How To Make Espresso With Instant Coffee: A Few Easy Steps

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For many coffee enthusiasts, the rich and robust flavor of espresso is the pinnacle of a perfect coffee experience.

However, not everyone has the luxury of owning an espresso machine or the time to master the art of traditional espresso brewing.

This is where the convenience of instant coffee comes into play.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how you can satisfy your espresso cravings using something as simple and accessible as instant coffee.

While it’s important to recognize that instant coffee espresso doesn’t quite match the depth and intensity of its authentic counterpart, it offers a surprisingly close and delightful alternative.

Perfect for those on-the-go moments or when simplicity is key, let’s look at how to make a delicious espresso with instant coffee.

Understanding Espresso and Instant Coffee

Before we delve into the art of making espresso with instant coffee, let’s take a moment to understand the basics:

The Traditional Espresso Brewing Process

True espresso is a testament to the art of coffee making.

It involves forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans using high pressure.

This process extracts intense flavors and creates a concentrated shot topped with a creamy layer known as crema.

It’s a method that requires skill and the right equipment, but the result is a rich, deeply flavored coffee experience.

What is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee, on the other hand, is a world of convenience.

It’s made by brewing coffee, then freeze-drying or spray-drying it into granules or powder.

When you add hot water, these granules dissolve, creating a quick and easy cup of coffee.

While instant coffee is handy, it typically lacks the depth and intensity of flavor found in freshly brewed espresso.

Why Make Espresso With Instant Coffee?

Now, you might be wondering, why go for espresso made with instant coffee?

There are several compelling reasons:

Convenience and Accessibility

The most obvious advantage of using instant coffee is its sheer convenience.

There’s no need for fancy equipment or special skills.

Just a spoon, hot water, and your favorite instant coffee brand.

It’s a straightforward process that anyone can do, anywhere, anytime.


Let’s talk about the cost.

Traditional espresso machines can be quite an investment, not to mention the ongoing expenses of coffee beans and maintenance.

Instant coffee, on the other hand, is significantly more wallet-friendly.

It’s a great way to enjoy a coffee that’s stronger and richer than your standard instant brew without breaking the bank.

Ideal for Various Situations

Instant coffee espresso shines in situations where using a traditional espresso machine isn’t feasible.

For instance, if you’re traveling, living in a space with limited kitchen amenities, or simply don’t have the time for a full brewing process, instant coffee can be a lifesaver.

It’s also perfect for those who want to enjoy a quick espresso-like drink at work without the hassle of a coffee machine.

Gathering Your Ingredients and Equipment

Ready to make your espresso-style drink with instant coffee? Great! Let’s start by gathering what you’ll need.

It’s a short list, so you’ll likely have most of these items already:


At the heart of it all is your instant coffee.

Choose your favorite brand for the best experience.

You’ll also need water – preferably hot.

If you like your coffee with a bit of extra sweetness or creaminess, have some milk or your preferred sweetener on hand.


You don’t need much in terms of equipment.

A mug for serving is essential. You’ll also need a spoon for stirring.

Now, if you want to elevate your instant coffee espresso, consider using a French press or a moka pot.

These aren’t mandatory, but they can help in enhancing the flavor, making your drink closer to a traditional espresso.

They’re also pretty cheap and you can pick them at places like Amazon.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Espresso with Instant Coffee

Making a delicious espresso-like drink with instant coffee is easy and quick.

Here’s how you can do it, whether you’re craving a single shot or a double dose of coffee goodness:

For a Single Shot

  • Start by putting two teaspoons of your chosen instant coffee into your mug.
  • Boil water and let it cool for about 30 seconds. This brings it to the ideal temperature – not scalding, but still hot enough.
  • Pour one ounce (about two tablespoons) of the hot water into the mug.
  • Stir the mixture vigorously until the coffee granules are completely dissolved.

For a Double Shot

  • Double up the ingredients – use four teaspoons of instant coffee.
  • Add two ounces (about four tablespoons) of hot water.
  • Stir well until all the coffee is dissolved.

Tips for the Best Flavor

  • Water Temperature: The temperature of the water is key. If it’s too hot, it can scorch the coffee, giving it a bitter taste. Aim for water that’s just off the boil.
  • Coffee-to-Water Ratio: This can be adjusted to taste. If you prefer a stronger brew, add more coffee. For a milder flavor, reduce the coffee amount or add a bit more water.
  • Stirring: Make sure to stir thoroughly. This ensures all the coffee dissolves properly, giving you a smooth and even flavor.

Tips for the Perfect Cup

To elevate your instant coffee espresso to its best possible version, here are some simple yet effective tips:

Choose Quality Instant Coffee

The foundation of a great cup starts with high-quality instant coffee.

