• Home
  • >
  • The Best Instant Coffee Brands to Try in a Cold Brew Pinch

The Best Instant Coffee Brands to Try in a Cold Brew Pinch

The history of instant coffee is surprisingly interesting, with a lot of surprising brands and flavors. The wide array of flavors and blends makes it easy for anyone to find the perfect instant coffee for them.

Brandon Pierce
October 6, 2022

When you need coffee in a hurry, you can't always wait for a cold brew. If you're looking for the best tasting instant coffee producers to try a pinch, check out our list.

We've scoured the instant coffee market and tried many, if not all the instant coffees we could afford.

Let's be honest for a second...

Most instant coffee tastes inferior.

Still, instant coffee tastes aside, we've decided on the best high quality instant coffee options on the market today, so you can get your caffeine fix in a pinch.

The best part is, these don't require hot water.

What is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is a type of coffee made from coffee beans that have been roasted and ground, then brewed and freeze-dried. Instant coffee is convenient because it can be made quickly and easily with just hot water.

It's also easy to transport and doesn't require any special equipment.

 When choosing an instant coffee, it's important to find one that you personally enjoy the taste of.

Instant coffees can vary widely in terms of quality and flavor, so it's worth trying a few different brands to see what you like best.

Instant Coffee

As a part of our research, we've sifted through the chaff and compiled a list of 8 great instant coffees we think you might like, and answer a few questions you may have along the way.

How is Instant Coffee Made?

There are a couple different ways that instant coffee can be made. The most common method is to roast and grind real coffee beans, then brew them and freeze-dry the resulting liquid.

Instant coffee can also be made by extracting the flavor from roasted coffee beans using water, then spray-drying the mixture into a powder.

Either process preserves the coffee's flavor and aroma, while making it easier to transport and store in preparation for your favorite morning cup.

A Brief History of Instant Coffee

Instant coffee was invented in 1901 by Japanese chemist Satori Kato. He was trying to find a way to make coffee that was easier to transport and store.

After years of trial and error, he finally perfected his instant coffee recipe.

Since then, instant coffee has become a popular choice for people who want a quick and easy cup of coffee.

It's also a popular choice for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities where boiling water might not be an option.

Today, there are many different brands and varieties of instant coffee available on the market.

And with advances in technology, the quality of instant coffees has improved greatly over the years.

history of instant coffee

What are Spray-Dried vs Freeze Dried Instant Coffees?

Spray Drying Instant Coffee Crystals:

The spray-drying method utilizes a special sprayer to spray condensed coffee concentrate into a cylinder.

The cylinder is then heated to nearly 480°F, causing the liquid mist to evaporate, leaving behind powdered coffee particles.

Freeze Drying Instant Coffee Crystals:

Freeze drying takes a bit longer to complete and is a little more complicated.

However, this method is generally preferred over spray drying since the coffee's natural attributes, such as aroma and coffee flavor, stick around after it becomes a powder.

Unlike with spray-drying, the coffee concentrate is placed within a freezing chamber instead of a heated cylinder, where temperatures are kept around -58°F.

The frozen coffee is separated into trays, broken up into coffee granules, and then transported into a sublimation chamber.

This chamber subjects the coffee to temperatures so drastic, that water solids instantly become a gas, without passing through the liquid phase.

The freeze drying instant coffee passes through low-pressure, heated vacuum tubes to remove the gases from the solids quickly, leaving freeze dried instant coffee with much of the same flavor and aroma as before.

Is Instant Coffee a Game Changer for Cold Brew?

Instant coffee could be a game-changer for cold brew as long as you first understand that not every instant coffee is considered equal

You may find companies claiming their new instant blend is great for cold brewing purposes only to realize that the final product tastes like poor quality iced coffee.

Some marketing tactics may suggest that you are getting a cold brew product by adding cold or lukewarm water to their instant coffee powder, but was that coffee extract powder made from cold-brew or hot coffee?

Still, the magic is in brewing method.

As long as you choose cool water for cold-brewed instant coffee powder, then you may experience many similar benefits from traditional cold brews at a fraction of the prep time.

Since some brands have decided to cold brew their instant coffee, then use the freeze-drying process to create a powder out of the result, you may find these to be the best instant coffees when you add cool water.

If nothing else, these brands are certainly worth trying, as the flavor you are coming from the cold-brewed process.

That being said, you probably want to stick to a medium roast instant coffee or dark roasts.

You might not like how bitter an instant Italian roast is, even if it was initially cold-brewed.

Can You Make Tasty Cold Brew with Instant Coffees?

Yes you can, but don't make the mistake thinking every instant coffee will taste great as cold brew.

Note: Not every brand can produce instant coffee of significance.

While brewing iced coffee or cold brew with good instant coffee is possible, it may not taste as good as if you were to use traditional brewing methods.

Even if some brands choose to cold brew their organic instant coffee powder first, the processing it goes through may strip away some of the coffee's natural nuances in both flavor and aroma.

So, if you're looking for a quick and easy cup of coffee that tastes close to what you might expect from cold brew, you may be disappointed with the final product.

When does it Make Sense to Use Instant Coffee for Cold Brew?

