Archive for November, 2010

Specialty instant coffee

I have to admit something, I like instant coffee. Why? It’s all in the name.

Instant coffee was my first. I had an assignment due in Year 12 and the procrastinator in me was forced to take the International Roast out of my kitchen pantry and up to my room for an all nighter I will never forget.

What got me hooked was the fact I could make my own tasty cup of coffee – after weeks of experimenting with how much milk, sugar and hot water was needed – cheaply. It was also convenient to have that cup as fast as it took the kettle to boil.

It wasn’t until I became a barista that I realized I could do the same thing with better tasting coffee.

But not all of us are baristas and since instant coffee is still a strong force on the market, it’s good to see some places offer a better instant product as an alternative to the four dollar latte.

Robusta beans are commonly used to make the freeze-dried granules soluble in water. The inexpensive coffee beans with over double the amount of caffeine content are inferior in taste to Arabica beans, what you will find in a proper café.

However, lately Arabica beans have been used to make instant coffee, a move that could make your kitchen pantry just a little bit more sophisticated.

Jasper produces 100% Arabica from Colombia instant coffee in bulk cans and 2g portion sticks. Although they market the product towards workplaces, they also emphasize its ethical pricing and rainforest growing conditions.

Oxfam targets the same audience selling de-caffeinated and caffeinated instant blends, both appeasing the fair trader in us all.

Starbucks released VIA in 2009 another attempt to find their footing after a long re-structuring process. Also using Arabica beans, it’s apparently so good Howard Schultz has been serving it to his dinner guests without them knowing.

Robusta plants account for 40% of global coffee sales a lot considering the negative impact it has on the environment and the fact that it just doesn’t taste as good compared to specialty coffee.

Although it’s popularity is mostly based on convenience, it’s nice that some coffee distributors have decided to make better tasting instant for the barista in us all.

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