How To Make Instant Coffee Taste Better

When it comes to good-tasting coffee, instant coffee doesn’t exactly have the best reputation and is often described to have an unpleasant, bitter taste. While regular drinkers of instant coffee don’t mind the taste, those who are used to drinking freshly brewed coffee try to avoid it as much as possible. Truth be told, there is no way that instant coffee can ever compete with a freshly brewed cup of coffee in terms of taste, so there is no surprise that those who had a taste of brewed coffee would never consider instant coffee.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to be in a situation where we can brew a fresh cup of coffee. Even though instant coffee is something that regular coffee drinkers usually try to avoid, it’s usually the only way to have a cup of coffee in certain situations. If you have to get out of the house quickly or have a short break, your only choice is to have a cup of instant coffee. At that point, instant coffee becomes a lifesaver as any kind of coffee is better than no coffee at all.

While instant coffee provides the caffeine fix that we look for in our morning coffee, the fact that it doesn’t exactly taste pleasant turns drinking coffee into a chore rather than something we do for enjoyment. Since we can’t avoid drinking instant coffee now and then, perhaps we can find out ways to make it taste better and improve our coffee drinking experience.

Fortunately, you won’t have to look elsewhere as we have compiled a list of things to do to make your instant coffee taste better, so let’s get right into it.

Buying Quality Instant Coffee

The most obvious way to make your instant coffee taste better is to buy instant coffee that is higher in quality. Using mediocre coffee will often produce an unpleasant taste that can’t be improved to a satisfactory level, which is why ensuring that the coffee you use is of high quality is a great start for improving the taste of your coffee.

While it’s not exactly easy to differentiate quality instant coffee from mediocre ones, there are some factors to look out for to ensure that you will end up with good instant coffee.

The first trick to find quality instant coffee is to check whether it’s freeze-dried or spray-dried. As a rule of thumb, freeze-dried instant coffee tastes better, whereas spray-dried is considered to be the budget option. Unfortunately, you may find that the packaging doesn’t always disclose this information. Even though coffee granules are more likely to be freeze-dried compared to powdered coffee, it’s not a sure way to know whether the instant coffee you are buying is freeze-dried or spray-dried.

The second way to ensure that you’re getting quality coffee is to go for brands that are known to be reputable. Stay away from cheap brands that you have never heard of in your life, as they will most likely turn out to be of substandard quality. As expected, buying coffee that is produced by reputable brands will often cost more, so if you see instant coffee that is abnormally cheap, that’s usually a warning sign.

Getting Water Temperature Right

While you can’t burn instant coffee like you could burn coffee grounds, using boiling water for instant coffee is still not the ideal choice. Most people end up adding boiling water to their instant coffee, which only contributes to the unpleasant and bitter taste.

Instead, it’s better to use hot water that is close to boiling. If your kettle always brings water to a full boil, it’s a good idea to wait for the water to cool down a bit before adding it into your cup. 

Getting the Coffee to Water Ratio Right

Not getting the coffee to water ratio right is one of the most common pitfalls which causes instant coffee to taste bad. Most of the time, we end up filling our mug with water and add a spoonful or two of instant coffee and call it a day. Unfortunately, this way of measuring is far from ideal.

It’s usually a good idea to follow the instructions written on the packaging as it explains the optimal measurements. With that being said, there is a certain amount of room for personal preference here, so feel free to tune the ratio.

We recommend using a kitchen scale to ensure that you get the measurements correctly, as measuring with a spoon won’t yield consistent results.

Adding Cold Water

A trick you may not have heard of before is to mix cold water with your instant coffee before pouring the hot water.

Dissolving the coffee in cold water is considered to extract the flavors better and create a better coffee drinking experience. Since you don’t want your coffee to turn out cold, adding enough water to ensure that all of the instant coffee is wet is ideal.

Adding Milk

Milk is an ingredient that complements coffee very well, regardless of whether it’s brewed coffee or instant coffee.

Considering that the main complaint about the taste of instant coffee is the fact that it’s too bitter, adding milk is an easy way of cutting the bitterness down. On top of this, milk also adds a creamy texture to instant coffee that otherwise has a watery consistency.

In order not to dilute the coffee too much, replace parts of water with milk instead of adding milk on top of the water.

Adding Cream

Just like milk, heavy cream is also something you can add to your coffee to give it a more pleasant texture and reduce the bitterness. 

While heavy cream comes with a large number of calories, you can drastically improve your coffee experience by adding a small amount.

Sweetening Your Instant Coffee

Sweetening your instant coffee is perhaps the easiest way of making your coffee taste better. If you are someone who doesn’t have a problem with drinking coffee that is sweet, you can simply sweeten your coffee to get rid of the bitter taste.

There are plenty of different ways to sweeten your coffee, such as using flavored syrups, artificial sweeteners, or sugar. While we are all familiar with the taste of sugar and artificial sweeteners, flavored syrups aren’t something that we are used to seeing frequently. 

That being said, flavored syrups are a great alternative to sugar as they come in different flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and many more.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why does my instant coffee taste bad?

While there are plenty of reasons that can cause your instant coffee to taste bad, a quick list of things to check would be the quality of your instant coffee, coffee to milk ratio, and water temperature.

By buying quality coffee, carefully measuring the coffee to milk ratio, and not using boiling water for your coffee, you will most likely be able to make your instant coffee taste better.

Is instant coffee just coffee grounds?

While they may look similar at times, instant coffee is quite different than coffee grounds. 

Coffee grounds are simply coffee beans that are ground, whereas instant coffee is a type of coffee that goes through processing methods that allows it to dissolve in water.


Even though instant coffee will never taste as good as a freshly brewed cup of coffee, it doesn’t have to taste terrible either.

We hope that we helped you to find ways to make your instant coffee experience better, as we believe that drinking coffee should be primarily done for pleasure.

Have a great day, and enjoy your coffee!