History of Instant Coffee

Mention Instant Coffee to any connoisseur and you are sure to get a frown of disgust. Yet, who among us hasn’t, after finding the coffee tin empty, scoured the cupboard in desperation with hopes of finding a long since misplaced jar or ‘hotel packet’ of Instant Coffee? And, after sighing in relief, relished in amazement that it is still good after all those years of obscurity, abandonment and outright neglect on the dusty top shelf at the back of the pantry. You haven’t? Well maybe I just like to live dangerously.

History of Instant Coffee in 1700's:
Instant, or soluble coffee, as it was originally called dates back as early as 1771 when the British government granted a patent for a ‘coffee compound’. There have been many attempts since then to make it more palatable but capturing the essence of freshly roasted, freshly brewed coffee has proven a difficult task.

Instant is made by brewing a concentrated liquid solution of real coffee, then removing the water through various means of dehydration. What is left, the residue, is Instant. Early methods of dehydration involved spraying the concentrated solution into heated stainless steel drums and after the water had evaporated the drums were scraped and the powdery residue was packaged. The taste was scorched, pungent and bitter to say the least. If you have ever left a pot on the burner too long and have ended up with a charred disgusting mess in the bottom of the carafe, then you have made Instant Coffee.

History of Instant Coffee in the 1960's:
The next advancement in came in the 1960’s when the process of agglomeration was introduced. Particles of coffee were steamed and made sticky so they would clump together. The clumps were then redried by reheating. The result was a better looking product that closer resembled ground coffee but the flavor may have actually been degraded even further by the additional heating cycle.

History in Recent Times:
Most recently the process of lyophilization or ‘freeze-drying’ has become the standard method of making Instant Coffee. This method is a vast improvement over other methods for two reasons. The first is that the coffee concentrate is extracted under high pressure so the water used never actually boils even though the water is well above the boiling point.

The second is that the water is removed without adding heat which helps preserve the coffee flavor. The concentrate is then frozen and placed in a vacuum chamber and the temperature is raised to just above freezing, at which point one would expect the mixture to melt. However, since it is in a vacuum the frozen water is prevented from becoming a liquid. But since the temperature is above freezing the solid water (ice) goes directly from a solid to a vapor. It is then vented to a separate chamber where it is refrozen as pure water. What is left in the vacuum chamber is the coffee residue.

Even with the improved process of freeze drying this type of Coffee remains a sad substitute for the real thing.

Instant Coffee Buying Guides

  • Café Bustelo Coffee
  • Folgers Coffee
  • General Foods International Coffee
  • Jamaica Mountain Peak Instant Coffee
  • Java Juice Coffee Extract
  • Jacobs Instant Coffee
  • Medaglia D' Oro Coffee
  • Maxwell House Instant Coffee
  • Mount Hagen Instant Coffee
  • Nescafe Coffee
  • Pero Instant
  • Tchibo Instant Coffee
  • Vinacafe Instant Coffee

    Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Coffee, Instant, 3.53-Ounce Jars (Pack of 6)
    Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
  • Made from 100% highland Arabica coffee beans
  • Kosher
  • World's first organic instant
  • Approx. 60 servings per jar
  • 100% Finest Organic Coffee
  • Store in a dry place
    Often Purchased Together
  • Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Raw Blue Agave, 23.5-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 6)
  • Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Decaffeinated Coffee, 3.53-Ounce Jars (Pack of 6)

    Nescafe Clasico Coffee, Instant, 7-Ounce Canisters (Pack of 3)
    Nescafe Clasico Instant Coffee

  • Nescafe Clasico Coffee, Instant
  • Case of three 7-ounce jars of instant coffee (21 total ounces)
  • Made from instant ground coffee
  • Certified kosher; no fat, sugar, or sodium
  • A select blend of fine beans makes a dark, smoothly flavored cup
  • Nescafe was introduced in Switzerland on April 1, 1938, after seven years of laboratory research
    Often Purchased Together
  • Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granular, Individual Packets, 700-Count Box
  • Nescafe Tasters Choice, Hazelnut, 6.1-Ounce Canisters (Pack of 3)
  • Jacobs Ice Coffee 275 g

    Related Buying Guides
    Coffee Information | History of Coffee, Instant | Folgers Cappuccino Mixes | General Foods Cappuccino Mixes | Mount Hagen Instant Coffee | Nescafe Instant Coffees | Pero Instant Coffees | Vinacafe Instant Coffee

    Post Your Submission Here

    If you would like to write a review please fill in the form below. For questions please be specific. If asking a question on merchandise, please give as much information as possible. Such as the brand, make, model, where purchased, etc.

  • Google

    Custom Search