What is Instant Coffee? Is it Bad for You?
Most people drink ground coffee because it’s a ritual that has been repeated for decades by their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.
Lifestyles have changed significantly since ground coffee was invented, and our options have also expanded!
Ground coffee is wonderful, but many people haven’t experienced how instant coffee can also be an exceptional alternative. If you’re exploring your options and are wondering if instant coffee is bad for you, continue reading on to learn more.
What is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is a powder or granule form of coffee extract that dissolves in water when you’re ready to consume it.
Most people are familiar with buying coffee grounds or whole beans which they later brew in their home. However, instant coffee is dried (similar to dried fruits) and only needs water to transform it into the cup of coffee you oh-so love.
Remember how instant coffee is produced from an extract? This allows the coffee to be more concentrated to achieve the perfect taste when you add the water.
So instead of using a coffee maker, grinder, and a slow process to brew your cup of joe, instant coffee requires significantly less work to achieve the same outcome.
How is Instant Coffee Made?
Both brewed coffee and instant coffee are made from brewing ground coffee beans. However, instant coffee requires an extra step on the manufacturer’s side to achieve the desired powder or fragmented product.
The extra step is the process of drying the coffee extract after brewing, which is how it becomes the powder or fragmented product that you see on the store shelves.
There are two methods that manufacturers can use to make the incredibly easy-to-use product:
- Spray Drying: They spray the coffee extract into hot air, which instantly dries the droplets to become the fine powder or granules.
- Freeze Drying: They freeze the extract, cut it into small pieces, then dry them at a low temperature in a vacuumed environment.
Spray drying usually results in a finer powder, while freeze drying typically yields the fragmented granules.
Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee
How do you compare instant coffee vs ground coffee? Ground coffee has its benefits that most people are familiar with, but what about instant coffee?
Below are the pros and cons of instant coffee that you can reference to determine if it’s right for you:
Pros of Instant Coffee
Since it does not require brewing at home, this saves a significant amount of time for coffee lovers. All you need is the time to heat up water and pour it in your cup and you’re on your way!
If you’re a mom or someone who likes things fast, this is worth trying.
Easy on the Go
For people who have many places to be and like to enjoy their coffee before or after a workout, instant coffee could be a great option as it only needs water. No special equipment needed.
Simply take the instant coffee with you, scoop it into a cup with water, and you’re all set!
Longer Shelf Life
If you have trouble making it through the coffee bag before the expiration, don’t worry about wasting it. Instant coffee has a much longer shelf life, spanning up to 20 years (even opened)!
Compare that with ground coffee, which may last you 3-4 months after opening.
Less Caffeine Than Ground Coffee
For people with anxiety or caffeine sensitivity, instant coffee could be a solid alternative to regular ground coffee because it typically contains less caffeine.
One could get the same sensational coffee experience with less of the jitteriness.
More Antioxidants Than Ground Coffee
Flavonoids and Phenols are the antioxidants present in coffee and are key to reducing free radicals in the body.
In a recent study, researchers found that instant coffee had the highest values of these antioxidants present before the addition of milk, beating out ground coffee.
Cons of Instant Coffee
Although listed as a pro, this could also be a con for some people. If you’re looking for a straight shot of espresso, this is probably not your best option.
Beans are Not Fresh
Most coffee fanatics will fawn over the freshness of grinding their own beans immediately before brewing. Due to the “instant” nature of instant coffee, this is not a feature that it offers… for obvious reasons.
Less Sensory ExperienceMany people enjoy hearing, seeing, and smelling fresh coffee being brewed right in front of their eyes. It’s an experience you lose with instant coffee, but you still have the great taste at the end of the day.
Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?
The linked studies done on coffee were observational and cannot prove cause and effect, however, we can conclude that instant coffee is also linked to these potential benefits.
A notable health difference between instant coffee and ground coffee is that instant coffee contains more acrylamide, which is a potentially harmful chemical that forms when coffee beans are roasted.
Ground coffee also contains acrylamide, however, the amount in instant coffee can be up to double the amount as ground coffee. Overall, the amounts contained in both ground and instant coffee remain less than the amount shown to be harmful, which makes it a relatively low risk for concern.
As mentioned before, instant coffee contains a large amount of antioxidants, which play a huge role in slowing down aging by reducing free radicals and limiting cell damage over time.
Lastly, instant coffee can also improve your workouts by stimulating fat burning, increasing focus, and improving endurance… Which is a huge plus when it comes to weight loss and overall health.
Instant coffee is a viable alternative to ground coffee that allows for a quick, efficient, and healthy boost to your day.
If you’re looking to try instant coffee, we recommend testing out the BuzzFit Sample Pack to try all three flavors.
In addition to the health benefits of instant coffee, BuzzFit also includes 10g of whey protein, 100mg of caffeine, and 0g of sugar per serving. Your regular ole’ cup of joe can’t beat that!