Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee | What Are The 9 Differences?

Last Updated on 22/07/2021 by Miki

You might have heard the phrase “the devil is in the details.” This saying is true for coffee just as it is for everything else. For those times where instant coffee is just not going to cut it, there is ground coffee. The difference between instant coffee and ground coffee is significant and there are a lot of factors to consider before deciding which one to use. They both have pros and cons. The most significant difference between instant coffee and ground coffee is that instant coffee is dehydrated. This gives the coffee a powdery consistency and makes it dissolve faster than ground coffee. Ground coffee provides a richer taste and will give you a more caffeinated experience. But for some people, instant coffee just tastes better. Instant coffee is great for a quick pick me up before work or for a drink in the office during working hours.

Instant Coffee and Ground Coffee

instant coffee vs ground coffee

What is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is coffee that has already been brewed in a single-boiler system for quick and consistent flavour and dehydrated. The two main methods of dehydration are freeze-drying and spray-drying. The former produces better quality coffee.

What is Ground Coffee?

Ground coffee is made of actual coffee beans that are roasted, then ground. Each gound coffee differs in roast degree as well as ground size. The two main methods that are used to make ground coffee are the burr grinder and the blade grinder.

​Why Instant Coffee is Different from Ground Coffee?

instant coffee and ground coffee

When it comes to coffee, there is a world of difference between the two most popular types. In fact, there are 9 main differences between instant coffee and ground coffee.

1. How it’s made:

Instant coffee is made of coffee grounds that are freeze-dried and made into powder. Ground coffee is different because they are processed by a grinder to produce a more flavorful experience.

2. What type of beans are used:

The most common beans for instant coffee are Robusta beans as they are less expensive due to their lower quality, and is more robust in flavour. Arabica beans are used for brewed coffee as they are smoother and have a better flavour.

3. How it’s packed:

Instant coffees are different because they are pre-packaged ground coffee that has been sealed in individual packages for easy use. Ground coffees must be made fresh every time they are prepared. That’s why ground coffees usually have a stronger flavour and aroma than instant coffee.

4. What’s needed:

Instant coffee and ground coffee both have different methods of brewing and of course, different equipment. If you’re trying to make a quick cup of java, instant coffee is a good choice. The only equipment you need is a mug or cup, a spoon and water. You just pour hot water into the mug, add one spoonful of instant coffee, stir and drink. This method is usually the quickest because there is no need to measure out precisely and grind the coffee beans. Ground coffee requires a little more work, but the taste is much better. If you want to grind beans, you will also need a coffee grinder along with other equipment such as your preferred coffee machine and the coffee accessories that are required for the chosen brewing method.

5. How it brews:

Instant coffee is typically made by mixing some water and grounds together. The grounds are instantly dissolved and you get your coffee. Ground coffee must be ground from whole beans so that it can be brewed; otherwise, it will not work.

6. How it tastes:

Instant coffee is not as flavourful as ground coffee because of the freeze-drying process which pulls out the flavour and oils. Ground coffee is more popular because it is a better-tasting option.

7. How long it lasts:

Instant coffee lasts longer than ground coffee because it is in powder form and doesn’t have a lot of essential oils. It is also easy to keep anywhere because of its compact size. On the other hand, the shelf life of ground coffee depends on how you store it. It can be from weeks to months, but it all depends on how it is stored and how much it is used. It is recommended to store it in an air-tight container in a cool and dark place.

8. How much it costs:

Instant coffee is much more affordable. It costs anywhere from $4 to $10 for a package of instant coffee that would last four weeks. Half a kilogram of ground coffee will cost anywhere from $10 to $20 and would last four weeks as well. The price difference is staggering. Coffee drinkers are choosing instant coffee because it is more economical.

9. How much caffeine it contains:

A lot of people think that instant coffee contains more caffeine than ground coffee. The experts tell us that the opposite is true. The caffeine content of ground coffee is higher than instant coffee. This is because the ground coffee has more surface area for the water to extract its caffeine. This seems to be counter-intuitive, but it’s actually true. Also, instant coffee typically contains less caffeine because it is brewed for a shorter period of time, and the water is not heated as long. In general, the caffeine content of instant coffee is less than half of that in hot brewed ground coffee.

Which is Better Instant Coffee or Regular Coffee?

instant coffee and ground coffee

As instant coffee is commonly less expensive than regular coffee, the traditional coffee maker has declined in popularity with many households. However, the preparing and drinking of regular coffee have a number of benefits, including the following:

  • A regular cup of coffee is usually much more flavorful than an instant cup.
  • A regular coffee typically does not contain preservatives.
  • Instant coffee is more acidic than regular coffee due to the high levels of processed coffee beans.

Personally, I much prefer regular coffee as I enjoy the taste and aroma as well as the brewing process. Surely, I understand that some people prefer instant coffee for convenience. It ultimately depends on individual preferences.

Final Thoughts

Instant Coffee is much cheaper than Ground Coffee as the quality of the coffee is much lower. With Instant Coffee, there is less caffeine, less flavour, but more convenience. Ground Coffee is more time consuming because it requires grinding and brewing. The quality of Ground Coffee is better and the coffee has more caffeine and flavour.

As mentioned in this post, instant coffee and ground coffee are clearly different and I hope you now know the differences and can choose the one according to your preference.

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