desert, it dries out and falls to the ground as completely dehydrated coffee crystals.

Method 2: Freeze Drying (the cold way)

On the other end of the temperature spectrum is freeze drying. In this method, water is removed through various methods–evaporation, freezing to remove water ice, or spinning in a centrifuge to separate by density–to create hyper-concentrated coffee (about 40% dissolved solids to 60% water).

This concentrate is cooled to at least -50°F as quickly as possible, with quicker cooling times resulting in smaller crystals. These crystals are then sent to a vacuum chamber where heat is applied to melt ice in the crystals and evaporate it away.

Other Uses for Instant Coffee

While these 10 best instant coffees are great in lattes or mochas, there are still a ton of delicious desserts, sides, and main dishes that use instant coffee as a flavoring agent.

Chef’s Tip: A major benefits of using instant coffee is that it gives your dish all the coffee flavor it needs without adding extra liquid.

If you happen to have some leftover instant coffee but want to experiment with all of the different types of coffee makers and methods of brewing coffee from fresh beans, try your instant coffee in these recipes.

Desserts

Drinks

Main Dishes

Breakfast

Best Instant Coffee

The Coffee Maven's Top Pick

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts Pure Indulgence Instant Coffee

Douwe Egberts is a Dutch national favorite that has been serving fantastic coffee for 200 years. They’re one of the first brands in the instant coffee market and have maintained a strong presence ever since.

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About The Coffee Maven
bryan de luca
Bryan De Luca

I'm Bryan but most people know me as The Coffee Maven. I grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts and received my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Providence College. My first introduction to coffee was during my college days, when I used it as a source of caffeine to fuel late-night study sessions, but soon I became obsessed with the chemistry of coffee. How did changes to water temperature or contact time affect its taste? Why do beans from Africa taste fruity while beans from Indonesia taste spicy? I launched The Coffee Maven in February 2017 to explore these questions and help others brew their perfect cup. Welcome to my site, and thanks for reading!