Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee: What’s The Difference?

By Robert Parsons June 16, 2021

With so many coffee lovers in our world today,  it is important to recognize not all coffee lovers are the same. Quite the opposite, actually. Coffee lovers range as far out in every direction. Many people are very particular about what type of coffee they use. Some say instant coffee is just as good and much easier than other coffee methods. They wouldn’t pay more than a few dollars for a load of coffee, while some consider themselves “coffee snobs” and would not be caught dead with instant coffee in their cup. And of course, there are many in between the two. So, really. What’s the difference? 

We are going to give you the big differences, the pros and cons of each, and our final verdict on which is better. So buckle up, and let’s get started!

Ground Coffee

Most people are more familiar with what we would call traditional coffee or ground coffee. This method of coffee brewing takes coffee beans and grinds them up finely into what we know as coffee grounds. Pretty self-explanatory. 

There are loads of ways to make coffee with coffee grounds including hot coffee with an old fashioned coffee pot, cold brew with a proper infuser and large container, and even a vacuum brewing with a fancier siphon brewer allows for a totally different taste. 

Instant Coffee

Despite many people’s belief, instant coffee is also coffee. The largest difference of ground coffee vs instant coffee in their production is that instant coffee is brewed beforehand into a concentrate which results in the powder that we get at the local grocery store. 

There are multiple types of instant coffees that can be brewed into a concentrate in many ways and each of these ways gives a different flavor. For example, a quick-drying process or freeze-drying process will have a powder instant coffee regardless, but some people can’t stand one and will only drink the other. 

Pros and Cons 

Now the good stuff. Here is our brief, yet very useful, pros and cons sheet of ground coffee vs. instant coffee. If you are on the fence, you definitely won’t be by the end of this breakdown. 

Ground Coffee Pros

  • – Ground coffee can be made in many ways with less limitations than instant coffee. No one likes limitations. And for those that regularly drink coffee, the same style of drink can get old quick. Ground coffee on the other hand has a plethora of machines that continue to wow us with the world of options they give to everyday people that also keep things relatively easy and quick. Some however, are not for the faint of heart and take a solid amount of time and effort for good results.
  • – Ground coffee is considered a classier version of coffee brewing. If you value coffee connoisseurs in any way, you will quickly see that instant coffee is not in their vocabulary. Ground coffee as well as other more difficult methods are the only proper ways to brew coffee in their eyes, and for some, that is a big pull towards ground coffee only. 
  • – Ground coffee has more options in choosing flavor for the coffee. Another issue of burning out is that coffee can start to taste the same after a while, especially with an instant coffee that only offers one flavor. Ground coffee has a plethora of flavors and roasts that will keep you on your toes. Not to mention those flavors help keep the need of cream and syrups under control, making coffee a much healthier option. 
  • – Ground coffee has a history of being better flavor and tasting fresh. No one likes taking a big gulp of coffee and getting a chunk of chalky coffee powder. Instant coffee just can’t compete with the freshness of coffee grounds. While grounds are not always days fresh, they are definitely a shorter way away than instant that can last for months or years with their freeze drying methods. 
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Instant Coffee Pros 

  • – Instant coffee is fast and easy to make. If you are a fellow procrastinator or really love sleeping in that extra 5 minutes, instant coffee can be a lifesaver when there is simply not enough time to brew up a batch of ground coffee. Simply pour out the amount of instant coffee you need, add hot water, and you are out the door or ready for the banquet you forgot you volunteered to bring coffee for. Not to mention there is no equipment needed, which means no cleanup, and who likes cleaning? No one. 
  • – Instant coffee is less expensive than ground coffee. One of the largest pulls to instant coffee is the low price. While the saying “you get what you pay for” is mostly accurate, for many, saving the extra dollars is a worthy exchange for drinking instant coffee over ground coffee. 
  • – Instant coffee is great for large groups of people. Like we briefly mentioned earlier, instant coffee is quick and easy, the two most important things when hosting large groups of people. Not to mention there are bulk options of instant coffee where there are few bulk ground coffee makers. 
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So there you have it, the full breakdown. Which is your go-to? Have you changed your mind? We hope you learned a bit and were able to feel confident in whichever choice you make. Happy Brewing.