If you drink coffee, you know there are many different varieties on the market. Two of the coffee varieties in the grocery store are instant coffee and ground coffee. They look similar from the outside. If you’re trying to determine which is best, you might wonder – what is the difference between instant coffee vs ground coffee? And which should you choose, instant or ground coffee?
We’re here to help make your decision easier.
In this post, I’ll explore the differences between these two genres of coffee so your caffeine selection can be the best. Some may enjoy making instant coffee, while others want freshly brewed coffee. Both have their perks, but they’re different from each other in so many ways. So which is your choice, ground coffee or instant coffee?
What is Ground Coffee?
So, what is ground coffee? Before we can set the two versions apart, we need to provide a stable definition for this term.
Ground coffee comes from whole coffee beans, often arabica beans. They are ground into a fine powder, which is then bagged and sent away for the ultimate coffee experience. Fresh ground coffee is a staple in any coffee lover’s supply.
Ground coffee is typically created by:
- Growing coffee, such as robusta beans
- Roasting the coffee beans
- Grinding the coffee beans
- Bagging the coffee grounds
After these steps, you’ll have a solid bag of ground coffee that can quickly turn into fresh coffee.
Most people are familiar with the coffee you can make in a coffee pot. But, what about instant coffee granules? What are they? We’ll talk about this product next. Instant coffee is an entirely new form of this popular caffeine beverage.
What is Instant Coffee?
We’ve talked about ground coffee beans, so now we need to discuss instant coffees. This product is available all around the world in grocery stores. However, very few people know what instant coffee is. Does it come from the Arabica beans like ground coffee? Or is it something different entirely?
There is a specific process that instant coffee manufacturers tend to utilize to create the product. Instant coffee is formed by:
- Brewing coffee from the coffee bean
- Extracting concentrate
- Enacting a freeze-drying process
- Breaking up the freeze-dried coffee into small bits for consumption
Companies often need specialized equipment to complete this process, working with a coffee as a raw material to make an excellent cup of coffee.
Both instant coffee and ground coffee can give you a perfect cup of coffee, but they’re not the same thing. Next, we’ll dive into the differences that set them apart so you can better understand ground coffee vs instant coffee. Coffee drinkers should be familiar with instant and ground coffee.
Are Ground Coffee and Instant Coffee the Same?
As we briefly touched on above, instant coffee and ground coffee are not the same, even though they can both produce coffee fresh in the morning. If you want to learn about the instant coffee vs ground coffee debate, you must understand a few of the differences between these two coffee products.
The five things that set these coffees apart include:
- The waste product at the end
- The speed of access
- The variations in taste
- The overall composition of each product
- The contract in caffeine content
These four traits are the most distinct when making coffee.
We’ll go over each of these more in-depth so you can get a better idea of what to anticipate with each product. Although you can still get the benefits of coffee from both, some things make them different you should remember for the future.
One Has No Coffee Grounds
The first difference we’ll discuss is the waste products that come from each product. With ground coffee, you get coffee grounds as a waste product. You’ll have to dispose of ground coffee and clean out your coffee pot, espresso machine, or French press before you can make your next cup. With instant coffee, the only waste product you get is a dirty dish in the sink.
When you use coffee grounds, you use the following process to make your drink:
- Fill up your carafe and pour water into the back of the coffee maker
- Add your grounds into a filter
- Set the filter into the machine
- Replace the carafe into the machine
- Turn the pot on and let the coffee brew
This action leaves you with coffee grounds when all is said and done.
Whether you have cheap beans or expensive ones, whether you’re making a cold brew or fresh coffee in a pot, there will be coffee grounds with ground coffee. This fact makes for a more extensive cleaning process than instant coffee. If you don’t like cleaning up, keep this in mind before you decide on a coffee.
Speed of Access
Next, we’ll discuss the speed of access you have with each coffee. One can be ready instantly, while the other takes a few minutes to cook. Making instant coffee makes drinking coffee much faster. The brewing process takes longer than pouring coffee powder into a cup and getting the road. It’s hard to beat instant coffee with speed.
If you need coffee right away, instant coffee may be the better selection for you. Rather than waiting for many minutes to get your cup, you can have it in a split second. Those constantly on the move will prefer this over brewed coffee. Of course, this means you can’t use cool coffee tools like the French press for your drink.
Although some people may not detect a different coffee flavor on their taste buds, coffee lovers will find that instant coffee tastes very different from regular coffee. It may be a subtle taste, but it’s critical to the coffee experience if you know what you’re looking for. This variation is why coffee shop coffee uses real beans, rather than fine ground granules.
