When you are having a coffee craving and need a quick, easy fix, you likely reach for some instant coffee. However, there may be some times that you end up with big clumps of instant coffee mix or floating granules in your cup. Is instant coffee supposed to dissolve completely?
Instant coffee is supposed to dissolve completely because of the way it is formulated. When instant coffee is produced, the beans are dehydrated and formed into a powder. Instant coffee powder is more soluble than standard coffee grounds, making it completely dissolvable in water.
This article will take a closer look at why instant coffee is supposed to dissolve completely and some of the traits that make it different from regular ground coffee. It will also explore a few reasons why your instant coffee may not be entirely dissolving. If you have trouble getting your instant coffee to dissolve completely, read on!
The Reason Why Instant Coffee Is Designed To Completely Dissolve
The primary reason that instant coffee was created was to provide a fast, simple option for those who need to grab a cup while running out the door. It is meant to be easy to make, with the powder dissolving completely into the water and providing you with a quick bolt of caffeine and energy.
You may be wondering how instant coffee is able to dissolve completely in water compared to regular coffee grounds, which can leave up to 70% of the bean sediment if mixed directly into the water. The process of creating instant coffee is very different from that of ground coffee beans:
- The coffee beans are roasted and ground into a fine powder.
- The powder is stripped of any leftover water content through a special brewing process that leaves behind flavor extracts.
- The coffee extracts are combined with liquid coffee concentrate by spraying the sediment in a hot environment.
- The crystallized coffee grounds go through the whole process one more time to remove the final remaining water and ensure the flavor is preserved before being packaged.
After the coffee has gone through all those steps and becomes a dusty powder, it is much more soluble than regular coffee grounds, so it should dissolve completely when mixed with water.
Why Is My Instant Coffee Not Dissolving Completely?
Making a cup of coffee with instant powder should be a relatively easy activity since instant coffee is designed to dissolve in water completely. Yet, you may still find yourself with coffee that is meant to be smooth but is lumpy or tastes grainy.
There are a few potential reasons why you may be having trouble getting your instant coffee to become thoroughly mixed with water.
The Water Is Too Hot
Combining your instant coffee with water that is too hot could be the reason behind the powder not wholly dissolving.
When ground beans are made into instant coffee, the process adds several different types of chemicals to the powder. One of those chemicals tends to harden when it is mixed with hot water and may be difficult to break up in your cup while stirring, leaving you with coffee that is not completely dissolved.
There are a couple of reasons why mixing your instant coffee with water before heating it up is the best option. The coffee will have a much easier time dissolving when in contact with the cold water, and the granules will be gone before the temperature increases, meaning they will not be able to harden.
Additionally, cold water tends to bring out the tasty flavors in instant coffee, which can often taste more bitter than ground coffee. Mixing the instant powder with water and then warming it up will ensure you have a drink that is sediment-free and tastes good too.
The Instant Coffee Needs To Be Stirred More
Although it should be pretty easy to dissolve your coffee completely into the water, it sometimes takes a little extra stirring.
This problem can be solved simply by stirring the drink more quickly and spending more time stirring it. While this may defeat the purpose of using instant coffee as a quick option, it will definitely ensure you have a better-tasting cup at the end.
There may also be some brands that tend to clump easier because of the ingredients included in the powder, so if you find that this is a constant problem, switching to a new brand of instant coffee may help!
The Water To Coffee Ratio Is Off
No matter what the temperature of the water is or how much you stir the mixture, if you have too much or too little water compared to instant coffee powder, it is unlikely that it will completely dissolve.
Too Much Water
A few issues can occur if you add too much water to the powder. For one thing, the coffee will taste bad. Instant coffee already tends to have a fairly bland, flat flavor, and putting in too much water will only decrease the taste that remains.
When you put in too much water, the powder also may not mix in as well, leaving you with a grittier texture than you would probably like.
Not Enough Water
If you mix water with more instant coffee than is recommended for the amount of liquid you have, it can also have trouble completely dissolving.
The water you do have will mix into the grounds but will not be able to dissolve them. Instead, you will be left with a thick clump of wet powder in your cup rather than a tasty, smooth drink.
Ultimately, it is crucial to follow the directions on the instant coffee package to find out how much water should be mixed in. Doing so will prevent you from overfilling or underfilling your coffee mixture.
There Are Added Ingredients That Change How the Instant Coffee Dissolves
As previously mentioned, instant coffee is explicitly created to be able to dissolve easily in water. However, when you start adding other ingredients to your drink, it can change the way the powder works.
Putting milk, creamer, sugar, and other flavor enhancers into your instant coffee can certainly make it taste better, but they may have an effect on how the coffee dissolves. The powder is made to be soluble in water, and when you start changing the contents of the mixture, the solubility also changes, which can leave you with half-dissolved coffee.
Thankfully, it should just take a bit more quick stirring to get the rest of the instant powder thoroughly mixed into the drink, and then your specialty coffee will be ready for consumption.
The Differences Between Instant Coffee and Regular Coffee Grounds
Besides the primary difference in the ability to completely dissolve into the water, instant coffee has a few other attributes that set it apart from standard ground coffee beans.
Instant Coffee Does Not Have As Much Flavor as Ground Coffee
Unfortunately, one of the main downfalls of using instant coffee to make your morning cup is that you lose a lot of the flavor you find in ground beans.
Because it has to go through such an extensive process to become powder, instant coffee loses some of the flavor oils that enhance the taste of regular coffee grounds.
The extraction of the flavors and aromas in each unique blend of coffee beans does not happen when you use instant coffee, meaning that it usually tastes flat and bitter if no other ingredients are added.
Instant Coffee Uses Lower-Quality Beans Than Ground Coffee
One of the main appeals of instant coffee is that it is cheap to purchase in bulk. The reason it is able to be sold at such a low price is that it is often made using low-quality beans.
Most of the time, instant coffee powder is made with robusta beans, which is a bean that is easy to find and cheap to buy. These beans usually contain a large amount of caffeine, causing the final product to come out with a more sour flavor than ground coffee.
Instant Coffee Contains More Caffeine Than Ground Coffee
Robusta beans contain a large amount of caffeine, and most instant coffees are made with robusta beans. Therefore, it only makes sense that instant coffee powder would be filled with a lot of caffeine.
The high levels of caffeine can severely impact the flavor profile of your coffee, which can make your coffee taste bitter.
You can drink coffee grounds like instant coffee, but they don’t dissolve completely, and you may feel an unpleasant texture at the end of the cup. To learn more about turning coffee grounds into instant coffee and alternatives to instant coffee, click on the link to read my guide. [Can You Drink Coffee Grounds Like Instant Coffee?]
The production method used to make instant coffee allows it to dissolve in the water completely. Every time you make a cup of instant coffee, you should end up with a perfectly smooth beverage without any clumps or grains.
If you are having trouble getting your instant coffee powder to dissolve entirely into the water, it could be that the water is too hot, there is too much or not enough water in it, the drink needs to be stirred a bit more, or there are additional ingredients in it.