Skip to Content

Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my privacy policy/disclaimer for additional details..

If you are a coffee person, then you will ‘likely agree that all coffees are not created equal.

Sure, they may all boost cognitive function and mental alertness. They are also low in calories, so you don’t have to worry about weight gain.

But there are still certain important differences between them.

Now, I imagine you have two types of coffee before you: instant coffee and ground coffee, and you have to make a choice.

You know they are not the same, but you don’t know the differences.

coffee bean and ground coffee

So, in a way, you don’t really have the necessary data to make an informed decision.

Well, I can help with that. This article compares instant coffee and ground coffee.

Differences Between Instant Coffee and Ground Coffee

Ground Coffee

Ground coffee or coffee grounds are derived from whole coffee beans.

Before being shipped out, the fresh bean is processed.

When the processed bean reaches the factories and coffee shops, it is roasted which produces the lovely dark flavor.

Roasting the bean draws out the rich oils that make coffee sweet.

Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is derived from fresh coffee whose water content has been removed.

This coffee is brewed and dehydrated leaving behind a powder. The powder is then stored and rehydrated when needed.

Ground coffee and instant coffee have several differences.

The table below highlights some of these differences:

Instant Coffee      Ground Coffee
Made from ground coffee reprocessed by removing excess water, following processing, stored in a suitable packageMade by grinding coffee beans into a fine powder, no further processing required
Dissolves in water and other liquids with easeDoes not dissolve easily in water or any other liquid
Contains relatively higher levels of antioxidantsFewer antioxidants than instant coffee
Does not really give much in terms of taste and flavorHighest quality of taste, flavor, and aroma
One cup has caffeine content of about 60-80mgOne cup has caffeine content of 60-120mg
Eco-friendly, doesn’t produce any wasteNot as eco-friendly, coffee bean grounds it produces must be discarded
Relatively cheaperMore expensive
Works well in baking recipes because it dissolves easily and gives a smooth textureUse sparingly in baking to avoid undesirable crustiness
Can be preserved for a long time before drinkingBest used immediately, flavor degrades over time

Which Is Better, Instant Coffee or Ground Coffee?

Depending on what you intend to use them for, both instant coffee and ground coffee can be great.

a cup of ground coffee and bean

If you want the best flavor, ground coffee is your best bet.

In the instant coffee making process, some of the oils that give coffee grounds their flavor are lost.

Ground coffee also retains more caffeine which helps to improve the flavor. 

When using a recipe that requires coffee, instant coffee is the best option. It has a straight forward and punchy flavor.

It is also the perfect coffee for baking because it can keep well for a long period.

Most people use instant coffee for cold brews and iced coffees that do not require high-quality coffee beans.

Can You Substitute Ground Coffee for Instant Coffee in a Recipe?

Ground coffee can be used as a substitute for instant coffee powder in your recipes, however, you have to be careful with the amount you use since ground coffee does not dissolve as fast as instant coffee.

You should also ensure the ground coffee you use is very finely ground.

This reduces the risk of having lumps in your recipes.

If you need to replace instant coffee in recipes, you should go with espresso powder. 

pressing ground coffee

Can You Use Ground Coffee for Whipped Coffee?

Ground coffee simply will not work for whipped coffee.

Whipped coffee, which is known the world over, requires three simple ingredients coffee, sugar, and water. For the coffee, you need to use instant coffee.

Avoid using a dark roast to ensure it does not end up with a bitter taste. 

If you cannot get instant coffee, you may use espresso powder and freshly brewed espresso as substitutes.

Can You Make Instant Coffee From Ground Coffee?

You can make your own instant coffee from ground coffee.

To do this, you need a blade-type coffee grinder, a strainer or sifter, an airtight storage container, and ground coffee. 

First, you need to measure a scoop of ground coffee into the grinder and grind the coffee.

While grinding, you should alternate between steady whizzing and pulsing as it starts clumping in the grinder.

Next, you shake the coffee powder into the strainer or sifter and sift the finest coffee portions into an airtight container.

Do this repeatedly until you get the amount you require.

If you do not have a coffee grinder, you can get similar results with a blender or a mortar and pestle.

coffee pricing

Which Is Cheaper – Instant Coffee or Ground Coffee?

Instant coffee is relatively cheaper than ground coffee.

Besides being cheaper to buy, instant coffee is easy to make.

You do not need any special machine, just use a kettle, and your coffee is ready in an instant.

With ground coffee, time and some pricy equipment are required to create the perfect coffee.

Can You Use Ground Coffee as Instant Coffee?

You can use ground coffee as instant coffee but you will need to add some steps to the process.

Since instant coffee is brewed, dried, and frozen, all you need is to add water, stir, and your coffee is ready. 

Making coffee the instant coffee way using ground coffee will leave your coffee tasting grainy.

This happens because ground coffee does not dissolve completely in water.

To use ground coffee as instant coffee, add some of it to a cup of hot water.

Stir and wait for a few minutes. Then get another cup and place a filter over it.

With the filter over the cup, pour the brew from the first cup.

By doing this, you filter the coffee grains out of your brewed coffee.

Ground coffee brewed through this method will have a weak taste. However, you can improve the taste by grinding the coffee.

You may also use less water while brewing to improve the taste.

Final Thoughts

While they share some similarities, instant coffee and ground coffee are markedly different.

Instant coffee is cheaper, has a longer shelf-life, and more health benefits.

Ground coffee, on the other hand, is tastier and more flavorful.

Both types are excellent in their own sense. What matters most is how you intend to use them.