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Home » Best Instant Coffee Brands (2023 Reviews)

Best Instant Coffee Brands for 2023

Instant coffee can be a great option if you’re travelling or don’t want the fuss of using a coffee maker. Instant coffee is coffee that has been brewed and dried so that it’s ready immediately–no equipment needed! 

Traditionally, instant coffee is just made from coffee, but you can also find mixes of creamer, sugar, and even added nutrients. Read on for the best instant coffee brands you can buy right now.

At A Glance via Amazon:

The Best Instant Coffee Reviews 2023

Best instant coffee reviews in 2023 will show you how easy it is to find great instant coffees to satisfy your taste buds. While this may not have been true in the past, today it is. Whether you’re looking for a bright single-origin or want to make a convenient crema topped instant espresso, there’s something here for you.

image product details
Best Overall Best Overall Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade
  • Medium roast
  • No additives
  • 100% Arabica
Budget Pick Budget Pick “Alpine Start Dirty Chai Latte” Tim Hortons Medium Roast
  • Medium roast
  • Additives n/a
  • Arabica beans
Best Value For Money Best Value For Money Starbucks Premium Instant Starbucks Premium Instant
  • Medium roast
  • Micro-ground coffee
  • Arabica beans
Best Decaf Best Decaf La Republica Organic Deca La Republica Organic Deca
  • Medium roast
  • No additives
  • Arabica beans
Best Organic Best Organic VitaCup Perfect Coffee VitaCup Perfect Coffee
  • Dark roast
  • No additives
  • Arabica beans
Healthiest Instant Coffee Healthiest Instant Coffee “Four Sigmatic Think Mushroom Coffee” Four Sigmatic Think Mushroom Coffee
  • Dark roast
  • Lion’s mane, chaga, rhodiola rosea additives
  • Arabica beans
Best Instant Espresso Best Instant Espresso Nescafe Gold Instant Espresso Nescafe Gold Instant Espresso
  • Medium roast
  • No additives
  • Arabica beans

1. Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade – Best Overall


  • Roast level: Medium

  • Additives: none
  • Bean: 100% Arabica
  • Available in: 100 g jar, box of 25 single-serve packets

Mount Hagen produces Homegrounds’ favourite instant coffee. Named after a town in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, the brand brings the flavours of the country to your kitchen with the convenience of instant coffee.

The beans used to make this coffee are 100% Arabica, sourced from high-altitude farms in Papua New Guinea. They’ve been given a medium roast, then brewed and freeze-dried to retain the flavour.

There are many reasons we’ve nominated this as our pick for the best instant coffee. As well as the rich flavour, we love that it’s certified organic and fair trade, and it’s also incredibly affordable.

The only downside we can see here is if you take sugar and creamer. This contains coffee only, so you’ll need to pack your additives separately if you’re going camping.

To make a cup of coffee, you’ll need 1-2 teaspoons of this instant coffee, so depending on how strong you want your coffee, the jar contains up to 50 servings.

2. Tim Hortons Medium Roast – Budget Pick


  • Roast level: Medium

  • Additives: none
  • Bean: 100% Arabica
  • Available in: 100g or 300g jar, box of 12 single-serve packets

It wouldn’t be a list of the best instant coffee in Canada without a mention of the country’s favourite coffee chain. While we can’t guarantee that it will replace a freshly made coffee from your local outlet, this instant coffee delivers the affordability you would expect from the brand.

This freeze-dried instant coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans, sourced from the volcanic growing regions of Colombia. The result is a well-balanced cup with a smooth taste and a crisp finish.

The medium roast is the most popular option, but you can also buy Tim Hortons instant coffee in dark roast, light roast or decaf medium roast varieties.

The recommended serving is 1 teaspoon of instant coffee for 175 ml of water. Mix one instant coffee stick with 175 ml of water when using single-serve sachets.

3. Starbucks Premium Instant – Best Value for Money


  • Roast level: Medium

  • Additives: Micro-ground coffee
  • Bean: 100% Arabica
  • Available in: 90 g tin

Starbucks isn’t just a giant in the world of coffee to-go, they’ve also made waves in the instant coffee market. They were among the first coffee makers to recognize that instant brews didn’t need to sacrifice good taste for convenience (1).

We are going to reinvent the company, reinvent the category. This is not your mothers’ instant coffee.

What sets this instant coffee apart is the inclusion of micro-ground coffee. This adds an extra level of flavour that is hard to achieve with traditional instant coffee. With 100% Arabica sourced from Latin America, you can expect flavours of milk chocolate and nuts in a smooth, balanced cup.

The downside of this medium roast instant coffee is that due to the inclusion of micro-grounds, it’s only suitable for making hot coffee. It’s not a good choice for making iced coffee or other cold drinks.

