13 Best Instant Coffee Brands, Ranked

Instant coffee is perhaps the biggest black sheep in the coffee world. Despite that, this much-bickered-over version of the black gold we know and love is a $15.4 billion

industry in the U.S. alone, per Statista. Many of our friends across the globe — including Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Russia, and almost all of Asia, according to The

Washington Post — actually tend to reach for the stuff instead of fresh coffee beans. What is instant coffee and why does it have so many enemies? As explained by Know Your

Grinder, instant java powder is, in fact, made with real coffee. It's not fake or imitation. To do it, an extract is made from roasted coffee beans, then it's concentrated and

dried with either freeze or spray drying. All the coffee crystals need is hot water or milk to rehydrate into the aromatic beverage we're familiar with. And yet, there's

still the argument that you shouldn't drink instant coffee. While there are strong talking points for that — instant coffee is staler, has a lower caffeine content than regular

coffee, and contains a higher concentration of acrylamide (although still not at unsafe levels) -- there are several reasons to choose instant coffee. Camping, traveling, or lack

of a coffee-making machine, are just a few reasons to reach for instant coffee. We tried some of the most popular brands and ranked them from worst to best — in strictly instant

coffee comparisons, not contrasting with fresh coffee, which would be like comparing apples to oranges.