Instant Coffee Around the World Tour


what is the best instant coffee
The Waka Life Blog

Instant Coffee Around the World Tour

There is no doubt that instant coffee is making a come back! Let’s explore different instant coffees around the world.

Since its creation in 1771 by John Dring in England, instant coffee (or coffee crystals/granules) has gone a long way. Once America's favorite coffee drink and loved by its soldiers, to declining sales and popularity resulting in landing at the bottom shelves of the grocery store. Nowadays, instant coffee’s popularity in the US is gaining momentum again due to new instant coffee startups, such as Waka Coffee. However, while America’s love was once lost, people around the world never gave up on the beloved instant coffee granules.

Despite the dominance of other coffee preparation methods, instant coffee is becoming more popular again in the US as well. According to a 2019 Los Angeles Times article, “instant remains a niche product, with just 6% of Americans drinking it, according to the National Coffee Assn. But U.S. retail sales of the category rose in the year that ended in June — the first gain following at least three years of declines, according to Nielsen data.”

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Some of the reasons driving this increasing popularity of instant coffee is its ease of use. With instant coffee, a cup of coffee can be prepared just by pouring the coffee crystals into a mug and stirring them with hot or cold water without the need of any coffee makers or a long brewing wait time. In addition, its transportation is cheaper and has less carbon emissions compared to other coffee types due to its light weight and small size. Another reason driving instant coffee’s renaissance is the innovation in the manufacturing process. Nowadays, instant coffee tastes as good as drip coffee (and sometimes even better) due to the freeze drying method when compared to the previously common spray drying method

Ok, now that we are familiar with the instant coffee trend, let’s check out how people around the world drink their delicious granulated coffee! Just a heads up before we move forward -- Waka Coffee is selling its quality instant coffee in the US, the UK, Australia and Canada; however, we will also be highlighting other local brands from each country that are not sold by us and we have no connection to those brands whatsoever. We present this information as embossers of the instant coffee category and all examples are just for the purpose of this article. Cheers!

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Korean instant coffee

Instant coffee plays a large role in the overall coffee scene in South Korea. The love for instant coffee sets South Korea apart from other countries. According to Statista, 35.71% of South Koreans drank instant coffee at least once a day in 2018 - far more than most countries and the US in particular.

It is so prevalent there that it can be found in offices, offered at restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, and even sold in vending machines. 

How is it served?

Korean instant coffee is offered in a variety of flavors and mostly as a combination of coffee, sugar, and powdered creamer. Usually all in one packet (3 in 1). Sometimes also poured over ice cream, affogato style.

Notable local brand:

Maxim instant coffee

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Vietnamese instant coffee

Vietnam is on track to be among the world’s Top 5 fastest-growing coffee retail markets by volume between 2017 and 2021, according to global market intelligence agency Mintel. The local instant coffee category, in particular, is growing in popularity due to the busy lifestyle and longer working hours of the younger Vietnamese generation. According to Euromonitor, Vietnam’s instant coffee category was valued at $279.3 million in 2017, a 62% rise compared to four years beforehand.

How is it served?

Ca phe sua is a traditional Vietnamese coffee, which is often made with instant coffee as well. It involves pouring the brewed coffee on top of an inch high of sweet condensed milk. Yes, condensed milk! It can be served hot or iced. In addition, instant coffee is often sold in a 3-in-1 package with non-dairy creamer and sugar.

Notable local brand:

G7 Instant Coffee

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Greek Instant Coffee

While you might not believe it, Greece’s national drink is not ouzo, or wine, or raki. It’s the frappé! While the Frappé known in the US refers to a type of blended iced coffee drink you can get at coffee shops, the original word Frappé referred to a Greek coffee drink. The Greek Frappé is a foam-covered iced coffee drink made of instant coffee, sugar, ice cubes, and water. The frappé was named after the French word “frapper” meaning “to hit” just as ice does when mixed with a drink and shaken. Frappé is everywhere in Greece: offices, car rental agencies, shops, the airport, and even in Parliament meetings.

How is it served?

A spoonful of freeze-dried instant coffee mixed very well (shaken) with cold water, and poured over ice cubes. Some people add sugar, condensed milk or other toppings. It can also be served with milk or evaporated milk on top or instead of water.

Notable local brand:

Nescafe Frappé

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Indian Instant Coffee

India has eight main coffee growing regions, all in the southern part of the country. Those with the highest elevations — Baba Budan, Niligris, and Shevaroys — produce the most admired specialty coffees. When we look at the instant coffee category in particular, India’s market is currently exhibiting a healthy growth. According to Statista, “Revenue in the Instant Coffee segment amounts to US$360.7m in 2019 snf the market is expected to grow annually by 7.5%.”

