Instant coffee and regular coffee contain similar antioxidants and properties in general. However, instant coffee contains a higher amount of acrylamide, which can pose some health risks and damage the nervous system in the long-term.
What is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is a type of coffee created from a coffee extract. In this process, coffee beans are roasted and dehydrated to create a dry powder, which you can pour into a hot water cup to get coffee.
When it comes to regular coffee consumption, instant coffee has proven to be a great choice since it takes much less time to prepare than regular coffee, and it also preserves most of the health benefits.
A cup of instant coffee is better suited for people who have busy lives and don’t have the time to prepare regular coffee at home or work. To prepare one, you only need to take a cup of hot water and put a teaspoon of dried coffee powder in it; after you stir for a few seconds, your coffee is ready to go.
How is Instant Coffee Created?
Instant coffee is generally manufactured with two different methods. While the two of them achieve the necessary properties to prepare a cup of instant coffee, they vary slightly in the process.
Spray-drying involves taking the coffee beans and place them into a stream of hot air; this air quickly dries the beans, causing them to drop to the bottom and turn into powder.
On the other hand, freeze-drying involves taking the coffee beans and freezing them at an approximate temperature of -40°C. After the brewed coffee is taken off the machine, it’s cut into smaller pieces which are dehydrated at a low temperature. The result is placed inside jars and shipped to the markets.
Are There Any Chemical Hazards in Instant Coffee?
While both regular coffee and instant coffee may contain similar properties, instant coffee contains a higher amount of acrylamide, which is believed to be harmful to a person’s health. Acrylamide in coffee appears when the coffee beans are roasted.
Acrylamide is generally used to treat waste water or make plastic, and it’s considered a potentially harmful chemical that can damage the nervous system and increase the risk of liver cancer, according to the American Cancer Society; this is why some coffee consumers avoid prolonged acrylamide exposure.
However, it’s important to note that the contents of acrylamide in instant coffee aren’t enough to severely damage the nervous system and increase the risk of cancer, so instant coffee is reasonably safe for everyone to consume. Regardless, no one should consume excessive amounts of instant coffee since it can pose severe health threats besides the risk of cancer.
It’s not possible to entirely avoid acrylamide since it can be found in several other foods and objects, so it’s recommended to consume instant coffee moderately to avoid over-exposing to this chemical.
There are some brands that include other chemicals in their instant coffees to get a good flavor or prolonged shelf life. For example, some brands manufacture instant coffee with added palm oil, sugar, or creamers, which could be harmful to some consumers.
What is the Healthiest Instant Coffee to Consume?
Generally, you should always look for instant coffee manufacturers that offer just the coffee part to increase the health benefits. There are some manufacturers found on the coffee market that promote “Three-in-One” instant coffee, which adds several types of sugar, fat, and other chemicals, which can be bad for your overall health.
If you want to buy one of these instant coffee types, make sure that you read the product label to check what you’re getting with each serving.
Are There Preservatives in Instant Coffee?
While this is not the case for every manufacturer, instant coffee may contain small amounts of preservatives to extend its shelf life, which can be bad for some people’s health. If you want to make sure of what you’re getting, read the product’s label before buying it at the market.
What Are the Health Benefits to Drinking Instant Coffee?
Thankfully, there are several benefits to drinking coffee in general; it comes with several antioxidants, it has an amazing taste, you can make it in a short amount of time, and the caffeine helps you stay active and energetic.
All these antioxidants and benefits are also included in instant coffee. Its properties may vary depending on the coffees’ manufacturer, but they’re mostly similar.
Here’s an overview of the most commonly found benefits of this type of coffee:
- Reduced risk of Type-2 diabetes.
- Contains less caffeine than regular coffee.
- Promotes increased energy levels and brain function.
- Includes essential nutrients and amount of antioxidants for the body.
Caffeine Levels in Instant and Regular Coffee
Instant coffee provides a slight difference from ground coffee when it comes to caffeine levels. While the difference in caffeine may not be as significant, it can influence your purchase decision.
Typically, instant coffee offers less caffeine than fresh, ground coffee beans. To put it in perspective, one cup of regular coffee may contain from 70 to 140 mg of caffeine; 140 mg of caffeine per day isn’t considered harmful for adults, but it’s still a high number. On the other hand, a cup of instant coffee may include between 30 and 90 mg of caffeine, which is much less caffeine overall for a daily consumer.
Although instant coffee generally provides less caffeine than fresh, ground coffee, you should pay attention to the quantities you’re consuming per day to prevent any health risks. On the bottom line, instant coffee is better for people who are looking to cut back on their caffeine consumption levels.
What is the Main Difference Between Instant Coffee and Regular Coffee?
Instant coffee often gets bad reviews because people believe that it isn’t the same as brewing fresh, roasted coffee beans yourself. While the manufacturing process is reasonably different, instant coffee is still coffee, so you should always go to the market and choose the one you like to drink the most.
If you want an overview of all the differences between drinking instant coffee and fresh-brewed coffee, keep reading.
Price: Instant coffee contains fewer components to prepare it since you only require water and the powder to get started; this means that you don’t have to spend money on extra equipment or particular beans to make coffee to drink.
Flavor: This is the main factor of discussion among many coffee lovers. With regular coffee, you get many flavor options since you can pick the beans you want to use yourself. However, instant coffee is often made from Robusta beans, which are known for having a bitter touch, which not everyone likes. Due to this factor, most manufacturers offer the same flavor for their instant coffee, which is not ideal for someone who wants to get a much broader flavor spectrum.
Experience: This is a subjective factor, but it can influence how you enjoy your coffee cup each day. Many consumers like regular coffee instead of already brewed variants since they enjoy the process of choosing the beans, determining the best coffee machine, and preparing everything themselves. On the other hand, there are other consumers who prefer to make coffee as fast as possible so that they can move forward with their day. Neither of those points of view is wrong; you may choose the process that feels good for you and your routine.
Time: Naturally, every type of coffee including a more complex preparation is going to take more time for you to get it done. If you’re short on time, instant coffee may be the one for you since it only requires water and the product.
Bottom Line – Is Instant Coffee Safe to Drink?
As mentioned before, instant coffee contains several health benefits to enjoy since it’s prepared from coffee extract. If you like to drink a good cup of coffee every morning, instant coffee may provide everything that you need to get going.
While this variant of coffee has many antioxidants, less caffeine, and other properties beneficial for your health, you need to pay attention to the chemicals established on the product label found on the market. This kind of brewed coffee is often made with preservatives, additives, and the acrylamide chemical, which can be harmful in excessive quantities.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t drink instant coffee. However, it’s suggested that you look for instant coffee that isn’t made with any added sugar or fats since that can promote small or significant health risks.
To get the most out of coffee’s health benefits, make sure that you give a closer look at what the product it’s made from, how many added chemicals it has, and choose how you like your coffee brewed. Overall, this type of brewed coffee isn’t full of chemicals (In most cases), and it’s completely safe to drink in moderate amounts.