Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee | What’s the Difference?

Coffee is one of the most beloved drinks around the world. However, with some many different types of coffee out there, we all drink it differently. Some of us like lattes, others like it black. Some coffee drinkers even drink instant coffee. 

The most popular kind of coffee today are instant coffee and ground coffee, yet so many of us do not know the differences between these two types! Today we’re going to share everything to know about instant coffee vs ground coffee!

Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee | What's the Difference?

What is Instant Coffee?

Unlike ground coffee, instant coffee is made from dried coffee extract. This manufacturering process is when someone took brewed coffee and then transferred it into coffee power or even coffee crystals. This involves a water extraction technique that has been perfected over time.

Instant coffee also doesn’t usually come in giant packs like ground coffee does. Instant coffee usually just comes in single packets for use. They are always seen at home and in offices and are known for being incredibly useful and quick.They are so convenient, and people enjoy having the access to their coffee on the go or traveling.!

Instant coffee can either be freeze dried or spray dried. Freeze dried coffee usually comes out in crystals or granules. The granules must be dried at lower temperatures to make sure the coffee comes out the proper way. This can be added to jars with dried creamer or sugar as well!

Instant Coffee

Spray drying your coffee can result in a fine powder and can also be combined with dried cream or sugar. One of the best features of instant coffee is its price. It happens to be cheaper and has a much longer shelf-life, allowing you to have a quick cup of coffee whenever you want it!

Where Did Instant Coffee Come From?

Instant coffee has a long history. The first cup of instant coffee was made back in 1771. Mark Pendergast reported on this historic event in his book, The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. This was nearly two centuries after it was introduced in Europe, and Britain granted a patent for the coffee substance.

Back in the 19th century, instant coffee was known as Camp Coffee in Glasgow. This was a liquid that was basically water, sugar, coffee essence, and chicory. It would begin to be a retail hit in the middle of the century. 

America would also have their own version of instant coffee during the Civil War. Soldiers would rely on this to keep them awake and increase their energy. Folgers would begin as a company of brothers in the 1800s in San Francisco. They would begin with ground coffee and also begin to experiment with instant coffee, thus creating the tradition on American soil.

As you can see, instant coffee is not a new idea. It has been around for centuries but has adapted to the capacity that it is today to serve the local markets, and to fulfill your need for caffeine in a quick and convenient way!

What is Ground Coffee?

Unlike instant coffee, ground coffee comes right from the whole coffee beans. The only difference between the ground coffee and the coffee beans is the grinding process. This allows for people to create medium to very fine coffee grinds depending on their preference.

Did you know that you can also go to your local Starbucks and ask them to grind the coffee beans for you? Check out our full guide explaining more here!.

Coffee maker

Depending on your favorite coffee drink and it’s brewing method, you can choose to have a fine grind to make espresso, or you can have coarse for cold brew. The grinding process adds to the taste and how the cup turns out after brewing.

Ground coffee is found usually in the grocery stores and around the supermarkets. It is incredibly popular and has been for many decades. People can buy ground coffee and make their favorite cup at home in coffee makers, or they can go to a coffee shop and buy a cup of their own ground coffee brewed into a cup!

ground coffee

To retain freshness, people end up grinding up the whole beans to make it fresher. The best way to enjoy coffee is to grind coffee close to when you consume it, but people do not have this luxury with their busy daily lives. That’s why so many people end up turning to ground coffee and preset brews for their mornings.

How to Brew Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee

There are differences in how people brew coffee, especially if they have instant coffee or ground coffee. Instant coffee is easy. All you have to do is put in your coffee powder, add water, stir, and then enjoy your cup of hot fresh coffee! 

It depends on the brand, but most water is applicable for instant coffee. Be sure to check your label before you add just any water to your coffee! The water temperature does matter since you can’t use cold water.

Ground coffee beans can be more complicated and take more time to brew. Unlike instant coffee, you can’t just pour hot water into the cup. It won’t taste good, and you must brew it in a particular manner. 

You can choose from several different methods: French press, percolated, AeroPress, espresso machine, or even a pour over. It depends on the type of coffee you want, and these methods vary in the length of time that it takes to properly brew the perfect cup of coffee.


How Does the Taste Differ?

On main difference that’s noticeable to coffee lovers is the taste! There is a different taste for instant coffee and ground coffee. Instant coffee can have a lighter flavor. After all, it is dried brewed coffee, and it only has so much flavor from the original substance!

Ground coffee might have a different taste because of the quality of the beans and the fact that it is brewed for the first time. This can be more robust, more flavorful, and even have a stronger aroma. People will notice the difference between a cup of brewed coffee and a cup of instant coffee.

One thing does stay the same: you will be able to notice that it is coffee, even if you end up with a lighter taste like the instant coffee. 

What is the Caffeine Content?

Surprisingly, there is different caffeine levels for both instant coffee and regular coffee. In a cup of instant coffee, you will end up with less caffeine. In an eight-ounce cup of coffee, you will end up with 62 milligrams of caffeine per cup. This is much less than the brewed cup of coffee.

Brewed coffee has a higher caffeine content, which is to be expected. This is because this retains more and is only brewed one more time. One eight-ounce cup of coffee ends up having an average of 96 mg of caffeine. However, this can differ depending in the type of coffee beans used and the brewing process. 

With any sort of coffee, you need to check the label and see what the exact amount of caffeine is. Each brand and cup of coffee is different, and these are merely just averages. For a more accurate assessment, check your label and see how much of a caffeine boost your cup of coffee provides you.

The Health Benefits of Instant Coffee Vs. Ground Coffee

There might be a difference in flavor, but you won’t be lacking any of the nutritional value. Both instant coffee and ground coffee have the same level of antioxidants. Some people might speculate that instant coffee is not as healthy for you, but this is not true.

ground coffee

In fact, there are several changes happening now. Instant coffee is becoming more regulated and manufactured with more care. Now, you can end up buying organic instant coffee, Arabica beans, and more. There are so many changes that are allowing instant coffee to be just as diverse and healthy as fresh ground coffee.

Differences in Cost?

The truth of the matter is that instant coffee will be cheaper than your ground coffee habits. Instant coffee will not be lacking in the health benefits, but you might be paying less to have less caffeine. 

If you are used to the potency of an ordinary cup of coffee, you need to weigh your options with instant coffee and ground coffee.

cup of coffee

Which Produces More Waste?

As one might expect, instant coffee is much simpler and without the waste. The only thing you must throw away is the packet that it came in! This makes it simple and an easy clean-up for both work and home. 

Ground coffee can be much more of a clean-up. Anyone who brews coffee at home knows the process of cleaning up the coffee maker after a freshly brewed cup. You must clean out the coffee grounds, throw them away, and then make sure that your coffee machine is ready for the next day. It is much more waste than instant coffee.


The choice between instant coffee and ground coffee is yours! Many people enjoy the ritual of making a cup of coffee, while other want the speediness of creating a cup of instant coffee. 

No matter what you choose, you will receive the same benefits and have most of the same robust flavor that you love, every time you make a cup. 

Now that you know the difference between instant coffee vs ground coffee check out the 6 best light roast coffee types!!

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

2 thoughts on “Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee | What’s the Difference?”

  1. I am a coffee lover. I prefer to brew, but will use instant when necessary. I am always looking for the best coffee. Thanks for the information.


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