What Makes Instant Coffee Premium?
If you landed here, you were probably comparing and trying various types of instant coffees. This is how to find the best premium instant coffee option.
You are on the look for the best premium instant coffee out there and have no more time for trying the wrong products. If this is you, read on.
Unlike the traditional grocery store instant coffee, Waka Coffee is a premium instant coffee sold directly to consumers online. We believe that in order for us to provide you the most quality instant coffee, support our social goal, and keep our products as affordable as we can, we must communicate with you directly. This is exactly why we are going to tell you what makes our instant coffee so special.
The Beans: Only Arabica
While there are over than 120 different species of coffee identified, only 2 types are grown in quantities sufficient for commercial production - Arabica and Robusta. Arabica makes up most of the coffee used by speciality coffee roasters and coffee shops while Robusta is commonly used in coffee syrups for manufacturing coffee-flavored products as well as by traditional instant coffee brands. Robusta is also mixed into coffee blends to give a caffeine kick.
The difference between Arabica and Robusta coffee
Robusta can grow in lower altitudes, higher temperatures, and it's more resistant to disease. This what makes growing Robusta beans cheaper compared to the more superior Arabica beans. The World Atlas of Coffee describes Robusta beans as “woody, burnt-rubber quality in the cup. It usually has very little acidity, but will have a heavy body mouthfeel.”
Robusta makes up to about 40 percent of the coffee processed each year and has more caffeine than Arabica. Twice the amount to be exact! According to the website Coffee Chemistry, robusta bean is 2.2% caffeine, while an Arabica bean is 1.2% caffeine. Robusta is used in espresso blends and other coffees that claim to be the strongest caffeinated coffees.
Arabica beans are the fruits of the Coffea arabica plant and were first discovered in Ethiopia. It was said to have been discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed one day that his goats were so full of energy that they did not want to go to sleep at night after eating coffee beans.
Kaldi tried the beans himself and was also full of energy, so he decided to share it with his friends. The name of the fruit is originated in the way it was spread from Ethiopia to present-day Yemen and lower Arabia. In addition, the first record of roasting Arabica beans comes from Arab scholars. There are many varieties to Arabica and they depend on the origin of the beans. "Typica" is considered to be the original Arabica variety which from all other have mutated from. Arabica beans are usually sweeter and have a taste that can remind you of chocolate, fruit or berries. They have a more pleasant acidity, and a little to no bitterness.
To give you an example of how professional Q-graders (coffee reviewers) describe Arabica beans, here is a review of our Arabica instant coffee as published by Coffee Review: "Caramel-toned, richly sweet. Dark caramel, magnolia-like flowers, cedar, baker’s chocolate, a hint of apricot in aroma and cup. Sweet-toned in structure with brisk acidity; smooth mouthfeel. The finish is crisply sweet and resonant, with lingering notes of caramel and apricot."
Waka Coffee, quality instant coffee, includes only 100% Arabica beans instant coffee. Pure Arabica without any additives or Robusta blends. This what gives our instant coffee its premium taste and why we were named top instant coffee brand by numerous publications.
The Origin: Colombia's Finest
While there are many different stories about the coffee origins in Colombia, it is believed that Coffee was first introduced to the country in 1723 by the Jesuits. It became a more significant agricultural industry only by the end of the 19th century. By 1912, coffee was about 50 percent of the Colombian exports and these days, Colombia is the third biggest coffee producer in the world. Colombia’s coffee is generally seen as some of the best in the world thanks to the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia).
The organization ensures the beans and coffee processing are always of the highest quality. Colombia is known as the Land of Coffee due to its unique geography, climate, favorable temperature, and speciality in growing high quality Arabica beans. Most Colombian coffee growers maintain small, family-owned farms. Small-scale farming ensures careful attention is paid to the coffee throughout the growing and processing phases, which gives the beans their distinct, delicious taste.
Why Colombian instant coffee is the best
The Colombian climate, perfect soil and the exact right amount of rainfall allows the Colombian coffee to be one of its kind. Colombian coffee is also grown at higher altitudes (between 3,280 and 5,900 foot), which makes the coffee beans to grow more slowly and therefore have more time to develop complex sugars, yielding deeper and compelling flavors.
Colombia, with its perfect terrain and climate is also known as one of the only countries in the world that produces only 100% Arabica beans, which makes it an “Arabica coffee specialist.” In addition, majority of Colombian coffee growers are still hand picking the coffee beans one-by-one, making sure that only the most ripe beans are collected for your perfect cup of joe.
The Process: Choosing Freeze Drying
We all know by now that instant coffee is made from coffee! The coffee beans used to make instant coffee have been roasted and ground. Then, the ground beans are brewed with hot water just like you would brew your drip coffee. From there on, there are two methods of creating your instant cup of joe.
The difference between freeze drying and spray drying
Coffee processed by the spray-drying method is sprayed into a stream of hot air from the top of a tall cylindrical structure (similar to those used to keep grains and flour). As the small amount of extracted coffee liquid drops down it becomes the dry fine instant coffee powder you are familiar with. Spray-drying is the most common way used by traditional instant coffee brands. This fast and cheaper process sacrifices the taste for speed and cost. The heat applied during this process is what's causing you to taste a burnt flavor when drinking traditional instant coffee.
In 1964, a new and revolutionary method was created. Instead of applying heat to extract the liquid from the beans, now you could use the freeze-drying method to do so. Freeze-drying in essential is the production of quality instant coffee. First, the coffee beans are roasted and grounded like in the other method. Then, the grounded beans are dissolved in water and brewed into a very concentrated liquid.
After filtration, the coffee liquid is then frozen to about -50 degrees celsius at a very thin layer. It is then broken into smaller pieces and placed into a freeze dryer. The product that comes out is the beloved instant coffee crystals that you see in Waka Coffee's coffee. The freeze drying process maintains the flavor and smell of fresh coffee with the convenience of instant.
The Cause: Access to Clean Water
We believe that a premium product should also have a premium cause. Our mission is to bring the instant back and make coffee more accessible to people around the world. While doing so, we also believe in giving back water to places where clean and safe drinking water is a scare.
Why giving water
According to charity: water, 663 million people in the world live without clean water. It is twice the population of the United States! The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family.
Walking to get water keep children out of school, takes up time that parents could be using to earn money, and creates gender inequality. In addition, dirty water often carries diseases that can cause to illness and even mortality. Our instant coffee brand is supporting charity: water, which brings clean and safe drinking water to 26 communities around the world. When you add water into your cup of joe, you also donate water to others as we give a percentage of our proceeds for this exact cause.