When you hear instant coffee- maybe quick, convenient, and… delicious?.. yes delicious.  Instant coffee has been around for over 130 years but since then coffee is having a resurgence.  A Frenchman Alphonse Allais invented instant coffee in 1881- no surprise here, you know the French and their coffee.  Mass production of instant coffee in the US started after WWII.  Since then though there have been innovations in refining the process in response to our increasingly sophisticated taste and limited time. It comes in powder or granulated form. Besides the quick prep process, another plus is that you can directly control the strength of the resulting beverage, by adding less or more of it.

So how do coffee beans become powder that can easily dissolve in hot water and become an instant cup of joe?

Well it is made from beans that are first roasted and ground, then extracted with hot water to recover the flavor and aroma - kind of resembles using a home coffee percolator.  The coffee extract is then dried into powder or granules.  

 Spray-drying and freeze-drying to help preserve aroma and flavor:

One way is freeze-drying where the coffee extract is brought to about – 40°C. It is then cut into frozen granules that are dried at low temperature and under vacuum.  A second way is spray-drying where the coffee extract is sprayed into very hot and dry air streaming at the top of a tall cylindrical tower. The droplets fall and dry along the way and become a fine powder by the time they reach the bottom.  The powder can then be texturized to form granules.  The granules may then be combined with various ingredients for a more tasty coffee. The very fast drying occurring during this process contributes to preserving the quality of the aroma and flavor.  Coconut sugar, coconut oil and Red Palm for example can be spray dried directly on the coffee molecules, rendering a powder mix that can then easily blend into hot water.

So if you prefer a quick and easy way to prepare coffee but really savor the taste, today’s instant coffee is now a great option.  In iced coffee and many other beverage and food recipes instant coffee may be better than freshly brewed coffee that can affect the ratio of liquids. Instant coffee is commonly mixed with hot milk instead of hot water in some countries like Spain and India. And in other countries like South Korea, instant coffee comes pre-mixed with non-dairy creamer and sugar and they refer to it as coffee mix. 

 For a similar but healthier and more delicious one stop shop, try the new Bandit Coffee, 8 Second Ride.  The perfect blend of premium arabica spray dried instant coffee. 

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Written By: by Nafisseh Soroudi, PhD July 12, 2016

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