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Instant Coffee

I know, there are coffee purists out there who are fainting dead away just thinking about instant coffee. But I just drink a small cup at night lately while doing homework, and at that not every night, so it's just not worth it (to me) to get a coffee maker or a Keurig. And I would think that a french press would make more coffee than I'd really need. (Maybe not?)

I've been drinking Taster's Choice, but wasn't sure if there were other options out there. Cheap options. (So Starbucks instant coffee is probably not viable for me.)


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  1. Consider one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Melitta-Ready-S... (3 bucks on Amazon, roughly the same if you find one locally).

    They're really convenient, filters are inexpensive, and this way you can buy a small container of good coffee, rather than a larger container of mediocre instant.

    I'm hoping that didn't come off as too coffee-snob, but I love those brewers as a power-outage backup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: shanagain

      I agree, this is a better solution. I've had one of these for decades, but might spring for the new one because it now has a cut out on one side so you can see how full the cup is. What took them so long to come up with that?

      You also might want to consider something like this:
      My mom has had one of these for years and loves it. I used to take something similar to this on the road when I was traveling for work, because I like having fresh coffee in my motel room first thing in the morning. Even though it comes with a permanent filter, I would spring for the number one Melita paper filters.

    2. I do like making a nice cup in my french press on the weekends or for a special occasion and will often drink coffee out when I know the restaurant puts in the effort, but as I am the only one in my family who drinks coffee,I have been using folgers instant for years. It is not the same but as I use Splenda and milk anyway the taste is not so different. So far, my best cheapest easiest option when I just want the basic cup of joe without the fuss.

      1. taster's choice is the best source of instant coffee but you have to get to start using percolated coffee, that is the best.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ashihad

          Wait a minute...percolated coffee is the best?

          1. re: ashihad

            Percolators violate most of the natural laws about brewing coffee.
            o Don't over extract the oils and flavor. Percolators work by taking coffee and reheating it and throwing it over the grounds over and over and over again.

            o Never reheat/boil coffee. This destroys the flavor. For best flavor, boil the water, pass it over the grounds and retain the heat. Don't reheat it.

            Violating these rules may not sound like much, but these are about the only rules there are. The effect of a percolator is to keep passing boiling water/coffee over the grounds until there is no flavor left and the flavor in the coffee is so dead that it's a worthless waste.

            1. re: grampart

              Grampart I percolate mine and love it. However only for 3-4 minutes and lower the temperature so it doesn't boil too hard. Too much boiling for too long will make the coffee bitter.

          2. You can get a French press in a single cup size, and make just a small cup with it.

            You can also find single cup drip coffee filters that fit on top of your cup, that will also make a single cup.

            1. I don't know what the price of this would be where you are (in the State perhaps) - but Jacobs Kronung instant coffee is considered the best where I am.

              1. This probably isn't the answer you are looking for but I'm in the same boat as you...I drink no more than 1 cup a day at home. I grew up drinking instant coffee and bought a 12 cup Braun drip machine when they first came out. I didn't use it very much, pretty much only for large gatherings. Got one of those Melitta 1 cup/brew directly-into-your-mug things...too much hassle for me (first you gotta boil the water, then pour into the Melitta thing a little at a time as the grounds swell up, then drain). Finally I got a small 4 cup brewer a few weeks ago (Cuisinart) and use it quite a bit. I make 4 cups, drink one and the (small) pot goes into the fridge. I nuke the rest when I feel like another cup. Njuking doesn't affect the quality.

                I'm not a coffee purist by any stretch of the imagination. I grew up in a home where instant coffee was used, and I prefer drip coffee. This method works for me, possibly not for you.

                1 Reply
                1. re: alwayshungrygal

                  I kind relate to your coffee experience as when Istarted to like drinking coffee and I was by myself I tried all kinds of instant coffee and when I went home on my annual vacations I always carried an instant coffee jar as my parents drank turkish coffee all day long but for some reasons my mother joined me while I was preparing instant...she liked it very much and after i got married i switched to coffee machines using french roast, drip coffee is the best. Drinking coffee in the early hours of the morning is the most enjoyable part of my day.

                2. I don't drink instant, but an Indian lady I work with says that in India, most people who drink coffee drink instant. She buys hers at an Indian grocery and says it is much better than the North American kind.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    In Jerusalem, getting "filter coffee" is pretty rare and instant coffee (combined with espresso served at cafes reigns king). And I do agree that the standard Nescafe I get here tastes better than any instant I've ever had in the US. (Jacobs Kronung is the brand used by people who like a better brand)

                    I've always wondered if it's just the fact that in places where consumption of instant coffee is higher, then the product moves off the shelf faster and is ultimately fresher by the time it gets to the consumer.

                    However, I also believe that Lipton yellow label tea abroad is better than in the US.

                    1. re: cresyd

                      Most parts of Jerusalem use Turkish coffee and when I visit there I bring instant coffee for my personal use....rarely I found people with coffee machines there. As for your remark about Lipton I noticed the same experience so I avoid lipton in USA I prefer to use Early Gray, tea bags or preferably, leaves.

                      1. re: ashihad

                        Turkish coffee is definitely common - but instant coffee I would stay edges it out in overall generic use popularity. Even in cafes the order of instant coffee on milk is a relatively common order (ends up being a lump of Nescafe served over steamed milk - really quite nice).

                        In restaurants Turkish coffee and espresso based drinks are the most common, but in homes, offices, etc - instant is king.

