Can I Use Instant Coffee in a Coffee Maker?

Can I use instant coffee in a coffee maker?

We get why you might be thinking this!

Coffee helps all of us get the day started. It can be an addiction, and an incredible source of energy.

And when we’re in a rush, instant coffee is the best way to get that quick fix.

perfectly good cup of coffee on the go!

You might be tempted to make instant coffee in your coffee maker.

Maybe you’re out of ground coffee.

All your life you might be thinking: maybe using instant coffee in a coffee maker might not be so bad?

Can You Put Instant Coffee in a Coffee Maker?

Short answer: NO.

Sorry to bring an end to your dreams. But why no?

We need to understand the difference between instant coffee and ground coffee.

Instant coffee:

  • coffee that is pre dried and brewed; you can’t brew instant coffee!
  • only needs hot water to make cup of coffee

Ground coffee instead needs to be placed in a coffee maker.

Then when you add hot water to drip coffee machines, the water drips slowly through the ground coffee to extract flavors.

Risks of Instant Coffee in a Coffee Maker

But when you add instant coffee instead – then you don’t benefit from this process. There won’t be any of that slow dripping.

Instead: you might clog or even damage your machine! Because instant coffee in a coffee maker might not dissolve all the way. Good luck trying to clean and fix that mess!

broken coffee brewer

And your coffee just may plain taste bad, in the end.

This is because ground coffee doesn’t need to be filtered again. It’s already brewed and dried, remember?

So expect a watery cup of coffee without the caffeine you’re craving.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Instant Coffee in a French Press

Look – it’s possible to use instant coffee in a French press.

But it totally defeats the purpose. Your French press is designed for ground coffee.

If you ignore our advice and use instant coffee anyway: the powder will dissolve which makes the mesh filter useless. The temperature and pressure from a French press is too much for instant coffee.

Stick with regular coffee instead for your French press.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Instant Coffee in a Keurig

Keurig coffee makers are convenient just like instant coffee. Pretty close to normal freshly brewed coffee.

So you might be thinking: why can’t I just use instant coffee in a Keurig?

Well, turns out K-cup pods actually contain ground coffee. Not powdered instant coffee.

Using instant coffee results in weak and watery coffee – because the instant coffee won’t completely dissolve.

Conclusion: only use ground coffee!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Instant Coffee in a Percolator

For those of you who don’t know: a percolator is a coffee maker that’s kind of like a metal pot.

You take coffee grounds, then the percolator heats water and sprinkles the hot water over the ground coffee. This brewing process repeats until you have amazing tasting coffee!

So what if you try using instant coffee in a percolator?

Well like we mentioned before, this process won’t be able to actually brew instant coffee. Instant coffee is already brewed!

So you’re not going to get any benefits here.

Remember the Risks

  1. The coffee might taste bad. The percolator will heat water to too high of a temperature for instant coffee crystals. Your cup of instant coffee will likely be burnt!
  2. The percolator might get damaged. Making instant coffee might clog the percolator’s basket or tube. You could struggle to clean it too.

What Types of Coffee Should You Use Instead for a Coffee Maker

The whole point of using a coffee maker is to enjoy the freshness of roasted coffee beans. And explore beans of different roasts and from different regions of the world!

Quick Breakdown – Types of Ground Coffee

  • Roast level: light roasts have more acidity and complexity while darker roasts are more bitter but have more body
  • Origin: coffee beans have different flavor depending on the weather, soil, and altitude of where they are grown
  • Grind size: Finer coffee gets more heated water to pass through which means stronger and more bitter taste
  • Freshness: make sure to store coffee grounds in an airtight container and try to brew coffee within a few weeks after grinding

Pre ground coffee is OK, just remember again to use an airtight container.

Best Ways to Make Instant Coffee

boiled water to make coffee quickly

Traditional methods are often best:

  1. You want to get hot water but not to the point where it’s boiling.
  2. How much coffee should you add? A few teaspoons of instant coffee powder to your empty cup.
  3. Pour your hot water over the instant coffee powder slowly, making sure to stir throughout the process. Wait for the instant coffee powder to melt completely before adding more.
  4. And there you have it, delicious coffee with more caffeine + quickly made!

How to Use Instant Coffee in a Coffee Machine Anyway

*Sigh*

Maybe you’re stubborn.. well. We will still share a method for you to use instant coffee in your coffee maker.

Use the coffee machine as a water heater: fill the reservoir with water and then turn on the machine. Wait for the water to heat.

Add instant coffee to an empty cup using the instructions from above. Then add hot water from your coffee machine to the cup.

boiled water used for brewing instant coffee

End result: your coffee maker is spared from any damage.

You also don’t have to worry about cleaning your coffee machine, since you only used water!

Just keep in mind that your cup of coffee might still not be up to par.

Not quite “brewing” after all. You really should learn how to make the best coffee possible with a machine.

Conclusion

Hopefully you now understand why putting instant coffee in a coffee maker is a terrible idea.

Your resulting cup of instant coffee is likely to have less caffeine and lack the best flavor possible.

Coffee makers work better with freshly ground coffee beans. The concept of “instant coffee machines” is NOT a good one.

Use instant coffee when you don’t have time for properly brewed coffee from coffee grounds.

So you should separate these two ways to make coffee. Don’t combine them. Only one should use a coffee maker! And it’s not the one using instant coffee.

This will guarantee better tasting coffee.

Happy brewing to all you coffee enthusiasts. Enjoy your coffee!

Bryan Han

By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.

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