For most of the general populous a cup of instant coffee is as much a part of the breakfast routine as our cornflakes, unless of course you’ve joined the ever growing coffee community of home barista’s using freshly roasted Crosby Coffee! But what is instant coffee and how does it compare to whole bean?
Instant coffee is made from roasted and ground coffee that is brewed in a similar way to percolation, the difference being that it is highly concentrated. There are two methods for creating the powdery substance that we’ve come to know as “coffee” - spray or freeze drying.
Both of these methods remove the liquid from the brewed coffee by drying, leaving behind only the coffee solids. Spray drying consists of misting the brew into dry hot air, evaporating the liquids and leaving a fine coffee powder at the bottom of the machine. This powder can then be collected and compressed into granules or simply packed as a fine powder. Freeze drying as the name suggests involves freezing the extracted coffee then placing it into a vacuum and extracting the liquids, the remaining product is cut into granules and subsequently packed and shipped. Studies have shown that freeze drying holds more flavour than spray drying but they still can’t hold up to freshly roasted and brewed beans.
The negative view of instant coffee stems from its perception as a low value product, as poor quality beans are often used to create it. Consequently the final brew is sub standard. Some brands actually cost more per cup than that brewed from ground coffee. It is also well known that instant coffee can be high in toxic compounds, the processes to create the soluble crystals are staggering when you compare the natural, picking, shipping, roasting ad brewing methods.
As we know fresh equals best, so there really is no comparison to make between Crosby Coffee and a household instant. As instant is brewed once, frozen and then re-brewed it simply cannot be fresh. If you want some real instant coffee I would recommend a pour over filter brewer such as the v60 or Chemex, The v60 takes roughly 5 minutes to make a coffee with, that’s pretty instant in my opinion!
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