Most people opt for traditionally ground coffee; brewed in their coffee maker, French press, or Keurig. This has an abundance of benefits, with quality being at the top of the list. Ground coffee is lower in acidity, contains more flavor, and more caffeine. The major drawback of ground coffee versus instant coffee is the time needed to make your cup of coffee.
What’s the difference: Instant or Ground?
Instant coffee is generally valued for its time efficiency, price, and simplicity. It may not have the best reputation for being high quality coffee, but it does offer a range of benefits. Instant coffee is typically made from low quality Robusta beans that are roasted before being ground into a fine powder. Next, the water content is removed through brewing, which leaves behind an extract to be used for instant coffee. This extract must be dried, either through spray-drying or freeze-drying. Spray-drying involves spraying the coffee extract into the air so that the droplets dry quickly and transform into a fine powder. Freeze-drying simply means freezing the coffee extract and cutting it into small pieces, which are then dried at a low temperature. The result is essentially crystalized coffee grounds, which are treated to remove any remaining water and lock in the coffee flavor.
The process of drying or freezing the coffee loses some of the oils that give the coffee their characteristic flavor in the brewing process. Some of the caffeine content is also lost in this process, however, Robusta beans are higher in caffeine content than Arabica, making up for some of the energy lost. Instant coffee is known to be more bitter than ground coffee, regardless of the roast type. There is wide debate over whether instant coffee loses most of its antioxidants in this process, making it less healthy than ground coffee. No concrete conclusions can be drawn from this claim, but it is something to consider.
Instant coffee is especially useful in baking. If a recipe calls for coffee, instant coffee is the best bet to achieve a robust, strong flavor that can last. Many people opt for instant coffee to make their own cold brew because it is easy, inexpensive, and you only sacrifice some flavor.
Ground coffee’s differentiating factor is its quality and flavor. Freshly ground coffee is much more likely to be lower in acidity, offer more flavor, and have an overall pleasant taste. Many people prefer ground coffee for its high quality Arabica beans and diverse flavor profiles.
What’s better Instant or Ground Coffee?
The choice is ultimately yours! Which do you value more….efficiency or quality? Instant coffee delivers a steaming cup of coffee “in an instant”, while ground coffee takes a couple minutes, but delivers on the flavor front. If you are willing to sacrifice the quality of your beans for a quick brew process, then instant coffee is for you! Stay tuned for Split Rock Coffee’s new instant coffee….coming soon!
If the smell of freshly ground coffee is something you can’t live without, I would stick to traditionally brewed coffee. You can rely on Split Rock Coffee’s blends consistently provide full flavor and low acidity, so that you can drink it all day long. Check out our ground coffee products.