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How to Make Instant Coffee (Easy Steps)

Instant coffee is great to have on hand when you’re in a pinch and pressed for time. It’s ready – well, instantly – and it’s extremely portable, making it perfect for traveling or camping. We aren’t going to sugar coat it; instant coffee isn’t going to win any coffee of the year awards any time soon. But if convenience is what you’re looking for, instant coffee is what you want.

So how do you make instant coffee? You just add hot water to the granules, and voila, right? Almost. You can take a few simple steps to enhance your instant coffee experience and make it more enjoyable. If you’re hopping from hotel to hotel or taking in mountain vistas in the backcountry, you don’t have to settle for mediocre coffee. In this article, we’ll teach you how to make instant coffee and give you some tips to make sure you get the best instant coffee experience possible.

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What You’ll Need

Before we talk about the process, here’s what you need to get started:

  • A mug
  • A spoon

The only possible sticking point is how you get your hot water. Hot water is essential, and you shouldn’t replace it with cold or room temperature water. Using room temperature water won’t allow the instant coffee to dissolve fully, and you’ll have a lumpy, flavorless mess. Trust us; you won’t want to drink it that way.

If you’re at home, you can boil water in a kettle, but travelers and campers will have to take a few extra steps. Hotels usually have hot water available in the lobby, or you might have a microwave in your room. If you’re roughing it in the great outdoors, your only options are building a fire or carrying a propane hot plate with you. If you decide to use a campfire, you’ll also need a pot or kettle that can withstand direct flame. Once you figure out how to boil water in your particular situation, you’re all set.

Instant coffees up-close

1. Boil the water

How much water you boil depends on how much coffee you’re making and the type of instant coffee you have. Most brands will print instructions on the label, and it’s best to go with whatever they suggest. In general, a good rule of thumb is about 2 g of instant coffee for every 200 mL of water. We like to boil a little extra water to preheat our mug and recommend you do the same.

Now, if you’re traveling light, you probably don’t want to start weighing and measuring coffee. The easiest way to get this right without a lot of hassle is to measure your mug’s capacity once at home with a scale. If you take your coffee with milk, make sure you leave some room for it when you measure the capacity.

By measuring your mug beforehand, you can still get the coffee to water ratio right when you’re away from home and don’t have access to a measuring cup or scale. Close is close enough, so don’t stress about getting the ratio precise. A few grams or milliliters here or there won’t change things drastically.

testing the Hario kettle

2. Preheat your mug

Once the water has boiled, fill your mug to get it nice and toasty before adding the coffee. A preheated mug will keep your coffee hot for much longer than a room temperature mug.

3. Add the instant coffee

Dump the water out and add the instant coffee to your mug.

Instant Coffee

4. Add water and stir

Add the water and stir. If you measured the coffee to be appropriate for your mug, this step is as simple as filling your mug. Stir until you can’t see any individual granules. Grittiness is a good indication that you used too much coffee. It might take a few attempts to get the ratio just right for your taste.

Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt, Pixabay

5. Add milk and sugar (optional)

If you prefer your coffee with milk and sugar, add them at the end. Make sure your mug has enough room for milk when you add the water.

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We hope you’ve found this guide helpful! Instant coffee is the most convenient way to prepare coffee for people on the go, and the simple tips we’ve presented here can help make the experience even smoother. Instant coffee has a mixed reputation, but these days there are some great options out there that give people without a lot of time or resources access to enjoyable coffee. Next time you head out on a business trip or a wilderness trek, consider taking along some instant coffee.

Featured Image: Kim Love, Flickr

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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