Instant coffee has a whole army of fans and many critics. Disputes around this topic never stop. Is instant coffee more harmful to health than natural coffee? What brand of instant coffee is the best? What and how is instant coffee made from? If the manufacturer states “100% natural instant coffee” on the packaging – can it be true? Consumers have a lot of questions. It is time to help you know all about instant coffee by gathering interesting facts and reliable information.
History Of Instant Coffee
Coffee as a natural energy source is truly good in every way, but it is too difficult to prepare out of the home. Therefore, already in the 18 century, the idea to create a coffee concentrate that does not require long-term brewing in the cezve appeared.
The first instant coffee, called “Coffee Blend,” was created in 1771 in Britain. Its taste and aroma were much worse than the taste of natural coffee. But the Ministry of War purchased the “Coffee Blend” for the army. Until our time, almost all major improvements in instant coffee technology took place either by order of the military or during the war.
- Instant coffee appeared in the United States in 1853. It was not cheap, as the raw material was expensive Arabica, and the taste and smell left much to be desired.
- In the second half of the 19th century, scientists from different countries created high-quality instant coffee. The concentrate was advertised as coffee for travelers, but people didn’t want to buy it.
- George Constant Louis Washington, a Belgian scientist who has lived in Guatemala for a long time, developed his method of producing instant coffee. He moved to the United States and, although many experts spoke negatively about the taste of the drink, in 1909, he founded the company and began production of Red E Coffee.
- The composition of instant coffee has much improved: since 1954, Nescafe and other brands have stopped stabilizing with carbohydrates. By the 1980s, up to 40% of instant coffee of well-known brands was made by the sublimation method.
Consumption Of Instant Coffee In Different Countries
To know all about instant coffee, it would be helpful to realize the specific consumption in different regions.
About 34% of all coffee in retail is instant. But the level of consumption of the drink is not the same everywhere. Instant coffee is popular either in poor countries or where coffee traditions have not developed. For example, instant coffee accounts for only 1% of consumption in Italy, while in England and Australia – up to 70%.
In Eastern Europe, 60% of coffee consumed is instant, in the West – 20%, Latin America – 35%, Asia-Pacific region – 65%, Africa and the Middle East – 45%. In Russia, the consumption of concentrate reaches 75-80%.
The least instant coffee is drunk in North America – only 10%. It is estimated that the US population spends $ 30 billion a year on natural coffee and only $ 960 million on instant coffee.
Types Of Instant Coffee
The soluble beverage is made from coffee beans previously collected, dried, ground, and processed by specific methods. The features and differences in technological processes depend on the type of instant coffee:
- Powdered coffee: The cheapest soluble product.
- Granulated coffee: This type is considered more worthy in quality than powder.
- Sublimated coffee: This is the best of the affordable options. The specificity of its production ensures maximum preservation of the aroma and taste of natural coffee beans. It is possible to buy such instant coffee at a higher price, but its quality is much higher than in previous versions.
It should be recognized that the differences in production technology and the difference in cost between the three types of products have little effect on the benefits and harms of instant coffee.
What Is Instant Coffee Made Of?
Some manufacturers do not hide the fact that part of the raw materials for instant beverages can be defective coffee beans – broken or crushed, which has no commercial appearance and which the consumer does not want to buy. At the same time, they undertake to claim that the taste and quality of instant coffee are not affected at all.
It is also known that most instant coffee is made from Robusta, and expensive Arabica rarely becomes material for it. But don’t think that the affordable price for Robusta is the only reason to use it. The real reason lies in the higher content of caffeine. If Arabica contains only 0.6% of caffeine, Robust on average gives 2.2%.
Coffee beans lose some of the caffeine and extract during processing at high and low temperatures, so if you make instant coffee from pure Arabica, the caffeine will be almost non-existent. To increase the content of glucose in the product and grains, producers add the pulp of berries. They contain a lot of sugars and affect the caloric content of the product.
To know all about instant coffee, it is necessary to add a few facts about its production. Today, only two technologies are used in practice: “spray dry” and “freeze-dry”.
- “Spray dry” is the process of evaporating moisture from coffee beans and spraying the extract to obtain a powder/
- “Freeze-dry” is the same steps with subsequent freezing of the extract and its slow supply to the drum (temperature -60 ° C). This is the case when all the moisture from the coffee particles freezes and the finished mixture forms granules.
Interestingly, even the best instant coffee on production processes has almost no odor because producers don’t add flavors or other components during the main stages of production. All additives in coffee are put already during packing.
Modern technologies also allow changing the taste of the finished drink and its aromatic characteristics not by adding essential oils, but in a more environmentally friendly way – by melting microparticles of ground roasted coffee into the granules of soluble product.
