Can Instant Coffee Make a Tasty Cold Brew?

Marlin Dariel

Are you a coffee lover looking for a quick and easy way to make cold brew at home? Look no further than your pantry because, believe it or not, instant coffee can come to the rescue! Many people associate instant coffee with a subpar taste and lackluster flavor, but it turns out that it can actually work wonders in creating a refreshing cold brew experience. So, if you’re curious to know whether you can use instant coffee for your cold brew fix, keep reading to uncover the secrets of this surprisingly delicious alternative.


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on using instant coffee for cold brew! In this article, we will explore the topic in detail, covering everything from what instant coffee is to why and how you can use it for cold brew. We will also discuss various tips, advantages, disadvantages, and differences between using instant coffee and regular coffee beans for cold brew. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of using instant coffee for a refreshing cold brew experience!

What is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is a form of coffee that is derived from roasted coffee beans. It is produced by freeze-drying or spray-drying brewed coffee, which removes the water content and leaves behind coffee solids in powder or granule form. Instant coffee offers convenience as it dissolves quickly in hot water, creating an instant cup of coffee without the need for brewing with coffee beans.

However, when it comes to using instant coffee for cold brew, there are some differences and considerations to keep in mind, which we will explore in the following sections.

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Why Use Instant Coffee for Cold Brew?

Using instant coffee for cold brew has gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts due to various reasons:

Convenience and Time-Saving

Instant coffee eliminates the need for grinding coffee beans and brewing, saving you time and effort. With instant coffee, you can quickly prepare a cold brew by dissolving the coffee granules in cold water and letting it steep. This convenience is ideal for those who want a quick and hassle-free way to enjoy a refreshing cold brew.


Instant coffee offers a consistent flavor profile, ensuring that every cup of cold brew you make will have the same taste. This can be beneficial if you enjoy a specific flavor profile and want to replicate it consistently without any variations that might occur when using different coffee beans.

Storage and Shelf Life

Instant coffee has a longer shelf life compared to coffee beans, making it a convenient option for those who want to keep a ready-to-use coffee option in their pantry. It is also easier to store without the need for airtight containers or worry about the freshness of the beans.


Instant coffee is typically more affordable compared to high-quality coffee beans. If you’re on a budget or looking to save some money while still enjoying a delicious cold brew, using instant coffee can be a cost-effective choice.

How to Use Instant Coffee for Cold Brew?

Now that we understand the benefits of using instant coffee for cold brew, let’s explore the step-by-step process of making a refreshing cold brew using instant coffee:

Step 1: Choose the Right Instant Coffee

Not all instant coffees are created equal, and some may not be suitable for cold brew due to variations in flavor and quality. Look for instant coffees that are specifically labeled as suitable for cold brew or have a smooth and rich flavor profile that you prefer.

Step 2: Measure the Coffee-to-Water Ratio

The coffee-to-water ratio plays a crucial role in achieving the desired taste and strength of your cold brew. A general guideline is to use 1 tablespoon of instant coffee for every 8 ounces (240 ml) of cold water. Adjust the ratio according to your taste preferences.

Step 3: Dissolve the Instant Coffee

Take the desired amount of instant coffee and dissolve it in cold water. Stir well until all the granules are fully dissolved. You can use a spoon or a whisk for this process.

Step 4: Steep in the Refrigerator

Transfer the coffee mixture to a container and let it steep in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the flavor of the cold brew. Stir the mixture occasionally to ensure even extraction.

Step 5: Strain and Enjoy

After the steeping process, strain the cold brew using a fine-mesh sieve or a coffee filter to remove any sediment or particles. Serve the cold brew over ice and enjoy!

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Tips for Using Instant Coffee for Cold Brew

Here are some additional tips to enhance your experience when using instant coffee for cold brew:

Use Cold Filtered Water

Using cold filtered water improves the overall taste and quality of your cold brew. It helps remove any impurities or chlorine that might affect the flavor.

Experiment with Steeping Time

Steeping time greatly influences the strength and taste of your cold brew. Feel free to experiment and adjust the steeping time based on your preference. You can start with 12 hours and gradually increase it to find your perfect brew.

Add Flavor Enhancements

Instant coffee for cold brew can be a great base to add various flavor enhancements. Consider adding a splash of vanilla extract, a hint of cinnamon, or even a touch of chocolate syrup to elevate the taste and create a personalized cold brew experience.

Consider the Instant Coffee Quality

The quality of instant coffee varies among brands. If possible, opt for higher-quality instant coffee to ensure a more enjoyable and flavorful cold brew. Read reviews, seek recommendations, and choose a brand known for its premium instant coffee products.

Experiment with Ratios

The coffee-to-water ratio mentioned earlier is a starting point. Feel free to adjust the ratio to suit your taste preferences. If you prefer a stronger brew, increase the amount of instant coffee, or decrease it for a milder taste.

