Instant vs fresh coffee – what’s the difference?

Instant coffee is to fresh coffee what commercial beer is to craft beer; once you know the difference, you almost never go back.

My relationship with coffee began at frothy wedding “expressos” and ended up with the realisation that I don’t like milk in my coffee. It took years to understand what I like and why I shun instant, instantly. If it doesn’t smell great and make your heart leap (no, not with anxiety), it ain’t for you.


Which brings us to instant vs fresh – what’s the difference? Here are some specifics to save you Google time.

All coffee starts as a seed in a coffee cherry. These grow in warm climates in over 50 countries, including India. Fun fact – coffee beans don’t exist. A coffee bean is actually a seed inside the cherry. Go figure! Cherries are picked, dried, processed and turned into a peanut looking object known as green beans. They’re sold to roasters at this stage. Once roasted, they start looking like the brown coffee beans we know.

Roasting is a crucial step; the most important, some might say. The better the roaster, the better the coffee. From storing to roasting to packaging, roasters monitor every step closely.It’s an art form. Everything about coffee is. A roasted coffee bean is then ground to brew fresh coffee. Tadaa!

Now, the initial steps to becoming instant are almost the same; roasting, grinding and brewing whole coffee beans. All the water is removed from this product, leaving behind dehydrated crystals of coffee. All you have to do is add water to make it coffee again, instantly. The reason it costs significantly less is because of the low-cost, low-quality coffee beans the industry generally uses, resulting in loss of aroma and taste; two very important factors.

Frankly, instant is the easiest way to make yourself a cup and I resort to it when crunched for time. But when has greatness ever come easy? Coffee isn’t meant to be in a jar with long expiry dates. It’s meant to be devoured fresh off the press. Brewing freshly ground coffee gives you control over its flavours. You might like it light, or extremely strong, or fruity, or nutty. It’s a world just waiting to be explored.

When brewed well, you can make the most of that bean’s beautiful potential. Now, it’s not as easy as mixing ground coffee in water (that will result in something muddy and painful), but with the right method (and there are plenty) you can brew yourself a great cuppa joe.

Explore this website to know more about different blends, roasts and beans. You’ll find various coffees, roasters and brewing equipment to read about. And if you’re just starting this journey, get in touch with us! We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. That’s exactly how we started this love affair; exploring.

About the Author

Nivedita is a full-time copywriter at an Advertising firm, and a part-time illustrator in her own world. She grew up in the mountains, and hopes to move back someday with 5 dogs, a kitchen garden, and a career in both art+copy, to find what she thinks will be her “adult utopia” (this world must include coffee).