Coffee 101: Instant Coffee Vs. Instant Espresso
With today’s busy society, it’s no wonder people are looking towards easier and faster coffee brewing methods. Let's explore the differences of instant coffee and instant espresso.
The espresso first appeared in Italy around the early 2th century. Although many coffee histories revolve around the type of bean or ways of drinking it, such as adding milk or cream, the history of the espresso directly influenced by the invention of the espresso machine.
The first espresso machine was invented by Luigi Bezzera in 1901. The basis of this machine was to make coffee faster than the regular brewing method. Because of that, the coffee it produced tasted more like brewed coffee we have today. The invention of this machine and others is what made espresso a more popular beverage, mostly drank in coffee houses.
It wasn’t until around 1948 when the first modern type of espresso was invented by Ernesto Valente. This type of machine was different in that it was semi-automatic and built in a more horizontal shape to allow the barista and customer to socialize while the espresso was being made.
What is Espresso Powder?
Instant espresso powder mix is made a bit differently than how instant coffee is. The first step of making it is by taking finely ground coffee beans and brewing it as an espresso. After the espresso is finished brewing, the already brewed coffee grounds are taken and dehydrated into crystal granules.
Well, now how do you use instant espresso? These granules can be used in a variety of ways as they can be easily dissolved. You can make a cup of coffee by dissolving it in water to make a quick espresso coffee or use it as an ingredient in baking to intensify the taste of chocolate desserts. It can even be used in cooking as a spice to create a variety of tastes.
The first type of instant coffee was created in 1771 in Britain called a “coffee compound”. It wasn’t until 1890 where a soluble instant coffee was invented by David Strand in New Zealand. He utilized what was called a “dry hot-air” process. However, in 1901, a more stable type of soluble coffee powder was created by a Japanese scientist, Satori Kato. Rather than instant coffee powder, the coffee crystals were invented in 1910 by the chemist George Constant Louis Washington.
Read more about the history of instant coffee in our previous post.
Types of Beans for instant coffee
We have discussed the two main beans used in instant coffee in our previous blog, but here is a short recap of them! There are two main types of beans that can be found in the coffees you choose to drink. These two beans are Arabica and Robusta.
The Arabica bean tends to produce coffee that has a sweeter and softer taste. Coffee made with Arabica will have a higher acidity but can have aromas or flavors of sugar, fruits, and berry tones.
Arabia beans are grown mostly in Latin America and are more expensive than Robusta because they are harder to produce. This is because they are more vulnerable to pests and each tree produces less fruit than Robusta trees.
The Robusta bean contains twice as much caffeine than the Arabica bean. Due to this, it as a stronger and harsher taste. It has a more bitter taste compared to Arabica and can have a peanut-y aftertaste.
Robusta beans are grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, mostly in Africa and Indonesia. They are also easier to grow than Arabica beans since the plants are stronger and can resist pests and weather changes. They also produce fruit more quickly and contains more fruit per tree.
Instant Coffee vs. Instant Espresso
Now you must be wondering, is espresso powder the same as instant coffee? What are the differences? In fact, although they may sound very similar, there are some big differences between instant coffee and espresso powder.
The caffeine content of your coffee varies depending on if it was made using instant coffee or espresso powder. Instant coffee contains about 30-90 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce drink. It can vary depending on the brand of coffee and the type(s) of beans used to make it. However, between instant and ground coffee, instant coffee contains a slightly lower caffeine amount. Waka Coffee instant coffee for example, has about 70mg of caffeine.
Espresso powder, while it’s made with already brewed grounds, it still contains the same amount of caffeine as an espresso. A shot of espresso contains about 63mg of caffeine per 1-1.75 ounce. Making coffee using instant espresso will give you a more caffeinated coffee.
It is important to note that the caffeine content in your drink can vary depending on how much instant coffee or espresso powder used, the size of the cup, and brand of coffee. So be sure to do your research so you know exactly how much you are consuming!
Compared to instant coffee, instant espresso contains a richer and stronger taste in terms of baking needs. However, many don’t recommend using espresso powder as your daily dose of coffee because its taste is a lot less flavorful than a regular shot of espresso.
However, with instant coffee, its taste can vary depending on the quality of it. How to determine the quality of coffee then? The best instant coffee, as talked about in a previous blog, are those made with pure 100% Arabica beans and are freeze-dried rather than spray dried. These types of coffee have sweeter, rather than bitter, tones and the freeze-drying process help retain the flavors of the original coffee beans.
How and Where Each is Drank
Both instant coffee and instant espresso drinks are made the same way. As they both can dissolve easily in water, all you need to do is add a tablespoon (or more depending on your taste) to an 8-ounce cup of hot or cold water. Then stir until all the coffee granules have dissolved.
Instant coffee is drank all around the world and for various occasions depending on needs. It can be used as a person’s daily cup of joe (as it saves time in the mornings), during camping or outdoor activities while taken along in its small, one use packages even for the busiest person to make on-the-go.
Instant espresso powder is mostly used by bakers for chocolate-based dessert recipes to enhance flavor. It gives an extra and more complex type of flavor in baked goods while complimenting chocolate flavors. The taste of coffee usually does not make an appearance, as only a little is added.
While most don’t recommend using it as your everyday coffee, it can still be used to make your own espresso (even if it’s not as flavorful as a fresh one). If you have run out of your original daily coffee, instant espresso can be used to help give you your caffeine boost.
Espresso Powder vs. Cacao Powder
While both espresso powder and cacao powder are both concentrated in flavors and can be used in things like baking, they are completely different ingredients. One significant factor that they have in common is they both contain health benefits and antioxidants for the body.
Cacao powder is made by pressing raw, un-roasted cacao beans. This process removes the fat and butter in the bean and leaves behind the fibers and nutrients. It has a chocolate flavor, but is very rich and bitter since it is made from 100% cacao. Because of this, it is not consumed directly but used in things such as baking and smoothies.
Espresso powder, however, is coffee based rather than chocolate. It is not used in things like smoothies, but is used for baking to upgrade chocolate flavors (such as ones from cacao powder). It can also be made into a coffee drink for your caffeine fix.
Instant Espresso and Instant Coffee Recipe Examples
Various delicious desserts can be made with both instant coffee and espresso powder. Check out some easy sweet treats you can make with these two ingredients!
This sweet Italian dessert incorporates espresso powder to create a rich, chocolate flavor from the cake. While this cake might be a bit of work to make, here is a much simpler and easier recipe to replicate the idea and taste. It is called the Tiramisu Dip.
Coffee Bean Bark
This recipe is great for those who love a great chocolate bar. This particular recipe features instant coffee along with chocolate chips to create the perfect coffee and chocolate combination. Not only is this simple to make, it’s convenient to take around for a quick sweet treat as you go about your day.
For all the cheesecake lovers out there, this is for you. This delicious coffee cheesecake uses instant coffee for that coffee flavor kick with a chocolate crumb base. It can also be topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, perfect compliments to coffee.
Get your chocolate cake and fudge cravings fix with this brownie recipe. Using espresso powder, it brings out the chocolatey richness of this dessert and satisfies even those with the biggest sweet tooth.
All these sweet treats featured would be best paired with instant coffee, either plain for the sweetest desserts, or even with a bit of milk. Pair your sweet treat with Waka Coffee’s instant coffee! Made with 100% Colombian Arabica beans and freeze-dried for the best taste experience, it’s the best choice for your caffeine and baking needs.