Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jan 31, 2008 08:14 AM

Instant Coffee

Ok - some of you won't talk to me now :)
I never got into the Starbucks coffee a day habit. I heard a story on the radio once that if you buy 4-5 a week, you could've invested that money and by the time you retire it might have amounted to about $40K.

In any case, I was having a coffee once or twice a week, but it's too darn expensive and I feel guilty. So I started bringing instant into work. I'm a flavored coffee fluff - no black for me. So I've been getting International Foods. For the price of 1 Starbucks, I can get maybe 20 cups of IF coffee. But I'm starting to get really sick of the flavors. The only one I consistently like is hazelnut. Many of the others have a distinctly artifical taste - could be powdered creamer.

In any case, is there a comparable, instant, flavored, budget conscious coffee out there that you like? Or, how do you wean yourself from the $20/wk Starbucks habit? [Yes I have coffee at work. No it's not any good.]

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Allright. I'm going to sound like the snob that I am. Its ok. I don't like instant coffee for anything other than to maybe flavor frostings or cheesecake. I also refuse to pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee. The coffee avail. to me at work also is not an option (yech). So, and this sounds silly, I bring a french press to work. It really isn't that much of a hassle to pour hot water in their and let it steep for five mins. Just like making tea. And I get light fragrant coffee whenever I want. Maybe a bit much for you but it works in my case.

    1. sasha1....I'm not sure there is an "ideal" solution. However, I can tell you what I did the last year or two before I retired. First, I had coffee...uhhmmm... available at work too...disgusting stuff. Though I worked downtown in a major city there wasn't a SB or anything approaching it nearby. We did have a rather upscale retail area on the ground floor of the building, but decent coffee just didn't exist there. I bought one of those "bullet" thermos things. I would french press my coffee before leaving for work...adding cream and a bit of raw sugar, and I could at least "make it thru the day".
      At least the coffee wasn't burnt, nor did it go downhill to the point that it was undrinkable. This was not the "best" coffee, but it sure beat the heck outta that rancid mess that was available for free....or worse for purchase. I do like nathanac's idea, but somehow that never really occured to me. I'm not sure it would have been worth the somewhat messy inconvenience, and I'm sure I would have forgotten "the works" everyday. Whereas with the thermos, I just kept it in the bag I carried my unbrella, emergency food supplies, and other misc. stuff that just couldn't go into a briefcase or laptop bag. I just don't think I could bring myself to drink instant coffee for any reason.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Deepster

        I'm glad this topic came up. I'm not a gourmet coffee fan. I just like a good mellow cup in the morning to get me going. I use a French press.

        However, the town I'm in is going through a severe drought, We may be confined to 25 gallons of water a day per person. The French press is a big water user in the clean up so I'm considering switching to instant to get me through the water rationing, if it comes to that. I gotta have my wakeup cup.

        1. re: MrsRosencranz

          Well, MrsRosencranz, we all live to eat(or in this case drink) our words!
          I now live in a very remote mountainous area where my water comes right out of the ground. When I have no electricity, I have no water. I have to use a propane camp stove to heat/cook anything in these instances. During the winter particularly outages can happen often. Going into last winter, I decided "instant" may be the route to go becouse I'd only have stored water to use. I bought 3 brands of the tiniest bottles of the following....Taster's Choice, Maxwell House, and Nescafe....figuring I could use them in cooking if I didn't drink them. Well, as it turns out, I tested all three, and the handsdown winner was Nescafe. I think if I were in your shoes, I'd probably be checking out alternatives to the prees, too! I still keep one of those small jars around just in case of such an emergency. I do limit my consumption of coffee to one cup in the morning now, so it wasn't bad for the period that it "had to be done". I am one of those people who still feels for whatever reason that I just can't start my day without that one caffiene injection :0. I'd go with Nescafe.

          1. re: Deepster

            I spent a couple of months living with a family in Greece when I was a student. Morning coffee was made by pouring some evapoarted milk into a cup, adding Nescafe, stirring like crazy until it was dissolved and then adding boiling water. It was frothy and delicious and I'm getting nostalgic .....

            1. re: janeh

              Nescafe is the only instant I like. I mix it with warm milk and hot water......

              The International flavored ones are good too, but I don't really consider them instant coffee, more like glorified hot chocolate.

            2. re: Deepster

              Hazelnut instant nescafe is good mixed with a spoonful or two of hot chocolate. One cup of that and you will be WIDE AWAKE

        2. If you want to save $$$ and not have to resort to instant, have you thought about investing in those "cup for one" filters. They attach to the top of a cup and it brews coffee (almost like a manual coffee maker). You can also get tea bags for loose tea and brew your coffee that way.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MrsT

            I have tried a one-cup drip at work without good results (I'm fussy). I would not bring a French press to work because it might break, and it is nasty and dirty when it comes to clean up.
            Along comes the Aeropress, and it is ideal for work, and not expensive:
            Amazon calls it an espresso maker, but it really is a normal coffee brewer; a poor man's Clover.
            It makes a perfect mug in two minutes, and clean up is a snap. Like a10 second rinse to get it ready for tomorrow!
            Plus, it is unbreakable, and easy to take on trips.
            And it is not made in China...

          2. If you like lattes, try the new International Foods (makers of the cappucino mix) individual lattes. They have little packets of Vanilla Lattes, Mocha Lattes, and Hazelnut Lattes. They are decent, better than work coffee. If you want something a little stronger, try mixing the packet with coffee instead of the recommended water.

            1. Hi there - go to a Korean or Japanese grocery store and buy almost any kind of instant coffee from there. I particularly like the Korean instant coffees that come in boxes of individual packets. We are coffee snobs but this is what we take backpacking. Hope you find some that you like!