Arabica beans are often considered superior to their Robusta counterparts.

Arabica coffee is known for its smoother, more refined flavor profile, with a wider range of subtle and complex notes.

These beans typically have a higher acidity, which contributes to the coffee’s brightness and a cleaner, more articulate taste.

For an instant coffee espresso, choosing a brand that uses Arabica beans can significantly enhance the overall flavor and make your drink more enjoyable.

Also, many instant coffees on the market contain additives or preservatives that can alter the natural flavor of the coffee.

These additives are often used to extend the shelf life of the product or to artificially enhance its taste.

However, they can also lead to a less natural and more chemical-like taste, which can detract from the overall quality of your coffee.

Look for instant coffee brands that boast a “pure coffee” experience, with no added ingredients other than coffee itself.

This ensures that you’re getting a more authentic and wholesome flavor.

Besides the taste, choosing instant coffee without additives or preservatives is also a healthier option.

Consuming fewer artificial ingredients is generally better for your overall health and well-being.

By opting for a cleaner product, you’re not only improving your coffee experience but also making a more health-conscious choice.

Remember, the better the coffee, the more enjoyable your espresso will be.

Boil Water Properly

Getting the water temperature right is crucial.

Boil your water and then let it sit for about 30 seconds before using it.

This brief waiting period allows the water to cool down to an optimal temperature, which is usually around 200°F (93°C).

Water that’s too hot can scorch the coffee, leading to a bitter taste, while water that’s not hot enough won’t dissolve the coffee properly, resulting in a weak brew.

The quality of water can also significantly impact the taste of your coffee.

Tap water often contains minerals and impurities that can alter the flavor of your coffee, sometimes adding unwanted tastes or odors.

Filtered water, on the other hand, is purified and free from most of these impurities, ensuring that the true flavor of the coffee shines through.

It’s especially important if you live in an area with hard water, which can make your coffee taste more bitter.

Adjusting Strength with Decaf

Everyone has their own preference and tolerance for caffeine.

Using decaf instant coffee gives you the flexibility to control the caffeine level in your espresso.

This is particularly useful if you enjoy coffee later in the day or are sensitive to caffeine but still want to indulge in the rich flavor of espresso.

One effective way to adjust the strength is by mixing regular and decaf instant coffee granules.

This allows you to fine-tune the caffeine content without significantly altering the taste.

For instance, if you want a milder caffeine kick, you could use a mix of 75% decaf and 25% regular instant coffee.

This way, you can still enjoy the espresso experience, but with less caffeine.

Reducing caffeine intake, especially later in the day, can have several benefits.

It can help improve your sleep quality and reduce anxiety or jitters that some people experience with higher caffeine consumption.

Decaf offers a way to enjoy your favorite beverage without these side effects.

Just like with regular instant coffee, the quality of decaf matters.

Look for decaf instant coffee that uses high-quality beans and a decaffeination process that preserves the coffee’s natural flavors.

Some decaf coffees can be bland or have a different flavor profile compared to their caffeinated counterparts, so finding a brand that maintains a rich and full taste is key.

Crafting Other Types Of Coffee With Instant Coffee

Once you’ve mastered making espresso with instant coffee, why stop there? You can easily whip up a variety of espresso-based drinks.

Let’s explore how to make some popular choices like cappuccinos and lattes, and learn a simple technique for frothing milk without needing an espresso machine.

Cappuccino with Instant Coffee

A classic cappuccino is all about the balance of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.

Start by making a strong shot of instant coffee espresso.

Heat up some milk – you can do this in a saucepan or microwave.

For the frothy top, vigorously whisk the warm milk or shake it in a tightly sealed jar until it’s frothy.

Pour the milk over your coffee, spooning the foam on top.

Sprinkle a bit of cocoa powder or cinnamon for an extra touch.

Latte Using Instant Coffee

Lattes are similar to cappuccinos but with more milk and less foam.

Make your instant coffee espresso and heat a larger amount of milk.

You don’t need as much foam for a latte, so a light whisk or shake will do.

Pour the warm milk into your coffee, and you’ve got a comforting instant coffee latte.

Feel free to add a dash of vanilla extract or your favorite syrup for some sweetness.

Other Espresso-Based Drinks

Your instant coffee espresso can be the base for many other drinks.

Add chocolate syrup for a quick mocha, or blend it with ice for a refreshing frappe.

The possibilities are endless, and it all starts with your instant coffee espresso.

Frothing Milk Without a Machine

No frother? No problem! Heat your milk and then use a whisk to whip it up into a froth.

You can also pour the milk into a jar with a lid, make sure it’s tightly sealed, and shake it vigorously until it’s as frothy as you like.