Stir Before Serving

Before serving your cold brew, give it a gentle stir to mix any settled sediments at the bottom. This ensures a consistent flavor and prevents any bitterness from concentrated coffee.

Advantages of Using Instant Coffee for Cold Brew

Using instant coffee for cold brew offers several advantages:


Instant coffee eliminates the need for grinding and brewing, providing a quicker and hassle-free way to enjoy a cold brew.


Instant coffee offers consistent flavor and quality, ensuring that every cold brew you make will have the same taste.


Compared to coffee beans, instant coffee is generally more affordable, making it a budget-friendly option for cold brew enthusiasts.

Longer Shelf Life

Instant coffee has a longer shelf life, allowing you to store it easily without worrying about freshness or flavor deterioration.

Disadvantages of Using Instant Coffee for Cold Brew

While there are advantages, it’s important to consider the potential disadvantages of using instant coffee for cold brew:

Flavor Complexity

Instant coffee may lack the complexity and depth of flavors that can be achieved with freshly ground coffee beans.

Limited Bean Selection

When using instant coffee, you are limited to the options available in the market, whereas with coffee beans, you can explore a wide variety of origins, blends, and roast levels.

Potential Additives

Some instant coffees may contain additives or fillers to enhance the taste or improve solubility. It’s important to choose high-quality instant coffee brands that have minimal additives.

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The Difference Between Instant Coffee and Regular Coffee Beans for Cold Brew

Now that we’ve explored using instant coffee for cold brew, let’s highlight the key differences compared to using regular coffee beans:

Instant Coffee Regular Coffee Beans
Convenience and time-saving Requires grinding and brewing
Consistent flavor profile Varies based on bean origin, roast level, and brewing method
Longer shelf life Needs proper storage to maintain freshness
Affordable option Higher cost, especially for premium coffee beans
Lacks flavor complexity Offers a wide range of flavor profiles based on bean selection


In conclusion, using instant coffee for cold brew can be a convenient, cost-effective, and time-saving solution for coffee enthusiasts. It provides consistency, longer shelf life, and eliminates the need for grinding and brewing. However, it may lack the flavor complexity and variety that can be achieved with regular coffee beans. It’s important to choose high-quality instant coffee and experiment with ratios and steeping times to achieve the desired taste. So, why not give instant coffee a try in your next cold brew adventure?

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can you use instant coffee for cold brew?

Absolutely! Instant coffee can be used for making cold brew. However, it is worth noting that the flavor profile may differ from using traditional coffee grounds. Instant coffee is made by dehydrating brewed coffee, so it dissolves easily in water. This makes it a convenient option for cold brew, as it eliminates the need for straining. However, the taste may not be as robust as using fresh coffee grounds, so it’s a matter of personal preference.

How do you make cold brew with instant coffee?

To make cold brew with instant coffee, start by dissolving instant coffee granules in cold water, using a ratio of around 1:8 (1 part coffee to 8 parts water). Stir well until the coffee granules are completely dissolved. Once dissolved, cover the mixture and let it steep in the refrigerator for at least 12-24 hours. After steeping, you can strain the cold brew coffee to remove any sediment and concentrate. Finally, dilute the cold brew concentrate with cold water to taste, and enjoy your refreshing iced coffee!

Does cold brew made with instant coffee have the same caffeine content as regular cold brew?

Generally, cold brew made with instant coffee will have a similar caffeine content as regular cold brew. Instant coffee has slightly less caffeine than traditional coffee grounds, but the difference is not significant enough to alter the caffeine levels drastically. The caffeine content also depends on the concentration of the cold brew—diluted cold brew will have less caffeine per serving than if consumed at full concentration. So, whether using instant coffee or traditional coffee grounds, the overall caffeine content of your cold brew will be relatively consistent.

Can I use flavored instant coffee for cold brew?

Certainly! You can use flavored instant coffee for cold brew to add a unique twist to your iced coffee. Flavored instant coffee granules are available in various flavors like vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, and more. The process of making cold brew with flavored instant coffee remains the same as using regular instant coffee. The flavor intensity may vary, so you may need to adjust the amount of flavored instant coffee granules used to achieve your desired taste.

Is using instant coffee a time-saving option for making cold brew?

Yes, using instant coffee for cold brew can be a time-saving option. Instant coffee dissolves quickly in water, eliminating the need for brewing and filtering. This means you can have a delicious glass of cold brew in a shorter amount of time compared to using traditional coffee grounds. With instant coffee, you skip the steps of grinding, brewing, and straining, making it a convenient choice for those who want a quick and hassle-free way to enjoy cold brew.

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Marlin Dariel

A seasoned coffee connoisseur, reviews coffee shops, recommends unique places to enjoy a great cup of coffee. "Every coffee bean has an interesting story"


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