                        1. re: cresyd

                          Turkish coffee is common? Not in my experience. The two retailers that I buy green beans from don't even offer anything from Turkey. Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, etc., and nary a bean from Turkey and I can't recall ever seeing it offered in a restaurant. I'm sure it's available somewhere, but I, for sure, wouldn't call it common.

                          1. re: grampart

                            "Turkish coffee" as being from Turkey - no, but the style of grind and how the coffee is prepared.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              I got this from Turkish-coffee.org

                              To make proper Turkish coffee you need Turkish coffee beans, a Turkish coffee pot (“cezve”), and Turkish coffee cups (“fincan”), and optionally, if you want to grind the beans, a Turkish coffee grinder (“kahve degirmeni”).

                              1. re: grampart

                                Appreciate telling us about the Turkish words for the Turkish coffeee, but I like to correct you that there is no such Turkish coffee beans, coffee beans come from Africa, South America or Indonesia or Yemen.....what happens next, which is very important, that is after it is roasted it has to be grounded at the Turkish level which is very fine just like powder. If the coffee beans, whatever they are, if they are not roasted properly or grounded properly, you cant prepare turkish coffee.....you have to use kahve degirmeni.

                            2. re: grampart

                              Turkey does not plant or produce coffee beans. Turks have been very famous of preparing Turkish coffee which has a very unique taste. By the same token, England does not plant or produce tea, but it is known that British prepare the best cup of tea.

                            3. re: cresyd

                              our discussion and comments are not for competition purposes.....Turkish coffee is very common and popular in the Middle East and north Africa...instant coffee is popular in other parts of the world....lovers of Turkish coffee in the Middle East, Turkey, and many other countries would not agree with you....here at my home my wife likes and loves Turkish coffee while I prefer a mug of a very hot black coffee.

                              1. re: ashihad

                                As Isaid in my first post, I had never heard of Turkish coffee beans. I then went to a site that sounded like they would know about Turkish coffee (turkish-coffee.org) and found the info that I copied into my second post. THEY are the ones that stated you need Turkish beans to make Turkish coffee. Correct them, not me. I don't consider these discussions a "competition" either.

                                1. re: ashihad

                                  From my experiences in the Middle East, and just to engage in debate not competition - there are those who only drink Turkish coffee, those who only drink instant coffee and those who drink both. And based on my experiences living, working and shopping here - instant is more popular. Perhaps not best enjoyed or savored, but commonly consumed as a quick option.

                          2. re: CanadaGirl

                            There's a great halal market near my son's father. Next time I do the little man swap, I'll pop in there and see what they have!

                          3. I believe that a year or two ago Starbucks developed a new kind of instant coffee. I have not had it, but if you are not against instant coffee you may want to give that one a try. Apparently it is not cheap, but some say it is good.

                            1. **An update**

                              I bought one of those one-cup-drips. Used it for a week. Hated it. I actually liked the taste better from what I was getting out of my instant coffee. So back to the instant I go!!

                              Thanks for the brand suggestions - the Starbucks is pricey, as I'm now drinking consistently at night while doing homework, but quite honestly? The Target brand did me just fine!


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                The only reason possible for your results to come out poorly is the quality of the ground coffee you used. I recently switched to whole coffee beans. I grind up just enough for a single cup of coffee and it tastes much better than the grocery store ground coffee, Folgers, etc. (I buy whole coffee beans fromm Aldi at $4/pound.)

                                1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                  I've had luck with the plain old Nescafe sticks, but I use two sticks per single cup.

                                  Like others here, I'm not a coffee aficionado, so YMMV, but it suited me fine. I do use cream and sweetener, if that makes a difference to you.

                                  1. re: Violatp

                                    I started to learn how to drink coffee by using cream and sugar.......then I cut the cream,and later the sugar....now it is as dark as a rainy night.

                                  2. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                    I'm sorry my rec didn't pan out for you.

                                    When you drink brewed coffee at a restaurant or someone else's home, do you usually like it? Because I also can't understand how you'd have a bad outcome from the one-cup drip model unless it's actually bad coffee. Or (like me & my Coke Zero instead of regular Coke) you've just come to prefer the "bad" version.

                                  3. I like instant too.but I drink a lot of coffee and like mine VERY strong

                                    Taster's choice is good. My wife makes it regular, I make it about 3X normal. We usually take some on trips since I find in-room coffee way too weak

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                      drinking coffee whether it is instant or otherwise is good for you, i drink coffee about 4 mugs in the early morning starting as 5:00 am. Taster's choice was my favorite.

                                    2. Trader Joe's 100% Colombian instant coffee is very good.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: John Francis

                                        Unfortunately, the OP probably hasn't looked recently, but according to my sister she loves Cafe Pilon Expresso Instant Coffee. She bought a jar in a Target store that was closing them out and now she can't find them in these parts (Southern California). She's even contemplating ordering a case from some place online. Apparently one of her workmates is now hooked on the stuff too. She did buy a small jar of Nescafe Dolca at a 99 cents only store for mom and my sister thought it was better than most U.S. instants. The Nescafe said made in Mexico. I've heard U.S. instant coffee is not very good. I only drink coffee when I eat out so I get brewed coffee, so my knowledge of instants is non-existent.

                                      2. I don't normally drink instant coffee, but do keep it around for emergencies - particularly for when we don't have power & I can just boil water on our little propane camp stove.

                                        I like Folgers crystals, which they've just started putting out in boxes of those little individual foil packets that single-serving powdered soft drinks come in. Bought a box of those just the other day, figuring they'll stay fresher longer in those little packets than a whole jar will. Especially since I don't use instant all that often.