Instant Coffee vs. Turkish Coffee

Since instant coffee and Turkish coffee are both made without any form of filtration or coffeemakers you can notice the similarities, but the two drinks are actually quite different.

What is Instant Coffee?

instant coffee or ground coffee

Instant coffee is a form of coffee that can be made in seconds by dissolving coffee granules with hot water. Instant coffee is made by slowly drying brewed coffee into dehydrated granules, which still contain the oils, flavors, and fragrances of the coffee, but without the liquids. 

The granules are later dissolved in hot or cold water to create a coffee drink that is comparable to regular, brewed coffee. Although the flavor can be more mild, since it is made from already brewed coffee, its efficiency and convenience is what makes instant coffee so popular. 

Instant coffee is said to have originated in the 1700s in England, when John Dring patented a “coffee compound,” which dissolved upon contact with water. Although the success of this product is not documented, the concept later grew into the instant coffee product. 

What is Turkish Coffee?

how instant turkish coffee is made

Turkish coffee is a type of coffee that is made by combining water with very finely ground coffee. Since the coffee grounds are extremely small, they are not filtered out of the drink, but rather consumed with the coffee. Since the grounds are part of the drink, Turkish coffee has a much stronger taste than regular brewed coffee. 

As the name asserts Turkish coffee is in fact from Turkey, and its conception in the Middle Eastern dates back to the Ottoman empire.  

Although there is no written documentation of the first person to drink coffee in the Middle East, one source says that it was discovered in Yemen. From Yemen, the coffee was brought to Turkey by the Ottoman ruler of Yemen, Ozdemir Pasha, in 1521. While Pasha was the ruler of Yemen, the Sultan of the Ottoman empire at the time was Suleiman the Magnificent. Pasha wanted to find a way to impress the Sultan, so he sought to do this by learning the art of making coffee. 

At this point in time, coffee was prevalent in Arabia, Persia, and other Middle Eastern empires, but it was still an expensive, novelty drink that hadn’t yet made its way to most of the world. 

After seeing Pasha making the rare and expensive coffee, the sultan was immediately impressed with the drink. He later established the first coffeehouse in Istanbul with the help of two merchants from Damascus, Syria in 1555. From then on, more and more coffee houses began popping up in the Ottoman empire, and the popular drink eventually spread out of the region to other empires and countries. 

How Turkish Coffee is Made

ground coffee or instant coffee

What makes Turkish coffee so unique in comparison to all other coffees, including instant coffee, is how it is made and how it is consumed. 

Classic Turkish coffee is made by roasting Arabica coffee beans to a medium roast. After the beans are roasted, they are ground in hand mills into very small particles, about 75-125 microns large.  

The coffee grounds are then added to a traditional porcelain or steel Turkish coffee pot, along with water, sugar, and milk. The mixture is then boiled in the pot, twice, so that it can fully incorporate, become foamy, and achieve maximum flavor. 

The resulting coffee is served without straining the coffee grounds. It is milky, bold, bubbly, and piping hot. 

Taste: Instant vs. Turkish Coffee

Turkish and instant coffee are often compared to each other since no coffee grounds are strained during the process of making either type of coffee. However, since the two are clearly different, they have very different tastes. 

Instant coffee is essentially regular, brewed coffee that is made through a different process. To the average person, the taste of brewed and instant coffee do not differ much, as long as the instant coffee is of high quality. If the instant coffee is not high quality, it can taste more stale or less flavorful, but the general texture, appearance, and flavor of the two stay the same. 

In contrast, Turkish coffee is made through a completely different process which results in a uniquely flavored and textured coffee drink. Since it is more concentrated than brewed or instant coffee, it tastes a lot stronger. Along with this, the presence of actual coffee grounds in the drink make the flavor very strong, almost like espresso. 

Turkish coffee is also boiled twice, and has a thicker, foamier texture than instant coffee does. It can be sweetened with sugar or diluted with milk, and while the overall coffee flavor is stronger, Turkish coffee has less of a charred, smoky, flavor than instant or brewed coffee have. 

Caffeine Content: Instant vs Turkish Coffee

the difference between instant coffee and ground coffee

Turkish coffee, along with having a stronger flavor, also has a much higher caffeine content than instant coffee does. Turkish coffee is usually served in small, concentrated, servings (2 ounce cups), so its caffeine level is comparable to that of espresso. In contrast, Instant coffee is served in larger, more diluted servings, (8-10 ounces), so it tastes far less strong and also has less caffeine in one serving. 

Additionally, the individual coffees also vary in the level of caffeine per fluid ounce of drink, since Turkish coffee is made differently. Turkish coffee is often consumed with the coffee grounds in it, so its caffeine content per fluid ounce is much higher than that of instant coffee. While instant coffee usually contains about 7 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce, Turkish coffee contains about 25 milligrams of caffeine per fluid ounce. 

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