Reaching for a cup of instant coffee is the most practical thing to do, no matter if you are hurrying to get somewhere or trying to tighten the purse strings. Alas, even the best instant coffee is no match for the worst brewed coffee. If heading to a coffee shop is not an option, fret not. There are many steps on how to make good instant coffee.
Instant coffee can be improved with the help of certain ingredients, such as cocoa powder, salt, alternate sweeteners, flavored coffee creamers, frothed milk — these and more can make a cup of instant coffee instantly better. They can cover up the taste of instant coffee that many serious coffee aficionados hate.
Think again if you believe that instant coffee is hopeless. If you need to get your caffeine fix in a flash or on a budget, you can turn it from abominable to incredible. All it takes is a little ingenuity.
Read on to know how to make good instant coffee that you may end up being hooked on!
But First: Why Does Instant Coffee Taste Bad?
Instant coffee tastes bad because of the manufacturing process. Brewing roasted coffee beans and spray- or freeze-drying the extract to turn it into powder causes exposure to the elements. This gives instant coffee a bitter and sour taste. It also causes instant coffee to have a chalky consistency.
Refrain from assuming that instant coffee is made from artificial ingredients that taste like coffee. Even if it tastes bad, the fact remains that instant coffee is still made from actual coffee beans.
Unfortunately, it goes through a lot of things before it gets to your cup, making it pale in comparison with brewed coffee. Some instant coffees in the market taste better than the rest.
However, when you check the list of ingredients on the packaging, they contain all kinds of chemicals to make them lovable to casual and serious coffee drinkers.
But there is hope…
10 Things That Improve Taste of Instant Coffee
It’s true that you can’t change the taste of instant coffee. However, you can change the way you enjoy it. All you have to do is use the right ingredients.
Whether you are in a rush or trying to stretch your shopping budget, read on. Below, you will come across some of the most creative ways on how to make good instant coffee!
One of the reasons why instant coffee is loathed by many is the fact that it tastes a little bitter and sour.
You can put the blame on the so-called “amylum”, which is a type of carbohydrate found in instant coffee powder.
Dissolving instant coffee in hot water causes its amylum content to harden, thus making instant coffee taste, well, instant.
To keep amylum from making a cup of instant coffee taste bitter and sour, dissolve coffee powder in hot water. This will slowly liquefy amylum, causing instant coffee to taste more like the real deal.
Combine instant coffee and equal amounts of cold water. Keep on stirring until dissolved. Add hot water and stir some more.
Many people who have already tried this method swear that it’s like drinking a cup of brewed coffee. The resulting drink has a bolder taste and richer aroma, keeping you from thinking that what you are enjoying is instant coffee.
By the way, there are a couple of things to remember:
- Use filtered instead of tap water. Tap water can have an unfavorable effect on the taste of instant coffee, thanks to its sometimes metallic or acidic taste. Using distilled water is good, too, if you find it better to have a flatter cup of instant coffee rather than one with a chemical taste.
- Use hot water, not boiling water. Instant coffee tastes best if the water is between 190°F to 205°F (boiling water is 212°F). Boiling water burns instant coffee powder, causing you to end up with a bitter-tasting cup. Remove boiling water from heat and wait a couple of minutes before pouring it into a cup.
It’s no secret that butter goes so well with bread, pasta, potatoes, seafood and steak.
But did you know that it goes really well with coffee, too?
One to two tablespoons of butter can make a cup of instant coffee creamy and delicious. Instant coffee with a little butter tastes like a latte, but without the tons of sugar.
Adding butter to coffee is nothing new. People on the ketogenic or keto diet have been adding butter to their coffee for already a long time.
Coffee with butter is called “bulletproof coffee” — it’s named after Bulletproof Nutrition Inc. founded by David Asprey, the “biohacker” who introduced coffee with butter to everyone in the US.
By the way, bulletproof coffee is also sometimes referred to as “butter coffee” or “keto coffee”.
Because butter is rich in fats and coffee has zero calories, the combination of the two makes for the perfect beverage for anyone on the keto diet, a weight-loss diet that involves a diet high in fat and low in carbs.
Even if you are not trying to shed off excess pounds, adding butter to instant coffee is a great idea. It will make you forget that you are drinking instant coffee.
However, since butter is high in saturated fat, which may increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, consult your doctor first if you have a heart condition.
