Espresso Powder vs. Instant Coffee: Which is Better?

Espresso
Does espresso powder make good coffee?

When we wake up feeling groggy, desperately needing the energy to function, brewed coffee comes to our rescue. It’s tasty, easy to make, and enables us to power through the day without falling asleep during our Zoom meetings.

But, not all powdered coffee is created equal. So, what is the difference between espresso powder and instant coffee?

Grab your cup of joe, and let’s find out.

What are Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee?

Most people think of espresso powder and instant coffee as the same thing, but it’s not. Espresso first appeared in Italy around the 2nd century while instant coffee was invented in 1881 and became popular in the U.S after World War 2.

Espresso Powder

espresso powder
Espresso powder

Espresso powder, occasionally called espresso crystals, is a concentrated form of dried espresso beans. When the espresso is brewed and completely dried out, it’s ground into a fine powder. 

Espresso powder is mainly used for baking, but some do make coffee from it. It’s a popular choice for bakers because it’s intense flavor enhances the chocolate flavor in chocolate cakes, biscuits, and brownies.

Instant Coffee

Instant Coffee
Instant coffee

Instant coffee is ground coffee beans that magically turns into a cup of coffee when mixed with water. To manufacture instant coffee granules, raw beans are roasted at 200 degrees while they’re stirred constantly to avoid burning.

The roasted beans are then put in an industrial mill, where they’re grounded into a fine powder. The coffee powder is then steamed and pressurized until it comes out like an extract.

Lastly, this extract is frozen solid, then left to cool down at room temperature, and it’s packaged and shipped off where it can be sold. Now that we know what espresso powder and instant coffee are let’s see what beans they’re made from.

What Beans Are They Made From?

The two main types of coffee beans used for both instant and espresso are Arabica and Robusta.

Arabica

The Arabica bean is mostly grown in South America and is more expensive than the Robusta bean because they are harder to grow, more vulnerable to pests, and produce far fewer beans.

It’s known to have more flavor, often having sweet, fruitful, and berry tones. The Arabica bean also contains less caffeine.

Robusta

The Robusta bean is grown in the eastern hemisphere, mainly Indonesian and Africa. It’s easy to grow since the plant can resist weather changes and pests, making it stronger than the Arabica plant.

It contains twice as much caffeine as the Arabica bean, which is great for people who want a boost in the morning. However, it’s harsher and often has a more bitter aftertaste.

What are the Differences Between Instant Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee?

Espresso powder is a concentrated form of coffee, often being a dark and richer roast. It isn’t recommended to use espresso powder for your daily cup of joe since it’s quite strong and doesn’t contain much flavor.

Almost everyone uses instant coffee to help them get through the day, while bakers mainly use espresso powder to enhance chocolate desserts’ flavor.

Espresso powder contains more caffeine than instant coffee. Your typical 8-ounce cup of mud contains around 60-70 mg of caffeine. Espresso powder is made from already ground beans, so it contains the same amount of caffeine as a shot of espresso, 63 grams of caffeine per 1-2 ounces.

Instant coffee is cheaper than espresso powder since it’s mainly made with Robusta beans, which are easier to grow and produce more fruit. Espresso powder is mainly made from Arabica beans, which are harder to grow, making it more expensive.

Now that we know the differences between instant coffee and espresso powder let’s see what they have in common.

What are the Similarities Between Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee?

Firstly, they’re both made the same way. You don’t need an espresso machine if you want to make espresso-powdered coffee.

Add water to your espresso powder or instant coffee, and voila. You’ve got yourself a good cup of joe.

They both can be made from Arabica or Robusta beans. Generally, instant coffee is made from Robusta beans, and espresso powder is made from Arabica, but you can find instant coffee made from Arabica and espresso powder made from Robusta.

Espresso powder goes through the same freeze-dry manufacturing process as instant coffee. Although espresso powder is better for baking, it’s not easy to find and is often expensive.

Instant coffee also works great if you’re making chocolate desserts.

Which is Better?

If you’re looking for something to give you energy and doesn’t cost much, instant coffee is the way to go. It contains decent amounts of caffeine, and it tastes amazing.

If you’re someone who drinks lots of caffeine and doesn’t care about price or taste, try experimenting with espresso powder. It contains the same amount of caffeine as a shot of espresso, but it’s more convenient since you don’t need to buy an espresso machine. 

Espresso powder works wonders at adding some extra flavor to chocolate desserts. If you love making chocolate desserts for your friends and family and want to go the extra mile and impress them, consider using espresso powder.

The Final Word on Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee

When you wake up feeling groggy and tired, you’ll realize that nothing beats regular instant coffee. Its caffeine content gives you that boost you desperately need while being easy to prepare.

No need to wait for an espresso machine to make your coffee. Simply add some coffee with hot water, and you’re off to an awesome day.