Instant coffee hate.
It really pisses off everyone I know when I tell them I drink instant coffee.
There are looks of disbelief and sadness, followed by WTF or some other question of why.
Some of my kids friends are fascinated, they have no idea of such a thing as coffee granules you scoop with a spoon and add to water, hot or cold.
This isn’t an inherited or genetic thing, my parents used a percolator, a tin pot with a glass bulb that made some of the best burnt coffee ever.
It isn’t for my lack of appreciation for brewing or the value of a good bean. Over the years, I’ve spent thousands on machines of all types from Mr. Coffee drips, expresso pots, and k-cups. Currently my device of choice is a simple French-style press pot.
I’ve tried hundreds of beans and blends, and bias to robust beans without any added flavoring; vanilla and almond beans are an abomination. There is no doubt we have a range of quality beans, roasting, and flavors from good to awesome, readily available in every market (in NYC) at reasonable to exorbitant prices.
Without excuse, part of my acceptance of instant coffee is a function of regularly buying coffee from breakfast carts that dot the NYC streets in the morning as I go to meetings. Increasingly, most offices have free designer coffee and my bringing the cheap stuff prompts everyone to ask for the good stuff; they do not however serve in the blue and white Greek paper cups.
Occasionally I frequent the chains: Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, and Tim Hortons. My early years in New England were entirely DD, and much of my NYC life has been Starbucks, but my preference, if all were next to each other, is McDonalds. More eye rolls and disbelief I know, but I like the mellow flavor and any size for $1.
So back to instant, also called soluble coffee, coffee crystals, and coffee powder.
One benefit is making a decent glass of iced coffee. Unlike hot coffee that I like straight, dark and strong, I prefer iced as “regular” and that means milk and sugar in NYC. Cold milk, sugar and a tablespoon of instant crystals is virtually indistinguishable from the $5 version from the coffee shop.
Another benefit is speed, you know, it’s instant. This is where I get the most disagreement as friends suggest the difference between fresh brewed from a press pot in 5 minutes grossly overpowers the instant in 30 seconds. Meh.
Regardless, the ultimate answer is taste. Many of the modern or Latino varieties are tasty and virtually impossible to differentiate from fresh brewed. Of course some of the most popular and old brands seriously suck with a tinny processed flavor, but they have a loyal following.
Maybe it’s time to give instant a try. Please don’t hate me since you’ve read this far.