According to a study, sodium ions can suppress the bitter flavor of instant coffee. Adding a pinch of salt won’t make instant coffee salty. It will make it more enjoyable.
If the bitter taste is what makes you loathe instant coffee, reach for the salt shaker instead of the sugar jar.
When paired with a little salt, there is one add-on that can make instant coffee taste phenomenal. It’s none other than cocoa powder.
Together with salt, you can pamper yourself with a cup of salted chocolate coffee!
It’s great in the wintertime when served piping hot and perfect in the summertime when served ice cold.
Are you someone who loves coffee and chocolate at the same time? You can enjoy both of them at once by adding cocoa powder to a cup of instant coffee — every sip will give you the best of both worlds!
Because one of the things that make people dislike instant coffee is the bitter and sour taste, there is a specific type of cocoa powder that’s best for use with instant coffee.
It’s none other than Dutch-process cocoa. Also sometimes referred to as “Dutched cocoa”, it’s cocoa powder that is less bitter and acidic than full-flavored natural cocoa powder.
Put simply, Dutched cocoa is made from cocoa beans or cocoa solids treated with an alkalizing agent, a solution that usually contains potassium carbonate. This reduces the natural acidity of cocoa.
Many of those who have tried adding cocoa powder to their instant coffee were unhappy. That’s because cocoa powder did not get fully dissolved.
Well, there is no need to forget sprucing up instant coffee with cocoa powder. The following steps will make sure that there will be no clumps of cocoa powder swimming in your instant coffee…
- Combine instant coffee powder and cocoa powder.
- Add equal amounts of hot water.
- Keep on stirring (about 30 seconds) until you come up with a syrup-like consistency.
- Slowly pour in hot water while stirring.
That’s it — you just made the perfect cup of instant coffee with cocoa powder!
The most common sweetener for coffee is sugar. It can make a cup of instant coffee sweet alright. However, sugar won’t necessarily improve the taste of instant coffee.
This is why it’s a good idea to ditch sugar if you want a better-tasting cup of instant coffee. Instead, you should sweeten it with an alternate sweetener.
Just about anything that’s sweet and thick can be used for making instant coffee not only taste sweet but also taste incredibly better. One very good example is honey.
Besides making instant coffee sweet, honey also infuses it with mild floral notes that are usually difficult to describe.
It’s for this reason why you should add honey little by little until you are satisfied with instant coffee’s taste. You can always add more honey if you are unhappy with the taste — but you cannot subtract some honey from instant coffee.
Another alternate sweetener that you may give a try is maple syrup. Because maple syrup has hints of vanilla and caramel, it will surely make a cup of instant coffee taste different.
Molasses is another alternate sweetener that you may try — it will lend its warm and earthy flavor to instant coffee.
Some people love adding sweetened condensed milk to instant coffee. Not only will it make instant coffee sweeter but also richer and creamier.
But if you are trying to drop some pounds or stay within your ideal weight, steer clear of sweetened condensed milk. A teaspoon of it has 21 calories.
On other hand, a teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.
A latte is the most popular beverage at coffee shops.
It’s one of the most expensive, too — it costs around $4.
If you want to enjoy the velvety texture of a latte without ending up with an enormous hole in your pocket, there is a workaround. All you have to do is add some frothed milk to a cup of instant coffee each time.
The addition of frothed milk helps get rid of the chalky consistency of instant coffee, which is one of the reasons why many people, including coffee aficionados, find it disgusting.
What’s more, frothed milk helps get rid of the acidity of instant coffee. That’s because milk is a very good neutralizer of acid. The more frothed milk you add to instant coffee, the richer and less acidic it becomes.
Adding a little of your favorite sweetener, too, can turn a cup of instant coffee from horrible to incredible!
There is no need to get your hands on an espresso machine to have some frothed milk for your instant coffee. All you have to do is follow these simple steps…
- Grab a jar with a lid.
- Pour whole milk or full cream milk in it — fill no more than one-half of the jar.
- Tightly screw in the lid.
- Give the jar a vigorous shake for about 30 to 60 seconds.
Pour frothed milk into a cup of instant coffee, and you will never see instant coffee the same again!
Especially during the coldest months of the year, you can make a piping hot cup of instant coffee perfect for the season by adding a shot of liquor to it — alcohol adds a kick to lackluster instant coffee.
Just because the sun is bright and shiny doesn’t mean that you cannot add liquor to instant coffee. A spiced glass of iced instant coffee can make summertime even more mesmerizing.
