For coffee lovers around the world, instant coffee is a god-send. When you wake up late and are running out the door, you might not have time to grind your beans and wait for a full-blown espresso to brew. For these moments, being able to stick some hot water over some dried bean powder and get something close to perfect in terms of flavor and caffeine boost is miraculous.
Made in a similar way to instant coffee, espresso powder is another popular product. There are some major differences, though, with espresso powder being better for infusing baked goods and food with coffee flavor and instant coffee being the quick fix we have come to love.
But what is the difference?
Espresso Powder: Overview & Preparation
The term espresso refers to a specific type of coffee-brewing that originates from Italy. This method utilizes a small amount of boiling hot water that is then forced with the pressure of 10 bars through a finely ground-up level of coffee beans to produce a thick, full-bodied shot of coffee known as espresso.
Espresso powder is also known as instant espresso and is made by taking coffee beans, grinding them down, brewing them, and then drying them before being ground again into a fine powder.
While the result is a powder that smells and looks like instant coffee, it is rarely used in beverages and is, in fact, used more in baking. When used in recipes for baking, it amplifies other flavors, in particular, in chocolate-based recipes. It is used because it dissolves and blends without leaving a bitter texture.
Instant Coffee: Overview & Preparation
Instant coffee is a powder that you can add hot water to make a coffee instantly, hence the name. It is made up of powder or crystals. To get this powder, coffee beans are either spray-dried or freeze-dried.
Freeze-dried coffee is made by freezing the beans and pressurizing them before removing the ice. Spray-dried instant coffee is made by utilizing a hot gas to dry the beans rapidly.
Instant coffee is extremely popular thanks to its lower weight, which allows it to be imported for less and have a long shelf life. Instant coffee lasts for a long time without going off.
Espresso Powder Vs. Instant Coffee: Which Is Best For Your Morning Coffee?
Espresso powder should not be used to make regular coffee as it is designed as a baking aid more than a beverage. In a pinch, it can be used to make coffee, but you will get a better experience using instant coffee.
The caffeine content will always depend upon the beans used and the type. This means that some espresso powder may be stronger, or some instant coffee may be stronger depending on the brand and the strength they are trying to aim for.
Coffee contains no calories when consumed black without milk or sugar, so neither contains more calories than the other. Most people will drink espresso black, however, and many will add milk to their instant, so espresso might be a better choice for those who are trying to count calories.
Espresso powder is made using espresso beans from Italy; instant coffee can be made of any beans that the manufacturer wants to use.
As Ingredients To Various Recipes
Espresso powder is perfect for baking recipes and bringing out the highest quality flavor from anything chocolate-related. Instant coffee is perfect for making whipped coffee, which is a massively popular new trend.
Best Espresso Coffee Powder Brands
In terms of our favorite Espresso Coffee Powder brands, we have three choices.
King Arthur Espresso Powder
Our favorite coffee powder overall is from King Arthur. Simply add a teaspoon or two of this delicious espresso powder to your top baking recipes like brownies or cookies, and you will get a real compliment to the chocolate tastes that elevate your recipes to new heights.
This is a kosher brand, too, with a real focus on selecting the best possible coffee beans, brewing them and, drying them to perfection.
If you really love baking and want a mix that dissolves easily for mixing and adding depth and character, this would be our choice.
Home Baking Organic Blend
If you want your espresso powder to be organically made of the highest grade 1 Arabica beans, then this blend from Home Baking have you covered.
This is a high-quality product utilizing the best beans and is ground ultra-fine to make sure it dissolves into your recipes with ease. It also makes an incredible espresso rub for meat.
This blend isn’t pre-brewed, meaning it comes from freshly roasted 100% grade 1 beans. It is also gluten-free and soy-free and contains no artificial flavors or dairy.
It comes with convenient packaging that is environmentally friendly and has a self-standing, re-sealable design.
Grateful Earth: Super Brain Blend Instant Gourmet Espresso
Our last offering is a bit of a hybrid. If you like to get more than just caffeine from your coffee, this nootropic blend will have you feeling on top of the world.
One cup contains the highest grade coffee, packed with Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Black Pepper, as well as Lion Mane mushroom, L-Theanine, and Chaga.
Espresso Powder Vs Instant Coffee FAQs
Can I substitute instant coffee for espresso powder?
You can, but espresso powder will not produce as nice a tasting coffee as a traditional instant blend coffee will. It will be bitter and too strong for most people’s taste buds.
Can instant coffee be used instead of espresso powder?
In a pinch, if you do not have espresso powder and need it for your recipe, you can use an equal amount of instant coffee powder. Another fix is to replace a small amount of the milk or water the recipe demands with a strong coffee that has been left to cool.
Where can I buy cheap instant espresso coffee powder?
Amazon offers a great selection, with fast delivery and competitive pricing.
If you have been confused by a recipe asking for espresso powder, or if you simply saw it in the shop and became curious, we hope you know now the difference.
If you use instant coffee in the morning, don't swap it for espresso powder and if you want the best possible flavors from your baking, invest in a high quality powder for the ultimate taste explosion.