Not all coffees are created equal. That’s why we have analyzed the differences between instant coffee vs ground coffee to learn what sets them apart and help you decide the best way to enjoy your morning cup of joe.
Table of Contents
- Everything You Need to Know
- The Differences of Ground Cofee and Instant Coffee
- Bottom Line: Which is Better?
- Final Thoughts
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks globally, and while there are many different ways to make coffee, the two most common methods are ground coffee and instant coffee.
However, not everyone knows what exactly sets these two types of coffee apart, and in today’s article, we will be taking a much closer look at instant coffee vs ground coffee.
|Instant Coffee||Ground Coffee|
|Flavor||May seem bitter to some, and the texture is watery||Delicate, complex, and with a fine texture|
|Caffeine||66 mg per 225 g cup||112 mg per 225 g cup|
|Solubility||Dissolves completely in water||Remains in the coffee as sediment unless strained|
|Brew Time||A couple of seconds since you just pour hot water over it||5-15 minutes, depending on the brewing method|
|Ease of Use||You need to know how to pour hot water in a cup||You need to know how to handle the coffee maker|
|Cleanup||Just rinse the cup and the spoon||You need to wash all the coffee maker's removable parts, cup, and kitchen utensils|
|Price||Starting at $1.15 per ounce||Starting at $1 per ounce|
Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee: Everything You Need to Know
Before we talk about the pros and cons of each type of coffee, let’s first take a quick look at what ground coffee and instant coffee are:
What is Ground Coffee?
As you can probably tell from the name, ground coffee is coffee that has been ground into small pieces.
The grounds are usually ground to a medium or fine grind, and this type of coffee is typically brewed using a coffee maker.
What is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is known under a wide variety of names all around the world, including:
- Soluble coffee
- Coffee crystals
- Instant coffee powder
- Powdered coffee
To make instant coffee, they brew coffee, then freeze-dry or spray-dry the liquid to create the coffee granules that you’re probably familiar with.
Ground Coffee vs Instant Coffee – Differences
Now that you know how the two different types of coffee are produced, let’s take a look at the key differences between instant coffee vs ground coffee:
In terms of flavor alone, pretty much everyone agrees that ground coffee tastes better than instant coffee.
When ground coffee is brewed, the water extracts all of the oils, flavor compounds, and aromatics from the ground beans to give you a much more flavorful cup of coffee.
When instant coffee is made, some of these flavor compounds are lost in the drying process, resulting in a brew that’s usually very bitter and completely lacks any side flavors.
On the bright side, it’s easier to enhance the taste of instant coffee because it dissolves and mixes easily with pretty much anything you can think of adding, such as coffee spices, cream, or milk.
In terms of caffeine content, there are minor differences between instant coffee vs ground coffee, although the extraction process tends to remove some of the caffeine (along with some other chemicals).
For example, a study that compared the caffeine contents of various coffee types had pretty conclusive results:
- One cup of regular instant coffee had about 66 mg of caffeine
- One cup of regular drip brew coffee had about 112 mg of caffeine
However, the amount of caffeine in your cup of coffee mostly depends on the used bean type rather than the brewing method.
So if you’re planning to drink the same amount of coffee every day, it’s best to choose beans with higher caffeine content.
Instant coffee was created because it was much more soluble than ground coffee.
What does this mean for you as a coffee drinker? You can make a cup of instant coffee with just about any type of water, and you don’t have to worry about finding any sediments in your brew, either.
Solubility and brew time go hand in hand, and ground coffee takes significantly longer to brew than instant coffee.
This is because ground coffee relies on contact time with hot water to release all of the flavors and oils from the ground beans.
So if you’re using a drip brewer, you need to wait anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes for a cup of coffee. On the other hand, instant coffee can be brewed in as little as 10 seconds with just about any type of water.
Ease of Use
For ease of use, instant coffee takes the cake – no contest, ground coffee is just way too complicated.