There are a few situations where using a single serve instant coffee packet for cold brew might make sense:

  • If you're in a pinch and need a quick cup of coffee.
  • It's also a good choice for camping, hiking, or other outdoor activities where boiling water might not be an option. Cold brewing equipment
  • If you are traveling to a place where cold brewing equipment is hard to come by.
  • You love trying new things but don't have much time on your hands.

What types of Beans are Most Commonly Used in Instant Coffee Brands?

There are two types of beans that are most commonly used in instant coffee brands:

  • Arabica
  • Robusta.

Arabica coffee beans are known for their sweet, more vibrant flavor, while Robusta beans are known for their bold, more robust flavor.

The best instant coffee brands will use Arabica beans only, while others choose a blend of both lower quality Arabica and Robusta beans due to price or other restrictions.

3-in-1 Instant Coffee Packets

Historically, instant coffees relied on subpar arabica or robusta beans because they did not meet market standards.

Yet, instead of throwing them out, instant coffee has always been a better solution as part of a powder pack, sometimes referred to as 3-in-1 instant coffee.

3-in-1 instant coffee combines instant coffee powder, powdered creamer, and sugar.

The Top 4 Best Instant Coffee Brands for Instant Cold Brew in 2022

If you're looking for the best instant coffee brands to try a cold brew pinch, look no further than these four best options!

Why? Well, they were first made using a cold brewing method before the freeze-drying process.

Trader Joes Instant Cold Brew Coffee

Trader Joes Instant Cold Brew Coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans and comes in a convenient pre-measured packet, making it easy to get the perfect cup of cold brew every time.

Simply add water, stir, and enjoy! I'm so glad there is an option I can find in my local grocery store.

Civilized Coffee Co. Instant Cold Brew Coffee Granules

Civilized Coffee Co. Instant Cold Brew Coffee Granules are also made from 100% Arabica beans.

It comes in a jar, so you can make as much or as little cold brew as you like. Plus, the resealable lid keeps your coffee fresh for future use.

Cusa Coffee Cold Brew Instant Coffee

Cusa Coffee Cold Brew Instant Coffee is made with fair trade, organic Arabica beans and has a rich, smooth flavor that is perfect for cold brewing.

It comes in a single-serve packet, so you can take it with you on the go.

Saturnbird Instant Coffee

Saturnbird Instant Coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans that have been slow-roasted for a smooth coffee flavor.

They dissolve quickly in cold water, so you can enjoy your cold brew in just minutes.

Personally, I prefer their dark roast for my instant cold brewed coffee over their medium roast.

The Best Instant Coffee Options Iced Coffee in 2022

If you like the flavor of iced coffee and you want more variety, try these other instant coffees.

Nescafe Taster's Choice House Blend Instant Coffee

Looking for a delicious and convenient way to enjoy iced coffee?

Taster's Choice House Blend Instant Coffee is the perfect solution! Made with 100% Arabica beans, this instant coffee is specially formulated for iced coffee.

Just add water, stir, and enjoy!

Nescafe Clasico Instant Coffee

Nescafe Clasico Instant Coffee is another great option for iced coffee. Plus, the single-serve packets make it easy to take on the go.

Nescafe Gold instant espresso roast will always taste bitter in my opinion.

Cafe du Monde French Roast Decaf Instant Coffee

If you're looking for a decaf coffee option, Cafe du Monde French Roast Decaf, Instant Coffee is a great choice. It has a rich flavor that is perfect for iced coffee.

Whoever said instant French Roast was an oxymoron? Plus, you don't have to drive all the way to New Orleans to visit their coffee shop to enjoy it.

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee is another great option for instant iced coffee. Though some people do not like Starbucks coffee in general, at least they taste consistent.

Their instant coffee has that same rich flavor any coffee drinker comes to expect from the brand, yet packaged in single-serve packets. Starbucks VIA Instant comes in many roast options.

WAKA Coffee Instant Coffee

WAKA Coffee Instant Coffee makes a decent cup of iced coffee. There are so many flavor options to try and they are all really good. Don't sleep on this brand, as it is a crowd favorite around here.

You might also like instant coffee from Swift Cup Coffee, Douwe Egberts Pure Gold, or Mount Hagen Organic Instant Coffee.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee (added to cold brew), while not entirely coffee powder, is a great addition to a regular coffee.


Let's be honest, nothing beats the rich and bold flavor of a freshly brewed cup.

Did You Know? Instant coffees are never the first choice for coffee lovers, and usually not in the realm of thought for a cold brew fanatic like me. 

However, when you are traveling, outdoors, or out of time, you may need something to tide you over. In those cases, there are a lot of great instant coffee options out there.

These are some of the best we've found. If you're looking for a delicious and convenient way to enjoy cold brewed or iced coffee on the go, you are sure to find a winner from the curated list above.

Brandon Pierce

About the author

My name is Brandon and I love cold-brew coffee. If you're a fan of everything homebrew, then we'll get along just fine. I also enjoy riding my Onewheel around town, and going on adventures with my future wife! As an online work-from-home advocate, it's important that I stay connected to the world while being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}