I Drink Instant Coffee And I Am Not Ashamed

I Drink Instant Coffee And I Am Not Ashamed

My working day is fuelled by hot drinks and pity. The hot drinks come from the kettle in our office kitchen, and the pity comes from my colleagues when they see me making yet another cup of instant coffee.

My lovely coworkers are far too well-mannered to say anything, but they don’t have to. There’s always a slight moment of involuntary recoil as they see me add a teaspoon of Home Brand Granulated Instant Coffee to a cup and then pour boiling water over it. Nobody else in the office does this. I’m the cheapskate weirdo from Lifehacker, and I’m proving it yet again.

In Australia in 2014, instant coffee rates on the drink scale somewhere just above slurping water from a muddy pond. We take our coffee seriously. Buying a “proper” cup is a ritual that many of us follow on our way to work. We have definite preferences on the cafes which are acceptable, the size of the shot, the variety of milk. And we’re happy to slag off “instant” coffee as an inferior, appalling choice in the process.

Not everyone worries about choosing the perfect blend or the ideal way to steam milk, but plenty of us try and replicate that cafe experience at home, either with a full-blown coffee machine or a pod-based alternative that’s less hassle to clean. Obviously quite a lot of people are buying instant coffee — they wouldn’t consume half an aisle in my local supermarket otherwise — but it’s no longer what most Australians mean when they say “coffee”.

But you know what? I like cheap instant coffee. I don’t really think of it as a variant on the flat white or long black I would order in a cafe or restaurant. To me, it’s an entirely different drink, just as peppermint tea isn’t the same as regular tea. Each has its place. And for me, the main place for instant coffee is right here in the office.

Instant coffee is easy and inexpensive and I can make it whenever I want. The price of a single flat white from the cafe outside the office covers a jar of coffee that will last me for weeks. Yes, I could spend more on a pricier brand, but the reality is I’ve not been any more enamoured of the flavour when I’ve done that. So why pay out the extra cash?

Instant coffee works for me. And I’m willing to admit that.

I don’t ask you to join me. Whatever hot drink you want to consume is fine by me. But I ask you not to judge me. I’m content with my choice. Let me be happy with it.


  • Got nothing against you drinking instant coffee mate, I drink it too!… But surely that homebrand coffee is disgusting, at least upgrade to Nescafe Gold, or even Coles Gold isn’t bad.

    • Lol, i was about to raise the same point, instant coffee is great cause its… well… instant!
      but anything has to be better than that hot mud in a cup they call ‘homebrand coffee’
      Step up to at least blend 43 over that stuff, yes its a few dollars more, but worth it!
      Iv found moccona nice, but very sweet, and have found a much more full flavor since i switched to raw sugar over white
      Blend43 + raw sugar = nice cup o’ joe

    • I find Nescafe vs Home Brand to be a negligible taste difference. As long as there’s caffeine, I’ll drink the muck.

  • I drink more instant coffee at my work than most as well simply due to our coffee machine being crap and it is quicker for me to just make one with the Kettle. I agree with the above post though surely there is better than homebrand although it shocks me when i see how much supermarkets charge for instant coffee.

  • You need to try the triple triple! 3 tea spoons of instant coffee + 3 tea spoons of Milo + 3 tea spoons of sugar. I find that that’s bit much and I’m a wimp, so I usually go for the double double – 2 Milo + 2 instant coffee. I’m totally against coffee snobbery.

  • If it makes you happy, how bad can it be? I think some of that pity might really be jealousy of your ability to feed your addiction and be frugal. That’s not a luxury most addicts of … anything really – have.

    You worked for it, you paid for it, and you’re drinking it. You go right ahead and savour every last drop of every cup of your cheap coffee.

  • I agree, its so much cheaper and easier to just drink instant. I’m a green tea drinker at work, Aldi Pod maker at home, and on weekends out with the girls I splurge on the a Skinny-Vanilla-Latte.

  • I used to drink instant coffee. Lots of instant coffee. I just find that I can’t any more.

    Keep enjoying instant while you can. Embrace that opportunity. There may come a time when you can no longer take the cheaper, easier, simpler option … and once that happens … you can never go back.

  • Ahh the secret to instant coffee is you add the milk first 😉 I drink instant coffee at work all the time a) becuase we have no machine of any kind and they provide coffee tea milk and sugar b) theres no coffee shop close by sadly and c) consume a bucketlaod less milk this way. I still love a great coffee from a decent cafe and in fact many times would prefer home brand instant coffee made with muddly puddle water compared to the wet ashtray taste some coffee shops have served me.

