We have all now become accustomed to the heady aroma and flavour wafting from our many coffee shops, and the upside to this is that more shoppers are experimenting with fresh rather than instant coffee. This experimentation for most coffee drinkers is still as an occasional treat rather than the norm. End of.
If you are one of the many shoppers that still buys instant coffee and would like to know more about its various forms? Then below may help a little.
There are two main types of instant coffee: ground or powder-like, which is the least expensive (and least like coffee), and granular and freeze-dried, which is the best because it undergoes a gentler manufacturing process enabling more of the desirable coffee nuances to be retained. This in turn seems to encourage producers to use better-quality coffee beans so that the finished product gains a double aroma and flavour advantage over the powder and granular style. Of course, it is more expensive.
Over the last 15 years, the quality of instant coffee has improved significantly. The best freeze-dried examples delivered a real freshly-ground aroma when the jar was first opened – but it’s all done by clever adjustment.
The problem is that however gentle the manufacturing process, by the time the coffee is ready for packing the fresh smell and taste has disappeared. To restore that flavour to the jar, the coffee is sprayed (quite legitimately) with oil from pressed coffee beans and then sealed and packed, ready for sale. Hence the initially fresh-coffee-like aroma!
But, it is short-lived. After a few days, even the best instant coffee is much more bland and tasteless. Until manufacturers find a way to keep the flavour fresh for longer – and believe me, they’re trying – instant coffee drinkers would do well NOT to buy big jars. Small is beautiful where instant coffee is concerned!
Freeze dried instant coffee:
Nescafe Alta Rica Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
LIDL Granarom Colombian Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Better than Lidl’s Gold Freeze Dried coffee, but it is still a long way off freshly ground Colombian coffee.
Competing Brand: Nescafe
The Co-operative Fairtrade Gold Roast Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Without and with milk this coffee is a big step down in quality from the leading brand.
Competing Brands: Nescafe
Sainsbury’s Gold Roast Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
When compared to the competing brand it’s a step down in jar aroma and cup flavour, but if you take your coffee with milk and sugar it’s a cheaper alternative.
Competing Brand: Nescafe
Waitrose Colombian Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
The jar aroma and the cup taste is of a similar quality to the leading brands. If the price, size and style fits – put a jar in the trolley.
Competing Brands: Carte Noire & Nescafe