To make ground coffee, you need to:
- Measure the number of beans
- Grind them up
- Add a filter to the coffee maker
- Add the ground coffee
- Measure the amount of water that you’ll add to the reservoir
- Wait for up to 10 minutes for the coffee to be done
On the other hand, you just have to add coffee granules to a cup of hot water and stir it to make a cup of instant coffee.
Cleanup is yet another criteria where instant coffee is by far the winner since there’s no coffee maker or ground beans to deal with.
If you prefer drinking ground coffee, you’ll need to clean the coffee maker, throw away the filter (which can be pretty messy), and then deal with the ground beans.
So, if you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to make coffee, then instant coffee is the way to go.
This is where ground coffee and instant coffee are pretty much on par with each other since both are cheap.
Bottom Line: What’s Better between Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee?
Now that we know the key differences between instant coffee vs ground coffee, it’s time to answer the big question: which is better?
Well, it all depends on what your priorities are:
- A drink with a very complex and delicate flavor – Choose ground coffee
- Create a hot beverage in just a few seconds – Choose instant coffee
- Higher caffeine content – Choose ground coffee
- Easily store coffee – Choose instant coffee
- Hate overly processed products – Choose ground coffee
- Hate cleaning up the kitchen – Choose instant coffee
- Get more involved in the coffee preparation – Choose ground coffee
Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee (FAQ)
There’s more to these two types of coffee than just the taste. If you have any more questions about instant vs ground coffee, keep reading below.
Are instant coffee and ground coffee the same?
No, they are different. Ground coffee is just regular roasted coffee beans grounded to a powdery or sandy consistency. Meanwhile, instant coffee is made by extracting the soluble parts of ground coffee and then freeze-drying or spray-drying them to obtain granules.
Can I use ground coffee as instant coffee?
Yes, with a little imagination, you can use ground coffee as a substitute for instant coffee. For example, grinding coffee beans to a very fine consistency creates the texture of instant coffee since it will dissolve a lot easier. But you will still have sediments at the bottom of your cup.
How to make instant coffee?
To make instant coffee, add two tablespoons of instant coffee to eight ounces of hot water, and stir until dissolved.
How to make instant coffee from ground coffee powder?
You can use the coffee grinder at home to make something similar to instant coffee by grinding the coffee beans to a very fine consistency, sifting the grounds to separate the larger pieces, and then grinding those until they too are a fine powder. You can then add this ground coffee to your hot water and stir.
How is instant coffee made?
Instant coffee is made from brewed coffee that is then concentrated and freeze-dried. The concentrate is mixed with water and sugar to make a beverage that can be served hot or cold. You can also combine instant coffee with milk and other flavors to create different drinks.
Is instant coffee bad for you?
It depends on each person. Some people believe that instant coffee is unhealthy due to the high levels of added sugar and artificial ingredients, while others claim that it is no different than drinking regular coffee.
Does instant coffee have caffeine?
Yes, instant coffee has caffeine.
How much caffeine is it in instant coffee?
It takes about 100 milligrams of caffeine to produce an effect in adults when it comes to instant coffee.
Does instant coffee go bad?
Yes, instant coffee eventually goes bad.
How long does ground coffee last?
Ground coffee can last anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. On the other hand, instant coffee can last for up to 20 years if stored properly.
Can ground coffee go bad?
Yes, ground coffee can go bad – and it doesn’t take very long for it to happen. Once ground coffee is exposed to oxygen, it loses its flavor pretty quickly. If you add hot water and the coffee blooms (produces foam), it means that the ground coffee is still fresh.
Final Thoughts on Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee
Now you know the key differences between instant coffee vs ground coffee, and we hope that this will make it easier for you to choose the best coffee type.
Both ground coffee and instant coffee have their own unique set of pros and cons, so it all comes down to what your priorities are.
Whatever you decide, we hope that you enjoy your cup of coffee!