Best Instant Coffee: Top 5 Brews Most Recommended by Expert Websites

When you wake up in the morning it can be hard enough to get out of bed and get ready for the day. Many of us barely have time to complete our morning routines and get out the door in time, let alone have time to brew a cup of coffee. That’s why so many people end up waiting in line for the best Starbucks drinks. Instant coffee can be a quick solution for your caffeine fix, only requiring hot water and a quick mix. The best instant coffee should still taste full-bodied and smooth, never sacrificing flavor for convenience.

There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning to a decadent-smelling cup of coffee. Coffee is a morning favorite  – not only does it give you a much needed boost of energy, it also tastes delicious and is a versatile beverage that can be made according to your preferences. Though coffee is an internationally recognized beverage, a survey by Reuters found that Americans alone are drinking a daily cup of coffee at the highest level in six years. 

Though we don’t recommend drinking more coffee than is suitable for you, a study by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute found that drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee each day (even decaf!) could help you live longer. The study reveals that two to three cups of any variety of coffee produced the best results in terms of heart health and improved longevity. Compared to people who don’t drink coffee, coffee drinkers experienced a 14, 27, and 11-percent lower risk of death from all causes after consuming decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.

Whether you drink decaf or live for the buzz, StudyFinds has a compiled a list of the best instant coffee, according to experts. Our list represents the products most commonly recommended across ten different websites. Don’t see your favorite listed here? Let us know the best instant coffee in the comments below!

The List: Best Instant Coffee, According to Pros

1. Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee

Grab your buzz without worrying about what you’re putting in your body. Mount Hagen’s freeze dried instant coffee is organic and fair trade, with high-quality beans that give this coffee a smooth flavor, without the bitter acidity that often comes with cheap instant coffee.

“Mount Hagen, which comes highly recommended by McAvoy, is the original creator of the world’s first organic instant coffee, and the brand is well-known for its quality products. The brand gets its name from where it sources its coffee beans — Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, home to full-bodied coffee beans,” writes LiveStrong.

Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Freeze Dried Instant Coffee

The jar is on the smaller side, making about 30 cups of 12 oz cups, but it is still the best in terms of quality and value, at about $12 for a jar.

“When coffee lovers hear the words “organic coffee” or “free/fair trade”, we assume that means it will be expensive,” writes Coffee or Bust. “But that’s not always the case! Mount Hagen was by far the winner in terms of the overall value. It tastes great and doesn’t break the bank.

2. Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

Starbucks is most well-known for their fresh cafe coffee, but this instant coffee is reminiscent of walking into one of their shops. For those who want the flavor without dealing with the crowd or commute, this is the option for you.

“The strong, pleasant, freshly brewed coffee aroma of this option smelled like walking into … well, a bustling Starbucks,” writes Good Housekeeping. “What’s more, the smooth, balanced cup looked and tasted as good as it smelled, with a dark chocolate color and toasted nut flavor.

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee—Dark Roast Coffee—Italian Roast
Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee—Dark Roast Coffee—Italian Roast

These ready-to-brew packets are all single serve, making them the perfect choice for travel or throwing in your purse to take to the office on the go.

“This Starbucks instant coffee pack is made from high-quality Arabica coffee beans and features a perfect blend of lightly roasted nuts and cocoa for a recognizable and smooth taste. It comes in a powdered form so you can simply pour it in with hot water, stir, and enjoy, no expensive coffee grinders required,” writes Miami Herald.

3. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Instant Coffee with Lion’s Mane

Ever tried mushroom coffee? Four Sigmatic is the most popular brand of this superfood coffee, and is an excellent choice for those who want a lower caffeine option for a smoother experience without the jitters.

“This Finnish-origin company chose this name because, as they explain, Four Sigmatic foods are the most nutrient-dense on the planet. Included in these 100 foods are mushrooms, called Chaga, which this patented mushroom coffee is made from,” writes The Spruce Eats.

Organic Instant Coffee Powder by Four Sigmatic
Organic Instant Coffee Powder by Four Sigmatic

Four Sigmatic carries 4 varieties of instant coffee filled with brain boosting ingredients: Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Adaptogen, and Mushroom Mocha. 

“The coffee is full-bodied and smooth, with no mushroom flavor, and a packet has about half the caffeine of a regular cup, so you get all of the enjoyment with no jitters or crash,” writes Food Network.

4. Café Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee

For those who want the convenience of instant coffee but are still a bit picky about how it tastes, Cafe Bustelo is a great option. This instant coffee is an espresso powder, meaning it will brew a strong, robust cup of coffee full of smooth flavor.

“If you can find a way to prepare it that you enjoy, we highly recommend this brand as far as instant coffees go,” writes Tasting Table. “It tastes beautifully rich and is robust enough to stand up to sweeteners and creamers, and lacks the oily texture and sour taste that plagues many instant coffees. Plus, Café Bustelo is a much cheaper option than daily Starbucks runs at around $0.50 per serving.” 

Café Bustelo Espresso Style Dark Roast Instant Coffee
Café Bustelo Espresso Style Dark Roast Instant Coffee

You can prepare this coffee as an affogato, latte, or cappuccino if you’re able to steam milk at home, or even with just a dash of heavy cream to smooth it out.

“Café Bustelo markets its non-instant coffee as “espresso coffee,” meaning that the beans are roasted and processed in the same style as espresso beans. As a result, Café Bustelo coffee is well-known for a deep, intense flavor and a powerful caffeine kick,” writes Allrecipes.

5. Waka Light Roast Instant Coffee

Looking for a healthier, lighter instant coffee? Waka makes their instant coffee with nothing but coffee beans, freeze-dried to preserve the flavor and aroma. There are no additives, preservatives, or sweeteners.

“Waka Light Roast Instant Coffee is made with 100% Arabica coffee beans from Ethiopia and has floral notes with hints of caramel and brown sugar. Editorial Assistant Gabby Romero liked how brightly flavored it was,” writes Delish.

Waka — Light Roast Instant Coffee — Ethiopian 100% Arabica Freeze Dried Beans
Waka — Light Roast Instant Coffee — Ethiopian 100% Arabica Freeze Dried Beans

Wake also recognizes that producing coffee and tea takes a significant amount of water, and donates to clean water initiatives in Africa, Asia, and South America.

“Not only is this coffee pleasant to look at, it offers many different flavors and roasts including the light roast, which has notes of florals, caramel and brown sugar. Instant coffee can also have some unsavory additives, but this one uses only freeze-dried beans, which makes for a delicious and clean cup,” writes Runner’s World.


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