Benefits & Harms Of Instant Coffee
When we talk about the advantages of instant coffee the main arguments are the exceptional simplicity and speed of its preparation. Modern people often suffer from acute and constant lack of time due to the rhythm of life. So, add a spoonful of coffee into a cup and pour boiling water over it. As for the specific harms or obvious benefits of the instant drink, you can find much information and make your own conclusions – whether to buy instant coffee or still spend time and brew natural.
Many people believe that instant coffee is harmful, and this opinion is well-founded. Some of the negative factors of this drink are in common with natural coffee, some – exclusively personal:
- Caffeine washes calcium out of the body, and the percentage of caffeine in instant coffee can be very significant.
- The technological process of producing instant coffee inevitably leads to the loss of some of the useful properties and characteristics that coffee beans originally have.
- Unscrupulous manufacturers can reduce the cost of the product due to cheap low-quality raw materials or ballast substances.
- Any coffee can be a provoking factor for gastritis or ulcers.
- Too much black coffee (more than 4-5 cups a day) often causes physical dependence on this drink. And coffee addiction is a direct path to cardiovascular disease.
- Instant coffee is insidious – its harm often has a cumulative effect that is a result of prolonged and regular consumption.
You do not have to think long. All about instant coffee read here in the list of benefits.
- Instant coffee, like natural coffee, is good for hypotensives. Many nutritionists recommend coffee to their patients as relief from low blood pressure.
- Caffeine is needed for those who suffer from distraction, memory loss, or just need to cheer up when feeling tired. The stimulating effect of caffeine on the CNS has long been known and widely used.
- Instant green coffee in small doses is sometimes recommended as a supplement to increase the effectiveness of diets for weight loss. But choose only the best quality, not cheap instant green coffee. Therefore, its caloric content tends to zero.
And of course, you must not forget that to buy a good instant coffee – it means not only to buy a natural antidepressant but also to provide yourself with the fastest, easiest, and most comfortable way to enjoy a delicious black drink. The fact that it does not need to be cooked already raises it to the most popular drinks in the world.
Qualitative Indicators Of Instant Coffee
The quality of instant coffee (by analogy with natural grain or ground coffee) is significantly affected by its storage conditions. Hermetic packaging and the absence of fragrant products (especially spices) – this is the key to maintaining the true taste and aroma of your favorite drink. Choose it correctly, focusing on reputable manufacturers and the following indicators:
- One of the main qualitative characteristics of both powder and granular products is their good solubility. At the same time, it is a question of fast and qualitative dissolution (without sediment and lumps on a surface) not only in boiling water but also in cold water.
- The dry coffee should have particles of the same size. The color of the powder or granules must be uniform without any foreign inclusions.
- The percentage of caffeine in the chemical composition of instant coffee may be different in the products of different manufacturers. Generally, better and more expensive coffee will also have higher caffeine content.
- In high-quality and expensive coffee made from natural raw materials, there will be no harmful components and cheaper ballast additives.
How To Choose Instant Coffee
In order not to make a mistake in choosing instant coffee, you should follow the rules:
- Read the label in the store to learn all about instant coffee you are going to buy: the name and logo are readable, the bar code should correspond to the country of manufacture;
- The best instant coffee – sublimated, although powdered and granulated can also have a pleasant taste;
- Coffee made of Arabica is tastier than made of Robusta, but Arabica has less caffeine;
- If you feel bread notes in the aroma of the coffee, then the concentrate includes some cereal additives;
- The burnt smell means that the manufacturer has overcooked the grains or changed the technology. Unfortunately, this and previous shortcomings can only be discovered after purchase. But it makes sense to remember the manufacturer and no longer buy his products.
How To Make Instant Coffee
The taste of instant coffee largely depends on its taste. The concentrate is never filled with water heated above +90 ° C. At higher temperatures, chemical flavors and other additives decompose and give coffee an unpleasant taste.
- Warm the cup with boiling water.
- Pour instant coffee and sugar on the bottom, stir.
- Splash some hot water.
- Stir the cup’s contents until the coffee and sugar are completely dissolved.
- Add the rest of the water.
When in contact with some varieties of instant coffee, the milk coagulates. To avoid this, the concentrate is always first dissolved in a small amount of water, and then milk or cream is added.
To give the drink a pleasant taste, before adding water, the concentrate can be mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, cocoa, cardamom, anise. Instant coffee is used to make lattes, glazes, cappuccinos, and milkshakes.
Those who think instant coffee is a product that has nothing to do with nature and is pure chemistry are mistaken. Instant coffee is an extract from natural roasted beans, so it boasts an even higher percentage of caffeine than natural grains. However, you can find on sale and buy decaffeinated coffee, which tastes almost no different from the usual.