Just make sure that you drink plenty of water as you engage in all sorts of fun and exciting activities under the sun. Both instant coffee and alcohol can dehydrate you!
Here are some liquors that go really well with instant coffee:
- Irish cream
- Chocolate liquor
- Hazelnut liquor
- Almond liquor
Refrain from making instant coffee taste interesting with liquor if you are about to drive a car or operate a piece of machinery — you don’t want to put yourself and everyone around you in danger.
Just a word of caution: Avoid putting lots of liquor in instant coffee or drinking several cups of instant coffee with alcohol. That’s because the caffeine in instant coffee masks the effects of alcohol. And when caffeine exits your system, you will experience the symptoms of having alcohol in your body all of a sudden.
Do you want a more wholesome addition to instant coffee than liquor? Then look no further than flavored coffee creamers. Like the name suggests, they are coffee creamers that come in all sorts of delicious and interesting flavors.
White chocolate, mocha, pecan, hazelnut, vanilla, caramel macchiato, Irish crème — these are just some of the many flavored coffee creamer flavors that you can get your hands on.
Using any one of them can instantly make instant coffee taste better. Using your absolute favorite can instantly make instant coffee unforgettable.
You can also come up with your signature instant coffee drink by mixing different coffee creamer flavors.
One of the nicest things about flavored coffee creamers is that you can use them on many other things than just instant coffee.
They go well with hot chocolate, tea, oatmeal, cream-based soups, fresh or dried fruits, and more!
When shopping for flavored coffee creamers, you have two options: liquid and powdered. It’s a great idea to opt for powdered flavored coffee creamers because they have a longer shelf life.
They also don’t need refrigeration — just make sure that you store them in a cool, dry place.
Liquid flavored coffee creamers, on the other hand, need to be refrigerated after opening.
Earlier, we mentioned that cocoa powder could help make instant coffee taste better. Some of the most popular add-ons for a cup of hot chocolate are marshmallows — they make hot chocolate richer and sweeter.
You can also count on marshmallows if you want to improve a cup of instant coffee. Adding marshmallows to instant coffee is like stirring in cream and sugar.
Vanilla is the most common marshmallow flavor, and it goes so well with instant coffee.
However, you may also go for marshmallows with a different flavor for an exciting and interesting cup.
If you are a massive fan of s’mores, you can have your dose of these well-loved campfire treats while enjoying a cup of instant coffee. Here are the simple steps on how to make s’mores coffee…
- Top a cup of instant coffee with marshmallows.
- Squeeze some chocolate syrup onto the marshmallows.
- Sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs.
That’s it — you just made your very first s’mores coffee!
Besides marshmallows, you may also spruce up instant coffee with marshmallow fluff. This fluffy product is the perfect add-on for iced instant coffee. But you can use it as a topping for hot instant coffee, too.
Herbs and Spices
Last but not least, there are herbs and spices. The presence of the word “instant” in the name of a food product makes it frowned upon by health-conscious people.
That’s because they are devoid of essential nutrients due to the manufacturing process. However, instant coffee is an exception — it still has plenty of health-giving antioxidants as brewed coffee.
If you want your instant coffee to taste better and make you healthier, too, add a little herb or spice to it!
Many herbs and spices are both for culinary and medicinal purposes. So, in other words, seasoned chefs and traditional healers count on them.
If you are on a tight budget, it’s a much better idea to head to the kitchen than the nearest coffee shop. Especially if you love to cook, there is no reason to drink an uninspiring cup of instant coffee.
Some of the herbs and spices that you may use to boost the flavor of instant coffee are…
- Cayenne pepper
- Star anise
Unfortunately, you cannot infuse iced instant coffee with any of the herbs and spices mentioned above.
For best results, use them on hot instant coffee. Or you may later on pour infused hot instant coffee into a glass of ice.
Just Before You Make a Cup of Instant Coffee
Drinking instant coffee need not leave you feeling miserable or deprived each time. With the addition of certain ingredients, you can have a cup of instant coffee that’s worthy of raving about on social media.
Above, we talked about certain ingredients that can help you enjoy a good cup of instant coffee. Feel free to give all of them a try to make every sip interesting and unforgettable.
And if you happen to fancy one or two (or all!) of the resulting blends, your day will never be the same again — even without spending up to $5 at a fancy coffee shop.
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