I’ve noticed lately that instant coffee is making a comeback. I believe the last time I had dared myself to make a cup of instant was at a hotel. I was tempted to go to the nearest coffee shop instead, but I was desperate. In the end, it was uninspiring.
But times have changed, so they are saying, and instant coffee is really good now. It’s about time I test the waters – but not before doing some homework.
In a nutshell, instant coffee is water-soluble powder or crystals extracted from ground coffee beans. It is said to have been first discovered in Britain in 1771. It has a long shelf life and there’s no fuss to make it – no grounds to measure, no pods, no machines, no percolators. Add hot (or cold) water to a tablespoon of instant, and it's ready to savor – even if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Early generations of instant coffee were pretty tasteless and stripped of caffeine – the power of the coffee bean that we junkies crave. Instant coffee was also mass-produced, which explains its unfortunate lack of quality. Boutique coffee meisters had the Aha! moment to make smaller batches in order to maintain higher quality and better tasting instant coffee.
My next step is to go in search of instants made with the care and precision of specialty coffees.
I can barely contain myself.