Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee (Differences Between Them)

Instant and ground coffee is a trendy drink because it is delicious, full of antioxidants, and contains many benefits, including boosting your mental state and cognitive function.  

Instant coffee granules are very convenient. It is a type of coffee that has been brewed into a concentrate.

Instant brewed coffee usually involves a quick-drying process or a freeze-drying process to turn it into a powdered brewed coffee extract that is quick and simple for many people to make in the morning since you just add hot water.

Continue reading to learn more about instant coffee vs ground coffee, the differences between the two, and which one is better.  

1. Time And Simplicity 

The process of making instant coffee is simple. All you need to do is measure the instant coffee granules, add some hot water, and you are done. 

If you lead a busy life and coffee runs through your veins, then instant coffee grounds will save the day without interrupting your schedule while giving you a boost of caffeine.

It is also a much simpler process compared to complex methods like using a pour-over or french press. 

The regular process of brewing coffee that is already ground is slightly more complex and time-consuming.

Preparing ground coffee will usually take between 5 to 10 minutes, regardless of whether you already have coffee grounds or you have whole beans that need to turned into ground coffee beans.

There are a few quicker ways when it comes to preparing freshly brewed coffee, but nothing can beat instant coffee in terms of speed since you only need to add hot water.

2. Waste 

Ground coffee requires you to dispose of the used coffee grounds and clean the equipment, while there are no by-products to making instant coffee. 

3. Flavor 

A freshly brewed cup of ground coffee retains all of the essential oils, and the flavor is much more fuller than most instant coffees. There is more of a variety of coffee flavor in a fresh cup of coffee. 

The main reason for the difference in flavor when comparing instant or ground coffee is the composition of raw material used to make instant coffee.

Most of the instant coffee manufacturers use Robusta beans, which are cheaper but have a bitter taste. All coffee drinkers are aware of that instant coffee taste, and it's not as smooth as ground coffee.

man smelling cup of coffee

4. Health Benefits 

The amount of antioxidants is similar for instant coffee and ground coffee. However, there is a difference in caffeine content. Instant coffee has only half of the caffeine content of ground coffee.  

Even the best instant coffee brand may have more caffeine than others, but it still won't be as much as regular roasted coffee beans.

5. Ritual 

One of the main disadvantages of instant coffee is the lack of ritual. Many coffee connoisseurs and coffee enthusiasts enjoy the ritual of brewing specialty Robusta beans and utilizing a coffee machine. 

coffee ritual preparation

6. Cost 

Instant coffee is much cheaper since you do not have to buy expensive specialized equipment, while ground coffee is more expensive due to the quality of the beans.

When choosing between instant coffee and ground coffee, you will have to consider the cost, flavor, convenience, and ritual. It all depends on how much you are willing to invest in your coffee experience. 

What Exactly Is Instant Coffee? 

Britain made the first "instant coffee" in the year 1771. It was originally named a "coffee compound," and the British government was granted a patent.

America made its first instant coffee in the year 1851. It was often used in the Civil War, where experimental “cakes” involving instant coffee were shared among the soldiers.  

Instant coffee is extremely popular in the world today. It is easy and convenient due to the fact that it can be found in almost any supermarket or store. It is loved by people who are looking to enjoy a quick boost of caffeine while not wasting any time in the morning. 

The truth is that instant coffee is made from real coffee. The whole beans are roasted, grounded, and brewed before they turn into instant coffee.

When all the water is removed from the brewed coffee, it leaves behind dehydrated crystals. All you need to do is add water to make the coffee again. It is a simple process!  

In most cases, instant coffee is made with Robusta coffee beans instead of Arabica beans which are more expensive.  

instant coffee powder

Spray Drying 

The spray drying method is pretty instantaneous. The amount of time it takes to make the transition from liquid coffee to instant coffee is between 5 to 30 seconds.  

  • 1
    The coffee or coffee concentrate is sprayed from a tower into a hot air chamber.  
  • 2
    The remaining water evaporates as the droplets fall.  
  • 3
    Dry crystals of coffee fall to the end of the chamber.  

The high temperature affects the oils of the coffee, which means more of the flavor is lost during the spray drying method.

In addition, the spray drying method produces too fine a powder, which means that the grains are usually fused together with another process that involves steam to make the powder acceptable for consumers.  

Freeze Dying Method 

The freeze-drying method tends to preserve the most ‘coffee flavor’, but the procedure is longer. You will most likely pay more for freeze-dried instant coffee, but the difference in flavor is worth it.  

  • 1
    The coffee or coffee concentrate (created by freeze concentration) is frozen at around -40 Celsius.  
  • 2
    The coffee is put into a drying chamber. A vacuum is generated in the drying chamber until the chamber is heated.  
  • 3
    The frozen coffee is warmed, which means that the frozen water expands into gas (the process is known as sublimation). Once the process is finished, there are dry grains of coffee left.

Pros & Cons Of Drinking Instant Coffee  


  • Cheaper than store-bought and ground coffee.  
  • Is a convenient option that only requires a cup and hot water, while ground coffee takes more time to brew.  
  • Can easily be taken to the office or taken on travels, while ground coffee usually requires special equipment to make.  
  • Contains less caffeine than ground coffee (which is good for people who are sensitive to caffeine).  
  • Has a wide variety of choices, and some instant coffees having a blend of roasted and green beans.  