  • Oh Yeah, nothing to be ashamed of drinking Instant. Have never tried the Homebrand though. Nescafe Gold (Rich) and CoffeeMate for me. I have this thing down to just the way I like it even that I find it hard to drink Cafe coffee sometimes. I do add heaps teaspoonfuls so one coffee is enough for me for the day. It’s amazing how smooth you can get it with those 2 ingredients, Just add a bit of cold water to mix it first (stops it burning). Also with this I can make it as hot as possible. Nothing I hate more to ask for a Hot coffee and it comes just warm. I feel like I’ve just wasted my money on something I can drink in 3 mouthfuls. Also it much much cheaper.

  • As a fellow instant coffee drinker, I think you should be ashamed for drinking homebrand.

  • I am convinced that most of the morning coffe snobs around here order their latte without having any idea what it is. They just love saying it.

    • Latte or Caffe Latte
      an espresso based coffee drink created by adding steamed milk to a regular espresso shot.
      the correct proportion should be 1/3 coffee 1/3 foam 1/3 steamed milk.
      Normal served in a short Glass tumbler

  • The Moccona range has a great selection of instant coffee. I agree with the other though, when they say you should stop drinking home brand. Don’t be such a cheep skate

  • I drink the same instant coffee as in the photo up there and it tastes fine with lots of sugar and milk!

    • The fact that you have to kill it with lots of sugar and milk isn’t exactly inspiring confidence.

      • Fair call, but i load any coffee i drink with lots of milk and sugar.
        In fact maybe i should just drink hot milk and sugar from now on… Michael Scott style!

  • Research indicates that our utility tends to scale with our preferences. Thus if you become a coffee snob then the only thing that can provide you with utility is the best of coffee.

    Thos of us who have developed a taste for instant coffee receive far more utility per $ than others. Nescafe 43 and Moccona taste fantastic to me. My pod coffee at home is sublime. A properly brewed coffee is a spiritual revelation.

    All this because mostly I drink home brand Instant and have learned to like it.

  • We have a pod machine at work and I find the coffee that comes from it pretty weird. I don’t drink a lot of coffee in general (maybe three coffees a week on average? Two of those will be made with the ancient machine at home and one will be a weekend hangover coffee.) I have a huge crush on plain old Lipton teabags though. I think I make up 80% of the office teabag consumers.

  • Not all instant coffees are born equal: Moccona is fine. Nescafe is passable in a pinch. International Roast is the coffee they serve in hell.

    • I tell you no lie, my wife prefers to drink International Roast. Even more bizarre, we keep finding other people who choose to drink it. To me it tastes so much unlike coffee it could be a different drink.

  • I’d rather drink water most of the time and have a couple of decent coffee’s a week. Just as frugal, and better for you. Bonus points for not drinking that burnt tasting instant coffee.

  • You should probably change the title to “I Drink Home Brand Instant Coffee and I am Not Ashamed”.

  • I used to roast my own beans and have a super fancy espresso machine. Now I drink instant coffee all the time. Couldn’t be arsed spending all the time when instant is 80% the taste for 2% of the effort. Some instant is shite, but so are many coffee bars.

  • “To me, it’s an entirely different drink, just as peppermint tea isn’t the same as regular tea. Each has its place.”


  • I have had an automatic Coffee machine for over 8 years, not the same one, but all ground beans to make an espresso.

    Instant coffee is a poor substitute. VERY poor it tastes like bitter water with some kind of nut added, not like the nectar of the gods true coffee is.

    I have not drunk instant coffee in 5 years, and last time I did I nearly vomited it was so bad.

  • I drink instant – black, made with cold water. It’s really only just a caffeine delivery device for me.

    Funnily enough it taste better than the last time I got a cold brew coffee from a cafe (I suspect they’d just brewed coffee the usual way and thrown it into the fridge).

  • I pretty much only drink Nescafe Gold at home. I quite like it, especially with milk.

    Proper barista-made coffees are great but the cost adds up very quickly. Plus my Mum’s annoying habit of buying a coffee and slice for like $10 every second day or so really puts me off.

  • Recently i tried Avalanche Duo instant coffee with the 85% to 15% instant to fresh coffee. It was one of the better instant coffees i have tried. Iv also tried Carte Noire and Nescafe Azera or whatever it was called. All good in their own way, the latter being weaker and needing more than one heaped teaspoon.

    These coffees have stopped me going out and buying a waste of money coffee machine as i only have one to two coffees a day.

  • Another instant aficionado here. I’ll buy a cafe-made one in social situations, but I’m quite happy with the powdered stuff for myself. Caffeine is caffeine is caffeine.

  • What about a cheapskate coffee comparison Angus? Broaden your horizons a bit…? 😉

  • The original beans are roasted at high temperatures to bring out the coffee flavour, higher than 200 degrees centigrade. Instant coffee is made from percolated coffee, freeze dried or heater dried at about 200+ degrees. The idea that hot water can damaged the flavour profile goes against common sense and maybe science. I think I could blindfold instant coffee experts and serve them tea and they wouldn’t know the difference.

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