instant vs filter coffee

Instant vs Filter Coffee – The Why, The When and The How

Instant vs Filter Coffee – The Why, The When and The How

I can already feel I’ve rubbed some readers up the wrong way, but hear me out. Coffee is an acquired taste, and even thought the popularity of this drink has grown exponentially over the past decade, there are still more personal tastes to the drink than you could imagine.

Coffee purists (sometimes also known as coffee snobs) are always going to hold their personal taste in the highest regard. They like their coffee pure, piping hot and unadulterated with sugar and milk. They appreciate the complexity of the flavours each type of coffee bean and blend can produce.

Then we have the “new age” coffee drinkers – those who have a Keurig or Nespresso neatly placed in a pride position in their modern and self-automated kitchens (not taking a dig at you, kind jealous here actually). They enjoy the freedom of single-serve machines, which they can choose to drink for each time. It’s a relatively cheap way to get your fix, and it looks really cool.

Then we have the yuppies – the guys who stand in line at Starbucks every single morning, without fail, to get their misspelled name printed on a cup of the fanciest, most sugar-crammed coffee drink you could imagine. The reason I say coffee drink is that unless you’;re ordering a conventional coffee, a cappuccino or maybe even a latte – the amount of actual coffee added to your drink is far outweighed by the other flavours and additives. That being said – it suits the palette’s of those who don’t really enjoy coffee – but prefer a nicely flavoured warm drink – a perfect solution in the morning.

We also have some other uncategorised types of coffee drinkers; those who enjoy instant coffee (likely people who also don’t enjoy a strong coffee flavour, but still want a pick-me-up).

We then have filter coffee drinkers, who love the flavour and aroma of coffee without the frills and fuss – but with a bit less of a kick than a Ristretto or an espresso.

We’re going to chat about these last two groups of people – and why they choose what they choose as their drink of choice.

Instant Coffee Drinkers

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Instant coffee, at it’s root, is pre-ground coffee beans that have been made into a coffee solution, and then undergo either a drying or a chemical process to remove the water and further dry up the coffee itself into granulated pieces.

Now, instant coffee is well priced and suits the tastes of the majority of people. Which is likely the reason it has succeeded so well this far. Think back to adverts of instant coffee – like Maxwell House coffee. Nowadays, you can buy instant coffee in a variety of pre-flavoured types, some ranges are available in decaf, others with a stronger or weaker aroma – and others even come with pre-mixed coffee creamer – eliminating the need to buy that as an added extra.

Instant coffee is also a good solution to those who enjoy coffee – but have pre-disposed risks that would be drastically worsened if they were to drink pure coffee. Think of hypertension, heart problems, lactose intolerance (exacerbated by drinking “proper” coffee drinks as caffeine stimulates the bowels, as does milk in cappuccino’s and latte’s).

Filter Coffee Drinkers

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Filter Coffee has been around for about as long as instant coffee has – probably even a little longer. Filter coffee is the most basic of the “fresh” coffee drinks; it makes use of coffee beans which have been ground up into a certain consistency – either on the spot or bought pre-packaged.

These grounds are added to a paper filter, and piping hot water is allowed to seep through the coffee and filter and allow for a gravitationally-influenced extraction of plain, pure coffee.

While the taste is also acquired – it can be altered in two main ways.
The first way is to adjust your coffee grounds size – either by making the grinds bigger or coarser – to allow for a less bitter extraction of coffee.

Using smaller grounds allows the coffee to be in contact with the hot water for longer, and more surface are is exposed – meaning a stronger and possibly more bitter coffee extraction.

Secondly, you can alter the flavour by adding sugar, milk and flavoured syrups to your coffee.

Why do so many people enjoy filter coffee so much, though? Well, it tastes a lot different – almost more “authentic” than filter coffee – because it is worlds apart in terms of freshness. Brewing a pot of filter coffee takes as little as 5 minutes – and you’re left with a pot catering for up to 12 cups before needing to brew a fresh pot.

Just ask Dave Grohl how he likes his coffee!

So, if you’re still undecided how you like your coffee, I would suggest comparing instant coffee and filter coffee side-by-side as a starting point. From there, you can ascertain of you prefer a stronger taste, a weaker taste, creamier, sweeter, more bitter – of if you don’t really even like coffee at all. (That won’t happen, don’t you worry!)

Happy sipping!

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