To prepare a cup of coffee, add one teaspoon of instant coffee to 180 ml of hot water.

4. La Republica Organic Decaf – Best Decaf


  • Roast level: Medium

  • Additives: none
  • Bean: 100% Arabica
  • Available in: 70 g jar

The La Republica brand is best known for its mushroom coffee, but its “regular” instant coffee shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s made with the same care and quality ingredients as the range of supplemented coffee.

The process starts with 100% Arabica beans. Though the growing region isn’t specified, La Republica works with small farm indigenous growers who use exclusively organic methods. The coffee is also certified Fair Trade, so these farmers are receiving a sustainable income for their work.

As you’d expect from a good quality decaf coffee, it has been decaffeinated using the Swiss water process, meaning there are no chemicals involved. It might be light on caffeine but it’s big on flavour, with notes of toasted caramel.

Use 1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder for a 180-240 ml cup.

5. VitaCup Perfect Coffee – Best Organic


  • Roast level: Dark

  • Additives: none
  • Bean: 100% Arabica
  • Available in: Box of 24 single-serve packets

If you love coffee but don’t like the effect it has on your stomach, then VitaCup has got you covered. This is the instant version of the brand’s best-selling Perfect Coffee – a coffee especially sourced to be low acid and therefore gentle on stomachs.

The 100% Arabica beans are sourced from Mexico, where they’re grown using certified organic practices, meaning no chemicals or pesticides. They’re also tested for mycotoxins, a harmful mould that can grow on coffee beans.

With a dark roast, the coffee delivers a rich flavour profile with notes of chocolate and hints of spice. 

6. Four Sigmatic Think Mushroom Coffee – Healthiest Instant Coffee


  • Roast level: Dark

  • Additives: Lion’s mane, chaga, rhodiola rosea
  • Bean: Arabica
  • Available in: Box of 10 single-serve sachets

Four Sigmatic is a statistical term used when referring to the 100 most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. This Finnish company was founded to incorporate as many of them as possible into their products. But don’t worry–you might be drinking mushrooms, but you certainly won’t be tasting them.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee is first and foremost a blend of 100% organic, fair trade, Arabica beans, dark roast, brewed, and spray-dried into instant powder. For the Think flavour, the additives are:

  • Lion’s mane mushroom for focus.
  • Chaga mushroom for energy and endurance (3).
  • Rhodiola Rosea root for concentration and memory.

The advantage of this coffee is that it’s said to provide focused energy without the crash that sometimes happens after consuming caffeine. It’s also organic, vegan, sugar-free, and low in caffeine. For this reason, this coffee is one of HomeGrounds’ most recommended mushroom coffees.

The downside to this brand is that it’s a little higher in price than other instant coffees.

To prepare Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee Mix, combine one sachet with 240 ml of hot water.

Watch Steven from Homegrounds review this brand, as well as other nootropic coffees, in the following video:

7. Nescafe Gold Instant Espresso – Best Instant Espresso


  • Roast level: Medium

  • Additives: none
  • Bean: Arabica
  • Available in: 100 g jar

Nescafe is a company that needs no introduction. It’s been researching instant coffee for nearly 100 years and holds the largest market share worldwide. Nescafe Gold is made with 100% Arabica coffee beans for a smooth, balanced flavour.

The key difference with this instant coffee is that it’s designed for people who like espresso rather than regular coffee. Nescafe has managed to replicate the crema found on brewed espresso. This is often a particular challenge for producers, as the pressure of the espresso machine forms crema. This instant coffee also dissolves well in cold water, making it a good choice for iced coffee or frappes. 

The downside to Nescafe is that it’s not specialty instant coffee, and it’s not a good choice if you’re looking for organic, fair trade, or single-origin coffee.

To prepare an espresso-style coffee, mix 1-2 teaspoons of Nescafe Gold instant coffee crystals with 50 ml of water. Mix 1-2 teaspoons with 250 ml of water for an Americano.

How to Choose Good Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is quite different from ground beans, although it’s made from coffee. To choose good instant coffee, you must look at which qualities are still important and what’s no longer relevant. Here’s a guide to help you buy the best instant coffees for your needs.

What is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is ground coffee that has been brewed then dehydrated. The dehydration process consists of spray-drying or freeze-drying for creating soluble coffee crystals. For a more in-depth look at the process, check out Homegrounds’ guide to how instant coffee is made.

The most basic version of dried instant coffee contains only coffee. However, many instant coffee brands add powdered sweetener or creamer so that brewing your morning cup of coffee is even more convenient, particularly if you’re travelling. Some instant coffees also have ingredients added to provide health benefits. 

