What’s the Difference Between Instant Coffee and Regular Coffee?

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Instant coffee is just one form of coffee and is slightly different from regular or ground coffee. It is a dried coffee made from brewed coffee beans and is ready to drink with the addition of hot water. Ground coffee is ground coffee beans that still need to be brewed.

In this article, you can expect to learn more information about the differences between instant coffee and ground coffee. This includes the production process, flavor and taste, caffeine content, and method of preparation.

Coffee Source

There are various coffee plant varieties, and these produce coffee products with various flavor and aroma differences. Both instant coffee and ground coffee can be made from any of these coffee bean types.

One example from sub-Saharan Africa is robusta coffee. Robusta coffee is also known as Coffea canephora and comes from a plant of the same name. These are differences in the composition of Robusta coffee and another common coffee plant, Arabica coffee.

Arabica coffee or Coffea arabica comes from a coffee shrub found in Arabia. It might have been the first species of coffee to be grown commercially. Arabica coffee is a popular form of coffee and always makes up about 60% of coffee production worldwide.

Both instant coffee and regular coffee are derived from the same plants. It’s time to look at the key differences between them. It is also important to note that many brands produce a range of ground and instant coffees. Differences may always exist by brand as well.

What Is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is also known as soluble coffee, coffee powder, or coffee crystals. It is a dry product that is easy to prepare into a cup of coffee. Itis made from brewed coffee beans that have been dried to form a coffee powder or crystal substance. (all about what is instant coffee)

What is Ground Coffee

Regular coffee and instant coffee are two different products, but the result of both is a cup of coffee. Ground coffee also comes from coffee beans, but in this case, these have not been brewed. This is the main difference between the two types of coffee. It is sold in various forms and appears as a ground and brewed substance with a similar texture to flour. It can be sold as-is or packaged in various forms to use with coffee makers, such as a French press. You still have to brew before you can drink it.


One of the main ways that instant coffee and regular coffee differ is in the method of preparation. As the name suggests, instant powdered is a quick, convenient product. On the other hand, ground coffee takes a little more time to prepare, but the difference between instant and ground coffee is the stronger taste with the ground.

Preparation of Instant Coffee

Making instant coffee is very easy. It is, therefore, the quickest fresh coffee drink available. All you have to do is add hot water or milk, and your cup of instant coffee is ready. After that, you can add any condiments you like, including milk, sugar, sweetener, or coffee creamer. Some coffee drinkers prefer the taste of instant coffee with hot milk instead of add hot water.

Preparation of Ground Coffee

Brewing fresh coffee from the ground process requires steeping to get the full taste and aroma of this coffee. When brewing, you combine the hot water and grinds and let them steep for a few minutes. Once that is done, and the coffee aroma is released, you can strain the cup of coffee then add various condiments as required. This applies to Robusta, Arabica, or any other coffee bean you are want to try brewing. The coffee grounds that remain after brewing and straining can be thrown away or used.

Some examples of ways to use coffee grounds are listed below:

  • As an organic fertilizer- Coffee grounds contain much of the important minerals plants always need for growth.
  • As a cosmetic product
  • As a cleaning product
  • As an insect repellant- This is still another use of coffee grounds.

Flavor Comparison of Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee

As far as the flavor, you can expect a different flavor and coffee strength, depending on what form of coffee you utilize. Instant coffee is known for being a much weaker form of coffee. Those who like strong brews and rich flavor and tastes are more likely to brew their coffee from ground coffee or the beans themselves. There are many machines for the real coffee brewing process, like a French press, that you can use to make the coffee of your taste preference.

Caffeine Content: Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

Instant coffee is dehydrated coffee, so you don’t expect it to contain many other additives and substances. As with all products derived from the coffee plant’s beans, instant coffee is caffeinated but has less caffeine than its counterparts.

Instant coffee has a lower caffeine content compared with brewed coffee. A study found that one cup of instant coffee contains an average of 66 milligrams per 225 ml. There are many instant coffee brands, so that they can be more or less caffeine in each. The amount of caffeine is typically around 29 milligrams –117 milligrams per cup range of 170-285 ml.

Ground coffee contains more caffeine than instant coffee. Another study found an average of 112 milligrams of caffeine per same cup size.

How Is Coffee Produced? Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

Both ground coffee and instant coffee follow a similar process to begin. The first step is roasting the whole green coffee beans, which takes up to 15 minutes. These may be Robusta beans or Arabica beans. This process brings out their aroma and flavor. The whole roasted beans are then cooled and finely ground. A similar approach is followed for both instant coffee and regular coffee. At this stage, the pieces have dimensions of about 0.020–0.043 inches.

The next stage of the manufacturing process is where there is a difference. The roasted pieces are used to make regular coffee and can be ground further. Instant coffee is made with further processing required to dry it. The difference is the extraction an the drying.

The next important step is the extraction process. Instant coffee is produced in commercial operations and contains the soluble and volatile parts of the coffee bean. These substances are responsible for the aroma and flavor of instant coffee. The extraction stage takes place using pressurized water heated to about 347 °F. This process can make a liquid coffee with all the coffee goodness, leaving behind the residue.

The next step is to concentrate the liquid-like coffee. Two main methods may be used to do this, and these are evaporation and freeze concentration.

How Freeze-drying Works

In this method, sublimation is used to remove excess water from the liquid coffee extract. This method is the more expensive of the two, but it produces a high-quality freeze-dried instant coffee product. Frozen coffee is first produced rapidly from the coffee extract. It is then broken into small frozen coffee granules, which are then sorted according to their size. Much of the frozen coffee granules are then dried. The sublimation drying process creates freeze-dried granules of instant coffee ready for packaging.

How Spray-drying Works

The other method of drying the coffee extract to make instant coffee is spray-drying, which used hot air. This method is a more popular process for large scale production because it is more economical, takes less time, and produced round particles. A method known as nozzle atomization is used to dry the coffee extract. In no time, a large volume of instant coffee can be processed and produced. Spray wheels make a coffee spray, and there are drying towers to remove the excess moisture. The main drawback of this method is that the particle produced may be too fine. A fine mist of steam may be used to add back some water to turn the dried coffee powder into slightly larger crystals of instant coffee.

Health Benefits and Considerations When Using Coffee

Even though ground coffee and instant coffee are derived from a plant, such as Arabica beans or coffee Robusta beans, there are some health considerations that people who drink coffee should know. Most people enjoy the effects of the caffeine in coffee. It gives them a boost, especially during the morning. Too much of it, however, is not good for your health. Adverse health effects of too much coffee include insomnia and restlessness. These can lead to a higher risk of minor nervous conditions when you consume high volumes of coffee over an extended period of time.

One way to drink coffee but take in less caffeine is by making use of a decaffeinated instant coffee or decaf. In decaf, an extraction method removes around 97% of the caffeine. This hot beverage still has the same great taste and aroma as instant coffee but without caffeine.

Both ground coffee and instant coffee and widely enjoyed around the world. Making instant coffee is made a fast and convenient way if you need or want some fresh cup coffee, while regular coffee is brewed and has a stronger flavor, so you need more time to brew fresh. It is very popular but differs slightly in flavor and amount of caffeine.

Shmulik Dorinbaum

Shmulik Dorinbaum

40 years old, from the age of 20 when I left the army until today, I drink more than 4 cups of coffee, only instant coffee, so I decided to write about my great passion that occupies me most of the day

About Me

40 years old, from the age of 20 when I left the army until today, I drink more than 4 cups of coffee, only instant coffee, so I decided to write about my great passion that occupies me most of the day

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