  • Cannot compete with the taste and smell of a well-brewed cup of ground coffee.  
  • Contains a higher concentration of acrylamide compared to ground coffee.  
  • Has “ready to drink” and “coffee sachets” that might contain various sweeteners and oil-based creamers that ground coffee does not.  
  • Usually not found in coffee shops unless being sold as a separate take home item
  • Contains less caffeine than ground coffee (which is not ideal for people who want an early morning or pre-workout boost).  

What Exactly Is Ground Coffee? 

Brewed coffee is made of ground coffee. It is the most common type of coffee that can be found in coffee shops and supermarkets (besides the coffee beans).  

All coffee originates from the coffee tree (also known as genus Coffea). The cherries of the tree are picked and processed to gain access to the tiny seeds on the inside, which are known as green coffee beans.

The green coffee beans are roasted before they are ready for consumption, which then becomes known as whole coffee beans.  

The whole coffee beans have to be grounded into smaller particles to extract as much flavor as possible before brewing.

The process can be completed by using a number of tools, including an electric coffee grinder, blender, mortar, pestles, or food processor. Once the coffee has been grounded in one of the devices, the whole coffee beans turn into ground coffee. 

ground coffee ready for machine

Coffee Grind Sizes 

The coffee will get finer when it is processed more. The grind sizes of coffee include:  

  • Coarse ground coffee — Large particles of coffee that are similar in size to kosher salt. 
  • Medium ground coffee — Gritty particles of coffee that are similar in size to coarse sand. 
  • Fine ground coffee — Smooth particles of coffee that are similar in size to table salt or sugar. 
  • Extra fine ground coffee — Extremely fine particles of coffee that are smaller in size to table salt or sugar. 
  • Turkish ground coffee — A fine powder that is similar to flour.  

Coffee Techniques And Equipment 

It is important that you have the right brewing technique and coffee equipment because there are coarser or finer coffee particles that will require different brewing techniques and coffee equipment. For example:  

  • Coarse ground coffee — Plunger pots, french presses, vacuum coffee pots, and percolators.  
  • Medium ground coffee — Drip coffee makers with flat borrowed filters. 
  • Fine ground coffee — Drip coffee makers (such as the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper) with cone borrowed filter and Espresso mocha pots (such as the Bialetti Stovetop). 
  • Extra fine ground coffee — Espresso machines. 
  • Turkish ground coffee — Ibriks. 

Pros & Cons Of Drinking Ground Coffee  


  • More of a rich, full-bodied flavor compared to instant coffee, which is less intense.  
  • Has numerous health benefits.  
  • Almost always found in coffee shops in various different roasts and blends  
  • Has many different flavors, roasts, and brew types that are richer than the instant coffee.  
  • Brightens your mood, fights depression, and lowers the risk of suicide. Drinking coffee stimulates the central nervous system and boosts the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, which help brighten your mood.[1] Two cups of coffee a day can prevent the risk of suicide by close to 50%.[2] 
  • Coffee boosts your physical performance. Caffeine improves the adrenaline levels in your blood. A cup of black coffee an hour before a workout will increase your performance by 11-12%. It is hard for instant coffee to achieve these results due to the significant lack of caffeine content. 


  • More expensive than instant coffee.  
  • Produces more waste than instant coffee.  
  • Is much slower to prepare than instant coffee.  
  • Is bad in quality contains a number of impurities that can lead to sickness, a headache, or a bad feeling. Bad coffee can happen when the beans have been over-ripened or ruined in another way, which does not tend to occur with instant coffee since it is already prepared.  
  • Has the (unlikely) potential to kill you due to the high caffeine content in a single cup. If you drink 80 to 100 cups (23 liters, or 10 to 13 grams of caffeine in your body) in a small period of time, an excessive amount of ground coffee is lethal. On the other hand, it would be very difficult for instant coffee to kill someone due to the significant lack of caffeine content. 

Instant Coffee Vs Ground Coffee Common FAQs

Can you mix instant coffee with ground coffee? 

You could mix the two together, although it would probably taste awful with a terrible consistency. 

Can ground coffee work for whipped coffee? 

For making a whipped coffee, most tutorials and recipes utilize instant coffee. Ground coffee may work, but we would advise you to stick to instant for this specialty. 

How do you make instant coffee with ground coffee powder? 

Make sure your ground coffee is as fine as you can possibly get it. Shake it over a container using a fine sieve and leave it to dry out in an airtight container in a dry, warm room. 

Does ground coffee dissolve in water? 

Coffee and Sugar are both SOLUBLE, which means that they dissolve in water. 

Can I substitute ground coffee for instant coffee in a recipe? 

Instant coffee can be substituted for ground coffee in most recipes, although the end product may not be quite as good or the exact same consistency. 


If you are wondering about the differences between instant coffee and ground coffee, then we hope that we have answered all of your questions. Instant coffee is convenient and easy to make, as the name implies.  

However, instant coffee does not offer the rich flavor and taste that ground coffee does.  

A cup of ground coffee is high in quality, rich, and full of flavor, but you will have to go the extra mile for it. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. The choice of instant coffee vs. ground coffee is up to you. 




Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis is the Head of Marketing here at Barista HQ. While keeping up-to-date on the latest trends in coffee, 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. She is passionate about keeping you informed about what’s new in coffee.

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