Maybe it doesn’t taste like Chemex or pour over, but instant coffee has its advantages. In the morning when you don’t have the time for anything (not even your Keurig) instant coffee can be a lifesaver.
It’s perfect for the office or any occasion when your only option is to mix some coffee with hot water. It’s super quick and convenient to use. It stays fresh long and has longer shelf life than regular coffee so it’s a good option if you don’t drink coffee on a daily basis. It’s a pretty good base for iced coffee drinks and it’s often used in cake recipes.
Here are a few tips on how to make good instant coffee at home:
COFFEE TO WATER RATIO
The most common mistake people make is always using the same coffee to water ratio. Depending on the coffee brand (and blend) this ratio may vary. I suggest reading directions first (especially when using a specific blend for the first) but don’t follow them blindly either.
Manufacturers often overvalue the quality of their coffee powder so you will end up with a watery cup of coffee (this often happens with instant cappuccino mixes). Is it too watery – add less water next time. Too strong – add little more water and a bit of fresh milk. Always follow your own taste!
For most instant coffees, the ratio is 1-2 tsp granules/powder or 1 single pack per 8 oz water. The water for should be hot, but not boiling.
ADD FRESH MILK
Even if instant coffee already contains powdered milk, add some fresh milk for extra creaminess. I like to use 3/4 cup coffee and 1/4 milk. Some prefer 1/2 cup coffee and 1/2 cup milk.
Regular and flavored instant coffees normally have the same price, so you may want to try out different instant coffee flavors.
NO COFFEE MAKER REQUIRED
I know it’s surprising, but I do get emails asking if instant coffee should be brewed in a coffee maker. The answer is NO. Both granules and instant powder are produced in that way that you only need hot water to make coffee. There are no coffee machines involved. You may use the coffee maker, but just to get the hot water, and for that purpose only. Do not put instant coffee in your coffee maker especially if it has powdered milk. Burnt milk smell it’s almost impossible to clean.
If you use a microwave to make instant coffee, again, use it just to heat up the water. Fill up a mug with water, heat the water in the microwave like you normally would. When done, add coffee, milk, creamer etc. No need to microwave it again.
How to make your own instant coffee
Instant coffee production technology is a complicated process and it can’t be done at home. Even if you love DIY projects and there are some crazy ideas on the web, please skip this one. Instant coffees really are not that expensive, they come in so many different flavors and from so many different brands and there’s no reason to complicate things. Simply buy a bag, make yourself some coffee and enjoy!
For most instant coffees, the proper ratio is 1 – 2 full tsp granules/powder or 1 single pack per 8 oz water. The water for should be hot, but not boiling.
If you drink your coffee black, 1 full tsp or 1 1/2 tsp of coffee per 8 oz of water should be ok. It depends on the brand really.
As mentioned, for coffee with milk I use 3/4 cup coffee (1 full tsp coffee + 6 oz water) and 1/4 milk. You may also use 1/2 cup coffee (1 full tsp coffee + 4 oz water) and 1/2 cup milk.
If you want to make iced coffee with instant coffee powder, this ratio is normally really good: 1 full tsp of coffee granules, 4 oz water, 4 oz cold milk (or half and half) and ice cubes.
Instant cappuccino will taste much better if you use a single pack per 6 ounces of water and add a bit of milk.