Supermarket Instant Coffee - Which One Tastes Best?

today we're going to talk about instant

coffee we're going to taste a lot of

instant coffee and I'm not gonna lie a

little bit nervous


more and more have you been asking me to

do a big taste test to tell you which is

the best instant coffee and to be honest

I was pretty reluctant to do that I have

pretty strong feelings against instant

coffee and I'll tell you why I spent the

last 17 years of my coffee career trying

to make coffee taste as good as possible

and trying to do so in what I hope is an

ethical way that runs contrary to the

targets and the goals and the

aspirations of instant coffee instant

coffee first and foremost wants to be

convenient and convenience by and large

results in a sacrifice of quality but

more than that instant wants to be cheap

now coffees kind of incredible the idea

that there's some fruit was grown in

another country was picked it was

processed once after harvest protest

again before export it was then imported

and it was roasted and it was then

ground and turned into a giant cup of

coffee and then dried down to a kind of

weird powder and then packaged and then

shipped and delivered to you and you can

drink a cup of coffee but pennies that's

astonishing but I'm not sure it's good

because those companies there's very

large companies producing these products

aren't sacrificing their profits along

the way but something has to give and by

and large that's produces these are

enormous corporations who are very happy

with the neo-colonial system that is

coffee production and I'm not really

okay with that now there are in amongst

the coffee's we're going to talk about

today some more ethical coffees than

others but broadly speaking instant

hasn't been good for producers I think

it's a big personal statement but that's

how I feel but I'm still curious if I'm

going to have a bias against me if I'm

going to dislike it I probably should be

informed and maybe actually something

tastes good maybe one of the more

ethical ones tastes good that would be

kind of ok but I guess we should find

out so I went to a delivery website and

I bought every instant coffee that they

stocked which turned out to be 38

different products which is a lot more

than I expected for some reason now

there were I think about another 12

decaf products available but I didn't

pick those at this time I felt 38 was


instead of taking each coffee and

dissecting it one by one I thought it'd

be more fun more entertaining I hope to

do a giant tournament bracket so here's

what I did I took a list of the coffees

that I had and I generated a like a four

digit alphanumeric string for each one

to begin a kind of process of turning

these into a blind tasting I then

entered those little codes into a

tournament generating website and that's

how things are going to play out so I

don't really know what I'm going to be

tasting but I'll make sure you know

what's happening so you can follow along

now we've got a slightly unusual number

here so there's going to be some

three-way tires to start with before

going ultimately head-to-head and that's

it all of these have been weighed out

same amount of coffee in each one same

water in each one same water temperature

water weight all that kind of stuff this

is a pretty standardized testing I'll

test both I'll pick a winner and very

quickly I'll tell you why before we get

stuck in a quick note on what I'm

looking for what I think is good and

what I think is bad easier to start with

bad I think bad is strong bitterness I

think bad is kind of woody earthy or

rubbery kind of flavors that are common

in many cheaper instant coffees good

would be relatively low on the

bitterness end or low on the unpleasant

business end a little bit of sweetness

would be nice tasting of somewhere would

be good tasting fresh would be

incredible so that's roughly what I'm

looking for is it harsh and woody and

bitter or does it have some redeeming

qualities common sort of my fancy spoon

was important for tasting note essential

but nice you're definitely out is the

harshest and bitterest of them this one

is the least bad of the three

this is very harsh very bitter

definitely out this one is less bitter

and tastes of somewhere this one wins

it's a bit odd these two it's a little

bit dominant on the bitter front not

that interesting though this one

probably better than that one not a lot

going on on this one to be honest

neither good nor bad it's kind of lawful

neutral this one bit harsh bit woody

this one less bitter which is good quite

an unusual taste to it which would be a

little bit Marmite for a lot of people I

like that a taste of something other

than sort of harsh cheap coffee winner

this is very classic instant coffee

profile to me this I find the most

unpleasant of the three by quite a long

way I don't really like any of these

three this one has a weird little kind

of vanilla note in it that seems almost

artificial but not very odd unusual

enough I guess to take the win from this

round honestly no huge fan of anything

here too harsh too bitter semi in here

really harsh bit too woody this one

moves forwards on the grounds of being

the least bad of the three this is the

last of the the three-way ties we'll get

a head two heads up to this one pretty

easy and conclusive win for this

particular coffee here very harsh bitter

don't like this much all this come here

actually very similar to this one here


woody earthy rubbery that's that is a

clear-cut winner now we're into the head

to heads should go a little bit quicker

now this is really weird I don't know

what's going on here but I'm really

definitely not into the flavor profile

this I don't love this but it's better

than this one weird but interesting this

one's just a little bit more harsh and

bitter here's my winner

very harsh bitter quite a thief

not at all that quite a different cup of

coffee any more bad definitely a winner

not a big fan of either one this one

just harsher more bitter this one it's

kind of weird to tasting I'm not sure

what's good is stifling interesting you

not a big fan of either one this one

loses out for being so that a little bit

