How is Instant Coffee Made

How is instant coffee made is a question often asked by people who are intrigued to see these coffee crystals in place of coffee beans. Instant coffee is the name of the coffee powder sold commercially and also the beverage obtained from this powder. Instant coffee is as common as coffee beans today though it has been in existence for a little over a century only. For all such people who have an interest in coffee, it suffices to say that instant coffee is not adulterated or some synthetic coffee but pure coffee in dried form. 

Instant Coffee – Facts

Instant coffee is dry coffee powder

It goes to the credit of George Constant Washington to develop the world’s first commercially successful method to make instant coffee. He was a British chemist who marketed instant coffee under the brand name of Red E Coffee. Instant coffee is also called soluble coffee. It is made by roasting and grounding coffee beans. After brewing coffee, all its water is removed to make it dry and crystalline so as to stay this way inside a glass or plastic bottle. Removal of water from ground coffee is done by two methods that are as follows.

How is Instant Coffee Made

How is Instant Coffee Made – Methods

Freeze drying

In this method, ground coffee is first made to sit to lose water naturally through evaporation. Afterwards, the concentrated solution of coffee is frozen in a temperature that is roughly minus 40 degrees Celsius. All the water that remains in coffee freezes in the form of ice crystals. These crystals are removed from the coffee through a process called sublimation to leave behind dry coffee grains.

How is Instant Coffee Made 02

Spray drying

In this method, coffee solution is sprayed inside a large chamber where hot air is circulating. Very high temperature inside the chamber causes the falling droplets of coffee solution to lose their water content through evaporation. Dry crystals of coffee fall inside the chamber and they are easily collected afterwards. Some people believe that because of the use of high temperatures in spray drying, there is some dilution of the natural aroma and flavor of the coffee.

It is the freeze drying method that is more popular among the companies as it is believed to do less damage to the natural aroma of the coffee beans. In many cases, companies resort to adding aromatic compounds to restore the original flavor and aroma in instant coffee that is obtained after drying.

There has been much improvement in the quality of instant coffee products being sold around the world since the time it was first introduced at the turn of the last century. There was a time when people were put off to see the crystals not dissolving into hot water easily. This meant that lumps of granules kept floating at the top of the coffee. There was also the problem of loss of the natural aroma of coffee after opening the jar. Both these problems have now been taken care of with manufacturers employing treatment methods to make sure that the dried coffee crystals dissolve in water easily andalso retain the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

The convenience with which one can make a cup of coffee using instant coffee is what makes it so popular across the world among coffee lovers.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Instant coffee by Editor at Large (CC BY-SA 2.5)

About the Author: admin

Leave a Reply