While it may seem heretical to serious java lovers to even think about going near the stuff, instant coffee has a few things going for it! It has many of the same health benefits as regular brewed coffee, but it’s easy to make with a bit of hot water. Several baking recipes call for instant coffee instead of fresh grounds or beans because the powder is easier to measure and consistently delivers the ich coffee taste we all love. If you have instant coffee on hand for baking, you might be wondering if it’s okay to eat instant coffee straight. The answer is yes—it’s safe to eat instant coffee straight out of the jar!
What Is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is a freeze-dried or spray-dried version of regular coffee. Essentially, coffee is made the old-fashioned way, from roasted and ground beans, and then subjected to a process that removes the water. All you have to do is add water to the powder or crystals to get reconstituted liquid coffee. The freeze-drying and spray-drying processes do not add chemicals or additives to the final product.
Are There Harmful Chemicals in Instant Coffee?
Both instant and regular brewed coffee contains acrylamide, a chemical that may increase your risk of cancer and nervous system issues if you consume too much of it. The chemical is produced when coffee beans are roasted; instant coffee has twice as much of the chemical. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll ingest enough of the substance to endanger your health.
Eliminating coffee from your diet probably will not reduce your acrylamide exposure since the chemical is found in several products, including personal care items, French fries, potato chips, breakfast cereal, crackers, and cookies.
Does Instant Coffee Have Any Health Benefits?
Absolutely! Instant coffee, just like regular coffee, is packed full of antioxidants that help reduce the impact of free radicals on your body’s cells. Excessive free radicals have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are loaded with antioxidants, but you can also get a delicious dose of the healthy compounds from your morning cup of coffee. Some studies suggest that instant coffee delivers more beneficial antioxidants than other foods. Instant coffee also delivers important nutrients such as vitamin B3, magnesium and potassium.
Other studies seem to indicate that drinking coffee can reduce your chances of developing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. There may also be a link between coffee drinking and improved liver and mental health.
How Much Caffeine Is in Instant Coffee?
A single teaspoon of instant powder for one cup of hot coffee contains 30–90 mg of caffeine. A regular cup of coffee, on the other hand, packs a much higher punch, delivering 70 to a whopping 140 mg of caffeine, making instant coffee a great choice if you’re trying to limit your caffeine consumption!
How Does Instant Coffee Powder Taste?
It depends on the brand of instant coffee you eat! Plain instant coffee tends to be a bit bitter, but it’s palatable if you enjoy sharp, tart flavors. In some parts of the world, instant coffee often comes in individual sachets with powdered milk and sugar already added. However, these mixes tend to be sweeter and less acidic.
Can You Eat Regular Coffee Beans?
Yes. You can eat green and roasted coffee beans. Unroasted beans are very bitter and hard, which explains why snacking on raw coffee beans isn’t common anywhere in the world. Roasted coffee beans make a delicious snack that tastes better when complemented by something sweet, like chocolate! You can find chocolate-covered espresso and roasted coffee beans at coffee specialty stores and online retailers.
Featured Image Credit: Karyna Panchenko, Unsplash