The debate on instant coffee versus ground coffee is extensive. While many wish to know which one is better and which one to pick, some have come to love both equally. In this article, we will discuss how both the coffee choices are leaders in their own category and why you can have both without any guilt.
Soluble or instant coffee is as the name suggests, quick and easy to make. You find it at every corner store and is the first choice for novice coffee drinkers. The ease of this is often looked down upon since many equate the experience of brewing a fresh cup as the real coffee experience. But the quality of the regular instant is improving with every passing day, making it a highly competitive coffee pick for many.
The good old ground coffee carries an air of trust and privilege with it. Many see it as a mark of a seasoned coffee drinker who knows about the taste of real coffee, more than the instant coffee drinker.
The general perception surrounding Instant Coffee and Ground Coffee
When comparing the two, instant coffee has seen a consistent demand for decades, accounting for approximately 34% of all retail brewed coffee consumed worldwide. No wonder you see it everywhere, from departmental and online stores to the small paan shops in every nook and cranny.
Ground coffee on the other hand is enjoyed by a limited audience, especially in India. It is found in select cafes and online stores.
Pricing wise instant coffee is considered more affordable with the universal average of a single cup of instant priced at $0.07 (approx. ₹5). Whereas the average price of ground coffee is $0.37 per cup (approx. ₹28). The value of ground coffee also goes up due to the various specialised equipment required to brew it.
The war of flavour and aroma
Instant coffee is almost equated with a ‘chalky consistency and a bitter, almost sour taste’. The popular options in the Indian market made a flavour out of instant coffee which was neither like coffee nor unlike it. We often called the flavour ‘instant coffee like’ at the Sleepy Owl HQ.
However, in 2020 the perception around instant coffee at the Sleepy Owl HQ started to change. After several rounds of research and development, we introduced a Premium Instant Coffee which was made of 100% Arabica coffee using the advanced Micrgorund Technology that freeze-dried the ground coffee along with coffee solubles to retain the authentic flavour and aroma of freshly brewed coffee. This was a game-changer, even for us.
Ground coffee, on the other hand, continues to consistently deliver on its promise of a flavoursome and aromatic cup with a balance of sweetness and acidity. The flavour and aroma range from chocolate and nutty, to fruity and floral. However, a good batch of ground coffee retains its bitterness, but it never dominates the flavour.
Instant coffee is a blessing for coffee lovers who’re looking to reduce their caffeine consumption. As for ground coffee, it still remains the first pick for seasoned coffee drinkers looking to enjoy a caffeine kick to get their day started. Both have a loyal audience of their own and it is hard to pick a winner here. It usually depends on the choice of the consumer.
In terms of caffeine content, one teaspoon of instant coffee contains anywhere between 30-90mg of caffeine, whilst a cup of brewed ground coffee contains between 70-140mg.
Instant vs Ground Coffee: The process of bean to packaging
Traditionally instant coffee is made using two techniques, spray-dried and freeze-dried, the latter being a more intensive process. However, at Sleepy Owl we took this one step further to improve the quality of the regular instant coffee. We used the Microground Technology and combined it with the freeze-drying technique to add real ground coffee to our soluble crystals. This gave a cup just like ground coffee but with the convenience of instant.
Ground coffee on the other hand is easier to understand in terms of the process. Raw coffee beans are roasted, then ground in select grind sizes, which can be brewed in hot water and had after straining it.
Instant vs Ground Coffee: The process of bean to packaging
The convenience of instant coffee is in its making. You don’t use elaborate equipment which needs cleaning later, it is more of a coffee-in-a-cup compared to ground coffee’s elaborate brewing process.
You can add instant coffee to hot or cold milk or even water, and stir. Add sugar if you prefer and that’s all you need for a cup of instant. Whereas, for ground coffee you need to match the grind size to the coffee equipment to brew a concentrate of black coffee to further use it in a coffee recipe or drink by itself. Our website helps customers pick the right grind size for their brewing machine using our Grind Guide.
We have worked on several recipes using our products. Our top picks for instant coffee are—the classic dalgona and the instant vanilla latte. While our top picks for ground coffee recipes are—the classic cappuccino, classic pour-over coffee, and a café au lait.
Our shelf life is decided keeping in mind how long the coffee retains its taste and aroma at room temperature in our packaging. Based on this understanding, our ground coffee lasts for 12 months while our Premium Instant Coffee lasts for 18 months.
Flavour and coffee: An additional punch
Coffee in itself is a blessing, but add your favourite flavours to it and it becomes addictive. Flavoured coffee became a rage in the United States during the 1990s and the trend spread around the world quickly.
Sleepy Owl understands the demands and choices of its customers when it comes to their coffee and hence developed a range of flavours that weren’t only popular but delectable.
Our Ground Coffee has a range of five flavours. Our two classics, ground coffee Original and ground coffee Dark Roast rank first followed by our flavoured options, ground coffee Hazelnut and ground coffee French Vanilla, and then comes our latest launch, Filter Coffee Powder. If you’re in the mood to not pick one and try all, you can also choose our Sampler Packs which offer 50 grams per pack of our top four flavours- Original, Dark Roast, Hazelnut, and French Vanilla.
The debate has no winners and no losers, with both winning in some areas or the other. Whilst both take away the cake for taste and aroma, one wins for its convenience and the other for its experience. It is up to the consumer if they wish to choose instant for a quick caffeine fix before they hit the road, or enjoy a cup of ground coffee made with their French Press or Moka Pot on a relaxing weekend.