Are Coffee Pods Instant Coffee? Answered

Both give you a cup of coffee in a blink of an eye but are they the same? The question is, are coffee pods instant coffee? Learn more in this article.

Are coffee pods instant coffee?
Coffee pods and instant coffee aim to give you a fresh cup without further preparations

A fellow coffee lover gave me an earful a few years ago about whether or not coffee pods are instant coffee. Surely if it comes in a package, it makes you a cup in under a minute; therefore, it’s instant?

However, many coffee lovers argue that they are not the same. This article will detail why coffee pods are not instant coffee.

Instant Is Not The Same As Quick

Coffee pods and instant coffee aim to give you a fresh cup without further preparations. All you need is a mug, a spoon, and hot water, or in the pod’s case, a Keurig or Nespresso machine, and you have a hot beverage in a minute or so. 

When you say ‘instant’ in the world of coffee, it’s that packed beverage manufactured by the biggest conglomerates in the world.

Powdered Coffees Are Brewed And Dried

Instant coffee, also known as powdered coffee, is made from coffee beans that were roasted, grounded, and brewed. Either spray-drying or freeze-drying then extracts the water. The finished product is the coffee powders you see in instant coffee packets. 

Brewing an instant coffee is, as the name suggests, instantaneous. You open the packet, add the powder and hot water into your mug, stir the mixture, and you have yourself an instant cup of Joe to enjoy.

While there are several variants of instant coffee to enjoy, you can also develop clever ways to make your instant coffee taste better!

Coffee Pods Are Grounds

Are coffee pods instant coffee?
One great thing about the pod is that you can try different flavors

In contrast, a coffee pod is a single-serve beverage with coffee grounds instead of the dry crystals that instant coffees have. The coffee pod has a plastic or aluminum container shaped like a cup or dome. Their prominent manufacturers, Keurig and Nespresso, offer various flavors compared to instant coffees.

The coffee pod is more intricate as it requires either a Keurig or a Nespresso machine when it comes to brewing. The Keurig punctures the pod’s top and bottom part, allowing the hot water to flow into your cup; Nespresso has different methods depending on what line of machine you have. You can learn more about this by reading how these Nespresso pods work!

One great thing about the pod is that you can try different flavors. Where else would you find a Coconut Macaroon or Vanilla Pumpkin Pie flavored coffee? Of course, experimenting with instant coffee is always welcome, but you might risk diluting the beverage’s flavor without thorough research.

You might also find our explainer on are all coffee pods the same size helpful.

History Of Coffee Pods And Instant Coffee

The idea of instant coffee was conceptualized during the American Civil War but was only patented and commercially distributed in 1890 by David Strang, sold under the trade name Strang’s Coffee. It was once considered a high-end product, explaining why the older generations still prefer this option as their go-to cup of Joe.

On the other hand, the concept for the coffee pod was conceived 85 years later when the Swiss inventor Eric Favre noticed that the key to making a great cup of espresso is through the barista’s method of pumping the piston of the machine at several short intervals. It wasn’t until 1986 that Nespresso capsules were marketed worldwide.

Most recently, Keurig and Nespresso have been leaning towards being more eco-friendly, releasing new sets of fully recyclable coffee pods.

Instant Coffee Vs. Coffee Pods

Instant Coffee Vs. Coffee Pods
Consumers are now anticipating switching from instant coffee to coffee pods or capsules

This isn’t to convince you to switch from instant coffee to coffee pod or vice-versa.

In North America and Western Europe, consumers are now anticipating switching from instant coffee to coffee pods or capsules. It’s considered a more premium option in terms of quality and flavor since the number of younger consumers has increased.

Does this mean that coffee pods are better than instant coffee? Not exactly. There are times when I prefer the instant option if I need a quick cup, but I go for a coffee pod if I want to try something new.


  • Renz Paguio

    Renz has been working as a professional writer for several years. His love for java originated from sidewalk vendors offering cheap 3-in-1 instant coffees poured in styrofoam cups and has grown from there. If he’s not in a studio or an event venue, you’ll find Renz crafting his cold brew or sharing his experiences with fellow coffee lovers.