The main thing that separates instant coffee from regular coffee is convenience. As the name suggests, it’s instant–there’s no brewing time or equipment needed, like for coffee bags. It also has a much longer shelf life than regular coffee and can be cheaper depending on the brand.

How Will You Use It?

Choosing instant coffee comes down to how you plan to use it (4). Opt for value over quality if you mainly want to make frappes or add coffee flavour to your baking. You won’t need to worry about the instant coffee’s taste.

Convenience is the product’s main strength, but that won’t last as freshly-brewed coffee is now much quicker and easier to make at home.

If you want an alternative to whole beans for your next backcountry trip, go for the best-tasting instant coffee. You’ll appreciate it after a long hike. You may also want to look for ones with health-boosting additives to better fuel your adventure or creamer for an all-in-one solution.

If you want a delicious coffee without the effort of mastering the perfect pour-over, look for high-quality instant coffee brands. These coffees will offer the same rich and nuanced flavours as a standard brew but in a more convenient package. 

Choose Arabica Over Robusta (For Flavour)

There are two main coffee varieties cultivated today, Arabica and Robusta. Arabica makes up about three-quarters of the world’s coffee crops. For most people, Arabicas are the best-tasting coffee beans with more nuanced and sweeter flavours. In comparison, Robusta beans have darker, earthier flavours that aren’t as popular with high-end roasters. However, they are easier and less expensive to grow, so they’re traditionally the beans used to make instant coffee (5).

Nowadays, plenty of freeze-dried instant coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans.

Though they might be slightly more expensive, these are indeed the ones to seek out for coffee rich in flavour, particularly if you like to drink it black (6). Or you can choose to get Café Bustelo instead. It is the first brand to bring Latin coffee to the US market. This brand carries an instant coffee line, that is a blend of Robusta and Arabica beans. You can learn more about the brand in our Cafe Bustelo review.

Roast Still Matters

Coffee producers roast a lot of instant coffees to a generic medium-dark roast. Most consumers around the globe prefer the medium-dark roast due to its balanced and approachable flavours. But if you love a bright light roast or super dark roasts (such as a French roast), there are now-worthy options. The higher-end producers who are starting to get into the instant coffee market recognize the importance of using the proper roast to highlight the character of the beans.


The Verdict

With new production techniques and a revived interest in the market, you can choose from plenty of delicious instant coffee. Our pick for the best instant coffee in 2023 is Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade. It’s a terrific value product with all the coffee flavour that only quality, single-origin beans can provide. It’s also our pick for the best organic instant coffee.

“Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade”


Yes, instant coffee is healthy, provided that you consume it in moderation. The health benefits of instant coffee are the same as regular coffee. They include an increase in energy, reduced risk of disease including Parkinson’s, cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, and diabetes, as well as lower levels of depression. You should limit the consumption of instant coffee to around 3-4 cups per day.

The nutritional values of instant coffee are the same as regular coffee if it doesn’t contain any additives. A 240 ml cup of coffee made from instant coffee powder contains two calories, 300 mg protein, 4.7 mg calcium, 116 mg potassium, 7 mg magnesium, 7 mg phosphorus, and 4.7 mg sodium.

The difference between instant coffee vs ground coffee is that instant coffee has already been brewed and dried, whereas ground coffee is simple ground coffee beans that still need brewing. Instant coffee is soluble in water with no residue, whereas ground coffee needs to be filtered out. The two coffees have very different tastes. Drinking instant coffee does not give you the depth of coffee made with coffee grounds and is often bitter.

  1. Frestedt, J.L., Kuskowski, M.A., Zenk, J.L. (2009, February 2). A natural seaweed derived mineral supplement (Aquamin F) for knee osteoarthritis: A randomised, placebo controlled pilot study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2642861/
  2. Miller, C. (2009, November 8). Starbucks makes a move to instant coffee. Retrieved form https://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/business/worldbusiness/18iht-sbux.3.20281557.html
  3. Sen, M. (2017, February 1). The Hidden Wartime Origins of Mushroom Coffee. Retrieved from https://food52.com/blog/18958-the-hidden-wartime-origins-of-mushroom-coffee
  4. Newton, T. (2018, January 22). Coffee Wars: Should You Drink Instant or Whole Bean? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/01/coffee-wars-should-you-drink-instant-or-whole-bean/
  5. Origin and History of Instant Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.historyofcoffee.net/coffee-history/instant-coffee-history/
  6. The Benefits of Instant Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cafealtura.com/instant-coffee-benefits/
Julia Bobak
I love trail running, rock climbing, coffee, food, and my tiny dog — and writing about all of them. I start every morning with a fresh Americano from my home espresso machine, or I don’t start it at all.