Instant Coffee VS Ground Coffee : Both Coffee, How Different Can They Be?

The key difference between instant and ground coffee is that instant can be dissolved in water because it has already been brewed and dehydrated. 

As a Malaysian, having Kopi O is a common culture seen in coffee shops and Mamak stores. However, an avid Kopi O drinker may not be fond of the Western brewed coffee. 

The battle of Instant Coffee versus Ground Coffee is still ongoing, but it seems like most people are on one side or the other. Some say that instant coffee is not even considered as “coffee”, while others could simply live on instant coffee alone just to get through their day. So, what’s really different here?

In this article, we highlight the 4 main differences between these two types of coffee

Left : Coffee beans. Middle : Ground coffee. Right : Instant coffee.
Credit : Food photo created by 8photo –
  • Ground coffee is actual coffee beans, instant coffee is not 

Ground and instant coffee both begin with the same raw materials: whole coffee beans, but they do differ in one major way. Ground coffee is coffee which has been prepared for brewing by being crushed or ground and not processed beyond the usual steps of washing and roasting. On the flip side, instant coffee continues to be processed after roasting, brewed to a desired taste profile. Then using spray dried or freeze dried technology  where all water content is removed, and this leaves behind dehydrated coffee crystals. In layman term, ground coffee can be considered as the ‘raw material’ whereas instant coffee is the ‘processed material’.

  • Instant coffee dissolves in liquid, ground coffee don’t 

Because instant coffee has been dried out to leave a powder which can be stored and rehydrated at any time, it can completely dissolve when water is added. It can be brewed within a cup without any special equipment required. However, ground coffee will not be able to be made the same way. No matter how fine your ground coffee is, even if it seems like it can be dissolved at an instant just like instant coffee powder, it can’t be.
(If you want to know which coffee grind size is for you and why it matters, we’ve written a complete guide here.)  

You need to choose the right equipment when it comes to ground coffee. There are so many ways to do it — French press, Aeropress, V60, Moka pot, and the list goes on.

  • Ground coffee has higher caffeine content

Ground coffee often has a higher caffeine content than instant coffee. This is because a considerable amount of caffeine is lost during the production process of making instant coffee. For comparison, one teaspoon of instant coffee can carry approx 63mg* of caffeine. While a cup of brew coffee can easily go up to 240mg of caffeine*

Reference from :

4. The taste and benefits
Instant coffee may be a quick fix, but it loses some of the important components in flavour. Other than having lesser caffeine content then ground coffee and experiencing flavour impacts due to oils being removed from bean surfaces during processing; some antioxidants may even get washed out with it!

Take-home Notes 

If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee and wouldn’t mind investing a little more time and money, we’re going to recommend ground coffee all day, every day. And call yourself lucky because you don’t need to buy an expensive grinder to make your own ground coffee. At Millilitre, we believe that great coffee begins with the right grind. With our bespoke grinding service, we can tailor the grind size to your preference and will ensure it is ground precisely so no delicious flavours are lost in translation no matter the brewing methods. And if you’re new to ground coffee but you are interested to try, the best way to get started is Millilitre’s Drip Coffee Bags!    

Contrarily, if you’re pressed for time or prefer a more economical option but can’t leave the house without getting your caffeine fix, then instant coffee will save the day by giving you a quick and affordable solution to the caffeine boost you crave.