Espresso Powder Vs Instant Coffee (Are They The Same?)

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 for coffee drinks and get something close to perfect in terms of flavor and caffeine boost is miraculous. However, making instant coffee will likely taste different than regular brewed coffee.

Made in a similar way to most instant coffee, instant espresso powder is a dark roast coffee that is quickly becoming a popular product. 

There are some major differences, though, with espresso powder being better for infusing chocolate desserts, baked goods, and food with coffee flavor and instant coffee being the quick fix we have come to love. 

But what is the difference?  Find out below!

1. Taste Guide  

Instant 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 granules. 

2. Caffeine Content 

The caffeine content will always depend upon the ground coffee 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. 

In general, both instant coffee and espresso crystals will have an average amount of caffeine.

However, since powdered espresso beans are mostly used in baking chocolate desserts, you won't get the same effect as instant coffee.

3. Calorie Content 

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 coffee, so espresso might be a better choice for those who are trying to count calories. 

4. Bean Selection  

Espresso powder is made using espresso Arabica coffee beans from Italy. Most instant coffee can be made with any beans that the manufacturer wants to use. 

Most instant coffee crystals are made with Robusta coffee beans, which gives it a more bitter taste. Instant coffee is made with higher quality beans with twice as much caffeine.

5. As Ingredients To Various Recipes  

Espresso powder is perfect for baking recipes and bringing out the highest quality flavor from anything chocolate-related. You will notice a slight chocolate taste and a darker flavor profile in this very fine powder.

Instant coffee is perfect for making whipped coffee, which is a massively popular new trend. 

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. 

Espresso Powder From BeansEspresso Powder Vs Instant Coffee

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. 

instant coffee powder

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. 

  • Turmeric 
    Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and improves digestion. It also helps buffer you against arthritis and has even shown some promise in reducing the rate at which your joints wear as you age. It even de-detoxifies the liver and promotes weight loss! 
  • Cinnamon 
    Cinnamon contains a huge dose of antioxidants, as well as helps boost the immune system, improves skin health, and has even been shown to help with weight management. 
  • Black Pepper 
    Black pepper has been shown to help against depression as well as virus prevention. It can also improve skin health, increase fat burn, and can help with sinus problems and the symptoms of asthma. 
  • Lions Mane 
    Lions Mane has been used for many years in China. It improves cognitive function, improves memory and reaction speeds, and has even been used to repair brain neurons and damage. It supports our bodies’ insulin release and promotes energy and gut health too! 
  • L-Theanine 
    L-Theanine improves memory and relaxes the brain without inducing sleepiness. It is often used to reduce the negative side effects of caffeine consumption too. It promotes better sleep and also reduces anxiety in users. 
  • Chaga 
    Chaga supports a healthy heart and fights against age and cell mutation in the body. It also boosts the immune system and improves gut health too!. 

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. 

Kayla Stavridis

Head of Marketing

Kayla Stavridis
Kayla Stavridis is a coffee enthusiast and Head of Marketing for Barista HQ. She blends her professional insights and experience with a deep passion for all things coffee. Kayla offers a unique, hands-on perspective on coffee culture and trends. You can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Cold Brew

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