more harsh more bitter than this one

this one has a sort of super fake

chocolate oddness to it this one just a

little bit more harsh and bitter I think

this is the winner both super weird if

I'm honest both of them taste much later

I don't really like either of these but

I'm going to put new forwards no also no

these are both to me quite harsh

extremely bitter extremely woody I feel

like we've knocked out better coffees

but this is gonna progress from this

round so this is better than it's quite

chocolatey it's quite surprising

this is chocolaty too but also a little

odd and vegetable in weird so this one

again it's it's a typical round I don't

like either of these at all this one I

just enjoyed bless it was just

flavor-wise a bit musty err I guess then

this one which was still pretty bitter

and so having tasted my way through now

38 different instant coffees I'm not

giving up fresh coffee there's been some

interesting stuff here there's been a

lot of stuff that tasted about what I

expected it to taste like let's not get

stuck on this right now

let's keep going let's find the best one

so let's crack through these 16 get them

down to eight this one's just a little

musty a mushroom yeah this one will be

the winner these are a super interesting

compared to most the other ones here

they're just a little bit weaker they're

a little bit less intense testing this

one is just

weird I remember one of them is an

Ethiopian coffee and I figure maybe it's

this one it has a lot of floral

qualities to it that are quite unusual

letter test how I expect most Ethiopian

copies to taste but it definitely tastes

complex I'm quite surprising this I

think it's just more enjoyable this one

I think is just a nicer tasting cup of

coffee again both kind of weird in the

same sort of way this one's a little

almost tangerine e in a way that I feel

weird saying out loud I don't really

like either I think I think this one's

my winner just this one is quite vegetal

in comparison to this one I don't

particularly like this one either I feel

like we've knocked better things out but

it is the better of the two this one is

super chocolaty quite pleasant way in

comparison to this one this is a bit

more of a classic instant profile this

one's a clear winner I would say this

one's just a touch more interesting I

don't love it but it is a bit more

interesting than this one

it's that chocolate profile back again

this is almost a little bit more

interesting but the kind of chocolate

genus of this I think kind of wins out

in this round easy and play win this one

I just don't like it it's very classic

harsh woody earthy bitter not very good

this is lighter brighter friendlier this

is the winner now before we hone in on

the final winner there's a couple things

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video so the end is in sight I still

don't know any of these coffees who made

them where they're from any of that

stuff but we're gonna get to the end

soon so we've got eight coffees still

standing let's get that down to one as

quickly as we can easy when this one is

just much more pleasant tasting this one

still a little bit vegetable now it's

cooling down a bit more this one still

has this weird fake quality to it that I

can't get over but it is less bitter

than this one here I'm weirded out by

how this one tastes it's the chocolaty

one again with a little bit of ashtray

in the end I think more people would

find this approachable and pleasant than

this one I'm not I'm not in love with

either this is one this is another

chocolaty one again it's turning a

little bit for me now this one is just a

little bit cleaner in comparison

actually a little bit less bitter I

think so it's the winner so into the

semi-finals now this one is is my winner

again it's just a more pleasant cup of

coffee in comparison if you like a

splash of milk in your coffee this is

probably gonna be better than this one

here but from a coffee flavor

perspective oh it's tough this one just

might edge it out a little bit but it's

close just know that this one was close

and that leaves us with our head-to-head

who will be the winner it's difficult

they're both actually quite a similar

profile in some ways I would say this

one edges it out a little bit it's just

slightly more complex than this one but

your preference may be different to mine

I know objective winner and I don't know

what it is yet it's code a 10 for 1p I

don't know what

that means you have to look it up has

probably been consistently the the more

interesting of the coffees through this

particular process it's definitely on

the lighter side in terms of a roast

than a lot of the other copies that we

tasted and it doesn't have the kind of

characteristic woody earth equality's of

robusta in there it tastes like it

started as a pure Arabica coffee so for

me that has been that's been the winner

let's find out what it is and go and get

it so it was this this was our winner

littles Columbian premium instant coffee

it is from Antioquia in Colombia clean

acidity nice sweetness is their

description for an instant that's that's

not far wrong and if I'm honest I'm

pleased to see a small UK manufacturer

doing well in the space now I do stand

by my comments earlier on which is

instant is a little snapshot of coffee

but it is not the full picture fresh

ground coffee would destroy everything

here and I can't emphasize that enough

the difference is night and day fee if

you join instant coffee just know that

there's so much more joy to be had in

your morning cup of coffee in the world

of a whole bean fresh ground coffee

brewed well but hey I'm not gonna get

too preachy if you follow this channel

you know how I feel about about coffee

and how good it is and how exciting it

is and and this has been an interesting

fun little taste test so now I'll hand

that over to you have you tried any of

these you tried this did you like it we

tried to any of the others where my

tasting notes just way out to you are

you appalled by some of the things I've

said or tasted I'd be really interested

to hear for now I'll say thank you so

much for watching and I hope you have a

great day