What is More Affordable: Instant Coffee or Ground Coffee?
When you’re a serious coffee drinker, you have to consider the price of the coffee you’re buying. After all, coffee can get pretty expensive.
But, if you’re comparing instant coffee and ground coffee, which is more expensive? The answer might surprise you.
Considering the Costs of Instant Coffee and Ground Coffee
When you look at the two ways of drinking coffee, it’s hard not to consider how each is made. Of course, the method of production is key in determining price, but does it really affect price that much? Production isn’t just how the product itself is made, though. It’s also what materials are used, and how the coffee is being packaged.
Two Different Sources of Coffee
When you’re buying coffee, you’re going to be drinking either Robusta or Arabica coffee. In the past, instant coffee has been notorious for using Robusta as the plant of choice, which has led to a more bitter drink. Arabica is often far smoother, and is the coffee that most people prefer.
Things are changing, though. We here at Waka use nothing but Arabica beans. This drives the price of our instant coffees up a bit from the traditional producers, but the flavor is worth it. If you’re looking for the best instant coffee, you want coffee made with 100% Arabica beans, like ours is. And, while Arabica instant coffee is a little more expensive, it’s still not as expensive as whole beans, or even ground coffee.
Very Different Manufacturing Methods
Instant coffee and ground coffee are two completely different approaches to making coffee products. Ground coffee comes from roasting coffee beans, then grinding them and packaging them. For instant coffee, that’s not where the process ends.
Instant coffee continues on to brewing, then is evaporated and freeze-dried! This is the process that the best instant coffees follow, and it’s how we preserve all of the rich and complex flavors in our coffees. So, when comparing instant and ground coffee, the manufacturing process alone should make instant coffee cost more, right?
Well, not necessarily. Instant coffee can be made in huge batches when necessary. This means that more product can be made at any single given time, which greatly reduces the cost of production. The more you can make at a single given time, the less it’s going to cost.
Packaging Instant Coffee and Ground Coffee
What really sets cost apart in terms of instant and ground coffee is their packaging needs. Ground coffee is big and bulky, and it requires much larger containers. These larger containers need more materials to produce them, which increases the cost of ground coffee considerably.
The same cannot be said about instant coffee, especially when it’s being packaged in bulk. Instant coffee is lightweight and it is compact, meaning that packaging doesn’t need to be as robust. It’s also smaller overall, which means that less material is being used. This means that the packaging costs (as well as shipping costs) for instant coffee are much lower than that of ground coffee.
So What’s More Affordable?
While it may be obvious by this point, it still feels good to say it. Instant coffee is far more affordable for coffee lovers. A cup of Waka instant coffee, when purchased in bulk, is around fifty cents. A cup of premium ground coffee can cost about sixty cents to a dollar, and even more while accounting for other costs like the filter, machine maintenance and repair. The overall cost of producing and delivering instant coffee is less than that of ground coffee. That’s not to mention that the same weight of instant coffee can produce nearly 10 times the amount of coffee that ground coffee can.
But the overall cost of instant coffee isn’t just applied to the cost of the product itself. Though, we must admit, instant coffee is winning in spades already. We’ve only really explained how instant coffee is more affordable as a product itself. Let’s look at the other costs that coffee drinkers need to consider.
Instant Coffee Only Needs Boiling Water
When you’re trying to make the best, affordable cup of instant coffee, you only need boiling water. Arguably, boiling water only requires a stove and a pot, which most people already have. It’s as simple as that! You could even accomplish it with just a microwave (but please don’t, boiling water is so much better).
For ground coffee, you have to have a coffee maker of some sort. No matter how you’re brewing your ground coffee, a separate brewing device is necessary. You either need a coffee pot, a French press, or a pour over coffee maker. This is an additional cost, which adds to how much each cup of coffee is going to cost you.
Instant Coffee Takes Less Time
The old adage goes that time is money. If that’s the case, then instant coffee costs almost nothing in terms of time. When you make instant coffee, the most time you’ll need is to make a pot of boiling water. This can be achieved in just a few minutes. When you don’t have a lot of time, this makes instant coffee invaluable. You’ll wait longer for your coffee to cool than you waited for it to brew!
Ground coffee is going to take some time to brew. The fastest methods are the pour over and the French press. These, still, can’t be rushed, if you’re doing them properly. If you’ve already got the boiling water, why not save time with instant coffee? It’s so much faster! Don’t get us started on a traditional coffee maker. That takes ages compared to instant coffee.
When it Comes to Affordability, Instant Can’t be Beat
While the instant coffee of the past was more affordable, it sacrificed quality. Modern instant coffee doesn’t make you choose between affordability and the best cup of coffee. When you buy high quality instant coffee these days, you get a great cup of coffee that’s cheaper than ground coffee any day.