How is it served?

Indian instant coffee is known for its high quality. Especially when it’s freeze dried and made from Arabica beans. People in India love their cup of instant joe whipped with sugar and mixed with milk (hot or cold). Some people also add chicory (a blue flowered dandelion plant) root blended in their cup of instant joe.

Notable local brand:

Bru Instant Coffee

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Australian Instant Coffee

Australians love coffee, and especially instant coffee! It makes up 75% of the annual coffee consumption in Australia and is mainly drank at home and at work office kitchens. Instant coffee is so popular because it is the easiest and quickest way to make coffee without the need of coffeemakers or going to the coffee shop. According to a 2014 research conducted by the Australian's Bureau of Statistics, out of the 16.3 million coffee cups drank daily in Australia, about 2 out of 3 were made from instant coffee granules and only 1 out of 3 from coffee grounds.

How is it served?

Well, Australians love their instant coffee the old simple way. Served with hot or cold water and mixed with sugar or milk. 

Notable local brand:

Moccona Instant Coffee

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Israeli Instant Coffee

Israelis drink more cups of coffee than most of the rest of the world. About four to eight cups per day! Most of these cups are brewed using instant coffee as it is the most dominant coffee preparation method in the country. A trip to the coffee aisle at the local grocery store will reveal about 20 plus varieties of different instant coffee products – from international to local Israeli brands.

How is it served?

When you consider the instant coffee category in Israel, you must also include some Turkish Coffee products. Therefore, you have 2 ways for making your instant cup of joe. If you choose the main powdered option, the preparation is pretty straight forward and similar to other countries around the globe. 1-2 tsp of instant coffee, hot or cold water, sugar and milk. If you choose the Turkish Coffee option, then more skill is involved. You have to pour water into a Fingan (small metal coffee pot), bring water to boiling, and one heaped teaspoon of coffee for each cup and stir on low heat until it reaches another boiling point. Remove from heat and add sugar to taste.

Notable local brand:

Elite Instant Coffee

Elite Turkish Coffee

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Colombian Instant Coffee

Colombians love instant coffee, high quality instant coffee! The country is ranked as the third largest coffee exporter behind Brazil and Vietnam, and the largest producer of high quality arabica beans.

Luis Fernando Samper, communications and marketing director for the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, said in an interview with Quartz that “there’s been a lot of innovation in the (local) instant coffee market… It’s especially catering to younger customers.” 

How is it served?

Colombian instant coffee is considered as a premium instant coffee. Especially when it’s freeze dried and made from Arabica beans. Colombian instant coffee is made by combining hot or cold water with coffee granules (0.1 oz of powder, which is about 1-2 tsp, to 8-10 fl oz of water). Some people love adding sugar, milk or coffee creamer, or make it over ice. It is recommended pouring the instant coffee first and then mix it with water.

While Waka Quality instant coffee is a product of Colombia, we are not a local brand in Colombia (yet:).

Notable local brand:

Tastle Colombian Instant Coffee

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Japanese Instant Coffee

Coffee is one of Japan's most popular drinks, only second to tea. The popularity of instant coffee in particular can be demonstrated in many of Japan’s vending machines. Instant coffee boxes are sold next to brewed coffee, which is often offered in 24-hour convenience stores that also provide seating and eating areas. For the home, instant coffee is a staple with the average consumption being 1.1 kg in 2019 (Statista).

How is it served?

Coffee lovers in Japan have their own unique way of making iced coffee, which commonly adopted the name “Japanese Iced Coffee.” It is simply coffee brewed with hot water, directly onto ice. The way of making it with instant coffee is brewing the instant coffee in a separate mug and then pouring it over ice. Use larger ice cubes, so the coffee will melt slower as well as lower water-to-coffee ratio compared to your regular amount, as it will get diluted over the ice.

Notable local brand:

UCC Instant Coffee

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Filipino Instant Coffee

According to the 2019 edition of the Asia Brand Footprint report, published annually by Kantar’s Worldpanel Division, Philippines shows a consistent love for two things: instant noodles and instant coffee. People of the Philippines love their instant coffee at home or at the office and buy it more often than any other type of packaged coffee. They especially love 3-in-1 instant coffee mixes with non dairy milk creamer powder and brown sugar! 

How is it served?

Filipino instant coffee is usually sold in individual coffee packets, so all you need to do is pour the content out into an empty mug. Add water and stir! This powder already contains creamer, so it is up to you if you want to add more milk or creamer.

Notable local brand:

Kopiko Instant Coffee

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