Another method is using a hand blender or immersion blender, which can create a nice foam quickly.

Maintenance and Storage Tips

To ensure every cup of your instant coffee espresso is as good as the last, proper maintenance and storage are key.

Here are some straightforward tips to help you keep your coffee fresh and your equipment in great shape:

Storing Instant Coffee

The secret to preserving the flavor of instant coffee is keeping it away from air, moisture, and light.

Always store your instant coffee in an airtight container.

If it comes in a resealable bag, make sure it’s tightly closed after each use.

Keep it in a cool, dry place, like a pantry or a cupboard away from the stove or any heat source.

Avoid refrigerating or freezing it, as this can introduce moisture and affect the taste.

Maintaining Your Equipment

Whether you’re using a French press, a moka pot, or just a simple mug and spoon, keeping your equipment clean is essential.

Rinse your French press or moka pot with warm water after each use and let it dry completely before putting it away.

For items like spoons or whisks, a quick wash with dish soap and water will do.

Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of coffee oils and residue, which can impact the flavor of your drinks.

Checking for Wear and Tear

If you’re using a French press, periodically check the plunger and the mesh screen for any damage.

A worn mesh can allow coffee grounds to seep into your drink, while a damaged plunger might not press evenly.

In the case of a moka pot, ensure the gasket and filter are in good condition to prevent leaks and ensure even brewing.

Organizing Your Coffee Station

If you have a designated spot for making your coffee, keep it organized and clean.

Arrange your coffee, sugar, spoons, and any other items you use regularly in an easily accessible way.

A tidy coffee station not only makes your coffee preparation more efficient but also more enjoyable.

Great Instant Coffee Brands for Your Espresso

When it comes to making espresso with instant coffee, the brand you choose can make all the difference.

Here’s a brief overview of three outstanding instant coffee brands that are perfect for crafting a delicious espresso-like drink:

Nescafe Gold

Renowned for its smooth and rich flavor, Nescafe Gold is a popular choice among instant coffee lovers.

Made with a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, it offers a well-balanced taste that’s both bold and nuanced.

Its fine granules dissolve easily, making it ideal for a quick and satisfying espresso-like experience.

Starbucks VIA Instant

For those who love the signature Starbucks flavor, their VIA Instant range is a great pick.

This brand is known for its high-quality, ethically sourced beans and offers a variety of roasts.

The Italian Roast is particularly suited for an espresso-style drink, with its intense flavor.

Mount Hagen Organic Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee

If you prefer organic options, Mount Hagen is a fantastic choice.

This freeze-dried instant coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans, providing a smooth, rich taste without any bitterness.

It’s also fair-trade certified, appealing to the environmentally and socially conscious consumer.


Turning to instant coffee for your espresso-like drinks offers a world of benefits – it’s convenient, cost-effective, and wonderfully adaptable to various situations.

Whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go, this method provides a quick and satisfying coffee experience.

We encourage you to experiment with the recipes and tips we’ve shared.

Embrace the ease and versatility of instant coffee espresso, and discover the many delightful ways you can enjoy your favorite brew, anytime, anywhere.

Happy experimenting!


Is instant coffee as strong as espresso?

Not quite.

Traditional espresso is more concentrated and has a stronger flavor profile compared to instant coffee.

However, by adjusting the coffee-to-water ratio, you can make your instant coffee stronger and more espresso-like.

Can any coffee be used as espresso?

Technically, yes.

While espresso is traditionally made with specific espresso beans, you can use any coffee to make an espresso-like drink.

The key is in the grind size and brewing method.

Is it possible to make espresso without a machine?

Yes, it’s possible to make an espresso-like drink without a machine.

Using methods like a French press, AeroPress, Moka Pot or even instant coffee, you can create a strong, concentrated coffee that resembles espresso.

Does Instant Coffee or Espresso have more caffeine?

Generally, espresso has more caffeine per ounce than instant coffee.

However, since espresso servings are smaller, you might end up consuming less caffeine with a shot of espresso compared to a regular-sized cup of instant coffee.

What is the ratio of milk to espresso?

For a classic cappuccino, the ratio is typically 1:1:1 – one part espresso, one part steamed milk, and one part foam.

For lattes, it’s usually one part espresso to three parts steamed milk, with a small amount of foam.

Can I use instant coffee in an espresso machine?

No, it’s not advisable to use instant coffee in an espresso machine.

Instant coffee is designed to dissolve in water, and using it in an espresso machine can damage the machine and won’t produce the desired espresso shot.

Is espresso just finely ground coffee?

The grind is a part of it, but not the whole story.

Espresso uses finely ground coffee, but it’s also about the type of beans used, the roasting process, and the high-pressure brewing method.

All these factors together create the unique character of espresso.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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