By Jeffrey the Barak.
The mega-villain of the coffee world is not necessarily that jar of instant coffee, its that metal or plastic canister of ground filter coffee.
We have always assumed that instant coffee is the worst, and pre-ground, a generally stale filter coffee, is a little better. But surprisingly there are now close to a dozen instant coffees that will all make a nicer cup than what most people taste after they reach for the glass carafe in that coffee machine.
The problem with drip coffee is, in most cases, people buy a fairly large can or bag, which may have a hilariously misleading “sell-by” date but no “roasted-on” date, and the grind within was roasted, ground and packaged a very long time ago, and after the first moderately pleasant whiff of the best compounds when the seal is broken, the first scoop is already long past its ideal date, and the last scoop might as well go straight into the trash can.
Of course it is not all bad. A coffee connoisseur would get freshly roasted beans, roasted within the last two weeks, grind just enough for the pot, right before the brew, and serve the whole pot immediately, without leaving it on the warming plate. Or they would use the pour over method, manually assuming the role of the drip machine.
But that is not what you see. In most workplaces and many homes, it is a can of e.g. Folgers, Maxwell House, or similar mass-produced ground coffee, stale before you start, and further ruined by the brewing and serving procedure.
This is when a teaspoon of good instant coffee, a mug, and a kettle can stand up to the ground filter coffee. After decades of awfulness, there are now some instant coffees that are able to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best of filter grinds.
Yes there are still many unpleasant instants on the shelves, but you might be surprised at how nice some of the newer varieties taste. You honestly would never know it was instant coffee!
And since your only required equipment is a spoon and a cup, plus boiling water, the clean up is barely any trouble.
Many people buy a reputable brand of coffee beans to use for their home espresso setups, or home brewing setups, without realizing how old, stale and degassed it is. Even online companies with YouTube channels full of instruction and guidance sell countless large bags of alarmingly old coffee every day, and customers struggle to find any deliciousness for their money.
Bitter, burnt, or sour tastes result, and home-made espresso cannot get a decent crema if the CO2 is long gone from the bean. A lot of money is spent on making bad coffee.
Get a teaspoon, mug, and kettle and try these:
If you are mismanaging a fortune’s worth of equipment and beans, and not getting a nice cup of coffee, perhaps you should get rid of it all and just find a nice instant coffee. A couple of easy-to-find and affordable nice instant coffees (in the U.S.) include:
Starbucks Premium Instant Coffee, Dark Roast (This is bold)
Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee (This is mild)
Jeffrey the Barak usually performs a very manual process of making an espresso shot with very recently roasted beans, freshly and manually ground ,and weighed for one beverage, and then a Cafelat Robot, completely manual espresso machine, pulling a perfect shot into a warm and thick porcelain demitasse. However, occasionally a mug of excellent instant is a nice change.