What is instant coffee really made of?
Instant coffee is less expensive, faster, and easier to prepare than traditional coffee; You just need hot water and that’s it. We tell you the origin of soluble coffee, how it is made and if it retains the same properties and benefits as whole bean coffee.
Origin of soluble coffee
The first “instant coffee” was made in Great Britain in 1771. It was called a “coffee compound” and had a patent issued by the British government, according to History of Coffee.
The first instant coffee in the United States was created in 1851. It was used during the Civil War for soldiers looking for ways to increase their energy while still being easy to transport.
The first successful method of creating a stable soluble coffee powder was invented by the Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago in 1901 and patented in 1903.
Nestlé improves the formula after it sought to solve a problem of coffee surpluses in Brazil in 1929. So in 1938 he launched his soluble coffee product in Switzerland for the first time, he called it Nescafé. From there, different innovations have been made to obtain soluble coffee as we know it today.
How is it done?
Instant coffee is made from a concentrated extract obtained by preparing ground coffee beans. The water compounds are removed from this extract and dry fragments or dust will remain.
The soluble coffee factory process may involve a hot air rapid drying or freeze drying (cold drying) process.
In freeze-drying, the coffee extract is frozen and cut into small fragments, which are then dried at low temperature under vacuum conditions.
Does it provide the same benefits?
Just like regular coffee, instant coffee contains caffeine (unless it’s decaffeinated) and plant chemicals called polyphenols. Both substances are related to the beneficial health effects of coffee as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
It can promote memory, lower the risk of Parkinson’s, lower the risks of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and even aid in weight loss.
The actual caffeine content of a cup of coffee can vary based on factors such as origin, processing, and method of preparation.
An 8-ounce filtered coffee can have 96 mg of caffeine.
An 8-ounce instant coffee containing one teaspoon of powder typically has 62 mg of caffeine, as published by the Mayo Clinic.
Can soluble coffee cause cancer?
Instant coffee can contain up to twice as much acrylamide as freshly roasted coffee, a substance that forms when coffee beans are roasted.
Acrylamide is converted to a compound that causes mutations and DNA damage. However the National Cancer Institute notes that Human studies have not found that exposure to acrylamide in food is associated with the risk of any type of cancer.
Some differences in aroma and flavor
Flavor. Coffee made from freshly ground beans keeps all of its essential oils and other chemical constituents intact, giving it a fuller, more subtle flavor than most instant coffees.
Many of the instant coffee makers tend to use the cheaper Robusta beans, which can have a touch of bitterness, rather than the more aromatic Arabica beans preferred by people who brew their coffee fresh.
Aroma. The strongest aromas are generated when the hot water first hits and reacts with dried coffee grounds. Something that happened in instant coffee months ago or even years before the consumer prepares his cup.
As you can see, soluble coffee may have some differences in aroma and flavor compared to freshly ground coffee, but It is still a stimulating and healthy drink when consumed in moderation, less than 400mg of caffeine.
It may interest you:
- What is the favorite coffee in the United States?
- How coffee helps your brain and promotes memory
- 10 Things Coffee Lovers Should Know
- 5 tips to make your coffee very healthy and take better advantage of its benefits