The tastes for each include:
- For instant coffee, many have reported that it has a sour, almost bitter taste. It also tends to be chalky on the tongue since it comes from a concentrate, rather than beans.
- For ground coffee, the taste is smoother and distinctly more coffee. It tends to be thinner if you use the recommended amount.
This difference might not be noticeable to the average coffee consumer, but intense lovers of this beverage will notice what sets these two apart.
The instant coffee taste is not something that everyone will enjoy. If you prefer the taste of fresh coffee, you may have a difficult time transitioning over to the instant coffee taste. Keep this in mind before you decide which will be best for you.
Composition of Each Product
Next, we can talk about the composition of each product. One is a fine, ground powder that is brewed in a coffee pot. Instant coffee is made out of granules that come from freeze-drying a coffee concentrate. This process allows coffee to have a longer shelf life than typical ground coffee. Powdered coffee extract is different from ground coffee.
The compositions for each product are as follows:
- Ground coffee is made of ground coffee beans, so the powder it creates can be fine or chunky depending on the grinding method
- Instant coffee typically comes in granules or a powder. It depends on how the company decides to break up the coffee concentrate that comes from the drying process of instant coffee.
If you touch each of these coffees, they will feel different.
The texture of instant coffee is granulated because instant coffee dissolves inside water. It’s made of fractals of coffee concentrate, rather than being ground-up coffee beans that go into the typical brewing method.
Finally, there is a different amount of caffeine per cup of coffee when comparing ground coffee and instant coffee. Coffee lovers who adore the drink for the boost of energy it provides should know that there is different caffeine content packed into each product. If you want more energy, you should pick one over the other.
In each genre of coffee, the following caffein contents are present:
- 30-90 mg of caffeine per cup of instant coffee
- 70-140 mg of caffeine per cup of ground coffee
As you can see, there’s more caffeine in ground coffee than there is in instant coffee.
If you want more caffeine, go with ground coffee. You can increase the grounds in your brew to up the caffeine content. Instant coffee has about half the caffeine of regular coffee, so keep that in mind if you depend on a significant boost in the morning.
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When Do You Use Each Product?
We’ve talked about everything that sets these products apart. But, when do you use each product? Is there a specific place or moment in time that works best for instant coffee and ground coffee? Let’s talk about when it’s best to drink instant coffee, and when it is most beneficial to use ground coffee to make fresh coffee at any point during the day.
Most of the time, instant coffee is best for those who want to save money or need to carry coffee on something like a hiking trip. Instant coffee is cheaper than ground coffee bags made of robusta beans. It’s also more compact, so if you’re going on a hiking adventure, you can carry more than ground coffee.
Ground coffee is best for making fresh coffee inside your home. It is more satisfying than coffee powder in the morning, but it’s not as convenient. However, you can invest in higher-quality coffee beans that will remain safe.
How Much Ground Coffee is Equal to Instant Coffee?
Whether you’re using ground coffee or instant coffee, there is a ratio of each that makes them equal to each other. If you want to make a cup of brewed coffee that is equal to that of instant coffee, what is the ratio that will give you an equal amount of instant coffee to ground coffee?
For a cup of ground coffee, you’ll need about a teaspoon of instant coffee. Instant coffee differs in its strength, which many do not realize. It’s easy to put far too much instant coffee inside a cup which is why many are not a fan of the taste.
Most instant coffees are strong. To mimic the brewing method of ground coffee, add about a teaspoon to a hot cup of water to ensure that you get about the same taste as the traditional brewing method.
Which is Better Instant Coffee or Ground Coffee?
So – which is better, instant coffee or ground coffee? We’ve talked about lots of differences that stand between the two products. They vary in caffeine content, strength, and brewing methods. If you want to pick the best coffee, it can be difficult. If you could only drink one, which is the better choice?
Most coffee drinkers will choose ground coffee over instant coffee. This choice happens because:
- Ground coffee gives more of a caffeine boost
- Ground coffee back a bitter edge
- Ground coffee generally tastes better.
These two reasons make ground coffee come out on top when comparing instant coffee and ground.
If you can choose between ground coffee and instant coffee, select the one that takes longer to brew. It won’t satisfy you with immediate creation, but it will give you the same health benefits as instant coffee and provide more caffeine. However, if you prefer instant coffee, it’s a solid choice. It’s only a difference in your taste.
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Final Thoughts on Ground Coffee vs Instant Coffee
Although it may seem like ground coffee and instant coffee are similar, many qualities set them apart. Ground coffee has more caffeine and tastes smoother, while instant coffee is more affordable and dissolves in water.
Many people prefer ground coffee, but the choice is yours. There are speed benefits with instant coffee and taste benefits with ground coffee. We hope this information can help you make the best choice for your life!