You can make good instant coffee - if you just follow a few simple rules. You probably won't get the great taste of real coffee beans because instant coffee tends to come from the lower grade coffee beans, but, nonetheless, you can still brew a satisfying cup.
1. Use High-Quality Coffee
Spending a little more to avoid the cheapest instant coffee products will pay off each time you brew up. Experiment with different makes and types until you find one that you like best. Many of the freeze dried granules have extremely good taste, whereas spray dried granules can't preserve the flavor so well.
2. Store Properly
Coffee is notoriously difficult to keep fresh, and this applies to instant coffee as well. To avoid losing the flavor of your coffee, it's essential to store it properly. Coffee hates too much oxygen, light, heat or damp, so seal it well and keep in a storage jar. And keep that in your cupboard, where there's little light and heat. Some people like to keep it refrigerated, but the overall expert view is that it's more important to keep it dry than cold.
In any event, don't store it for an unrealistically long period if you really want to make good instant coffee. Throw it out if it's been in your cupboard too long. Drinking coffee that has long passed its sell-by date isn't usually very pleasant.
3. Read The Instructions
Unfortunately, most of us rarely give the instructions on the tin more than a cursory glance. After all, we all know how to make good instant coffee, right? Just put a teaspoonful in the mug and add boiling water. Well, maybe it's not quite as simple as that.
The producers know how their product can be made to taste its best, so start by following their guidelines as to the ratio of coffee to water and the temperature of the water, and then you can experiment and adapt to suit your own taste.
4. Filter Your Water
If you use water straight from the tap then you're placing a lot of trust in the reliability of your water supply company. Quality of tap water varies greatly from place to place. It can be hard, with plenty of calcium, or soft, and sometimes with chemicals added that can affect the taste of whatever drink you prepare with it.
If you really want to make good instant coffee or any other drink using tap water then it will pay you to invest in a good water filter, and to renew the filter regularly. This will help protect your well-being as well as give you better tasting coffee.
5. Use Fresh Water
Never use water that's been sitting in the kettle for a couple of hours or more, especially if you've boiled it once already. Always refill with fresh water.
6. Don't Use Boiling Water
It's surprising how many people pour boiling water onto their instant coffee. This is probably because it's the same method as in making tea (though even tea shouldn't be made this way).
Remember that coffee is more fickle than tea. You have to treat it with more care so it can release the optimum flavor. The correct temperature of the water should be between 190 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, or 90 to 95 degrees Celsius. Any hotter and you risk scolding the coffee and making it taste bitter. So once your water has boiled, leave it for half a minute or so before pouring.
7. Use Enough Instant Coffee
This part is very flexible, because tastes vary so much. It's generally accepted among coffee experts that most people who drink instant coffee don't use enough coffee powder, or granules. Estimates of the right amount per 6 oz cup vary from one heaped teaspoonful to two heaped dessertspoonfuls. That's quite a difference.
You want to taste the full flavor without making your drink too strong. Some people like it weak. You know your taste, but be prepared, even if you've been drinking coffee for many years, to experiment with stronger or weaker brews.
8. Allow The Taste To Come Through
Try pouring a little hot water into your cup just to stir the coffee, and sugar, if you take it. Turn it into a paste with no powder or grinds left dry, before adding the rest of the hot water. If you doubt this then try making two cups of coffee together, one by using this method and the other by pouring all the water into it at once, and see if you can tell the difference.
9. Warm The Milk or Cream First
If you take milk then it can improve the taste of your coffee if you warm it before adding it to your coffee, whether before or after you have added the hot water. Again, experiment if in doubt and see whether it improves the taste.
You may prefer cream to milk, and if so then this should also be warmed gently in a pan or in the microwave oven for a few seconds.
10. Make Good Instant Coffee!
If you observe these tips then you should have no problems in making good instant coffee. And why not check out these tips on how to make good coffee using a coffee maker?