If you click on a link on Coffee Brewster and make a purchase, we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

We all know that coffee is delicious and can be enjoyed any time of day. But do you know the difference between ground coffee versus instant coffee?

One could say there’s not much to it; they both make a cup of joe, after all. However, is one objectively better than the other, and which one is really the best option for your morning routine? Read on to find out!

Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee Explained

The name gives it all away: instant coffee is granules of dehydrated coffee that dissolve in water to immediately make a cup of coffee. Ground coffee is ground coffee beans that needs to be brewed in order to make a drink.

Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals, 8 Ounces
Peet's Coffee French Roast, Dark Roast Ground Coffee, 20 oz

What is ground coffee and how is it made?

Ground coffee is made by grinding roasted coffee beans. This process can be done manually with a hand grinder or with an electric burr grinder at larger scales and quicker.

Roasters usually ship their coffee as pre-ground or as whole beans which you’ll need to grind at home.

In order to make a cup of coffee with ground beans, you’ll need hot water and a brewing apparatus that either utilizes gravity, pressure, or immersion. Put the appropriate amount for your preferred serving size into the brewer, add hot water, and you’ll have a delicious cup of coffee in minutes.

Ground coffee gives you more control over your cup, allowing you to choose how much or little you want depending on what kind of machine and method you’re using. Additionally, it’s easier to adjust recipes for different servings with ground beans because all that matters is weight.

What is instant coffee and how is it made?

Instant coffee consists of granules made from dried brewed coffee that has been freeze-dried or spray-dried. This process allows for the water to be evaporated without drying out other components in the liquid, such as proteins and sugars.

However, many of the flavor compounds that make coffee good are lost in this process, and you end up with a rather bitter and flavorless cup.

The only advantage of instant coffee is that it allows you to skip the brewing process altogether, making it more convenient for when you’re in a hurry or traveling.

Instant coffee doesn’t have to be dissolved in water, though; it can also dissolve into milk for an iced latte.

What tastes better?

There’s no doubt that ground coffee tastes better than instant coffee. There’s just no comparison.

Freshly ground coffee is true coffee, while instant coffee is like the ghost of coffees past.

If you’ve only ever tasted instant coffee and you don’t enjoy it, consider trying a cup of freshly brewed ground coffee. The difference will blow your mind!

Instant coffee caffeine content vs brewed coffee

Instant coffee has much less caffeine per cup than brewed coffee. A serving of instant coffee has about 47 mg of caffeine, compared to 120-150 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee made from fresh grounds!

Even though instant coffee is usually made from higher-caffeine Robusta beans, by the time it is processed is and reaches your cup, it has lost most of its kick

Which one should you choose?

Both instant and ground coffee have their own benefits and drawbacks when it comes to making your morning cup of joe. Instant granules often contain preservatives or artificial flavors that might not sit so well with some people’s stomachs.

Ground coffee beans, on the other hand, are a little more difficult to use and require an extra step that not everyone is willing or able to do in the mornings — especially if they want their cup of joe as soon as possible!

In general, ground coffee offers more control over your final product while instant granules offer convenience.

However, if all you want is speed and convenience in the mornings, instant coffee might be your best bet!

Frequently asked questions

How long does instant coffee last?

Instant coffee typically has a shelf life of about two years unopened and one month once opened.
It’s best to keep your instant granules inside the sealed, airtight container it came in so that they don’t lose any flavor or moisture.

How long does ground coffee last?

Ground coffees have an average shelf life of about two weeks.
As with instant coffee, it’s important to keep the ground beans sealed and protected from environmental factors like light or heat to make sure they don’t lose any flavor or moisture before you get a chance to brew them!

Last update on 2022-08-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Become a coffee expert and brew like a barista

Learn to brew the best coffee of your life with our FREE email course.
You'll also get access to our community and weekly newsletter.