The Great Coffee Debate: Instant vs. Brewed

Oliver Brown

Updated Tuesday, July 2, 2024 at 11:28 AM CDT

The Great Coffee Debate: Instant vs. Brewed

The Coffee Conundrum: Preferences and Opinions

Coffee is more than just a beverage; it's a daily ritual for many, including myself. Consuming at least two cups a day, sometimes up to five, I have developed strong opinions about what constitutes "good" coffee. The coffee community is divided: some prefer their coffee loaded with milk and sugar, while others are purists, focusing on precise brewing methods and the quality of the beans.

Interestingly, the concept of "good" coffee is subjective and often contentious. While many people dismiss instant coffee as inferior, I find it quite enjoyable. In fact, I believe that Cafe Bustelo instant espresso surpasses any home-brewed coffee I’ve tried. Nespresso and Folgers instant coffees are also acceptable in my book. This stance may be controversial, but it underscores the diverse preferences that exist within the coffee-drinking community.

Instant Coffee: A Misunderstood Brew

Instant coffee often gets a bad rap, but it deserves another look. Many people turn their noses up at the thought of instant coffee, yet I find it to be just as good as home-brewed varieties. This belief is based on my experience with Cafe Bustelo instant espresso, which I consider superior to any coffee I've brewed at home.

Even the free coffee provided at work is sufficient for me, despite occasional issues with strength or a burnt taste. This raises an important question: Is the concept of "good" coffee a scam? I believe so. The differences between great, decent, and horrible coffee are often exaggerated, especially when you consider that great coffee is only marginally better than decent coffee. However, decent coffee is exponentially better than horrible coffee.

The Three Tiers of Coffee Quality

Coffee can generally be categorized into three tiers: Great, Decent, and Horrible. Great coffee is typically found at artisanal coffee shops where beans are meticulously roasted and brewed. These coffees can have unique flavor profiles, such as fruit undertones, that are not present in regular coffee. However, the difference between great and decent coffee is minimal, and many people mislabel decent coffee as bad.

For instance, coffee from McDonald's or gas stations is often deemed horrible, but I would argue that it's simply decent. Popular coffee chains like Starbucks are often mistakenly considered great but actually fall into the decent category. Horrible coffee, on the other hand, results from grossly mis-prepared processes and poor-quality beans, making it nearly undrinkable.

The Impact of Additives on Coffee Quality

The differences in coffee quality become more noticeable when drinking black coffee. Adding milk or sugar can mask the nuances that distinguish great coffee from decent or horrible coffee. This is why some people can drink any coffee, regardless of its quality, as long as it has enough cream and sugar.

For those with sensitive taste and smell, detecting differences in coffee quality is easier. High-quality coffee is often expensive and requires grinding beans yourself for the best taste. However, not everyone has the time or resources to invest in such a meticulous process. This is where instant coffee shines as a convenient and often underrated alternative.

The Workplace Coffee Experience

Workplace coffee can be a mixed bag. While some office brews can taste significantly worse than decent coffee, described as "boiled burnt green beans," others are surprisingly sufficient. The key is to manage expectations and understand that not all coffee needs to be artisanal to be enjoyable.

In my experience, the free coffee at work is usually good enough, despite occasional issues with strength or a burnt taste. This further supports my belief that the concept of "good" coffee is largely subjective and often overhyped.

Reevaluating Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is generally considered bad, and most people who are not coffee snobs will drink anything except instant coffee. However, I believe that instant coffee deserves more credit. Brands like Cafe Bustelo, Nespresso, and Folgers offer instant options that are both convenient and flavorful.

The great coffee debate is far from settled. Whether you prefer instant or meticulously brewed coffee, the most important thing is to enjoy your cup of joe. After all, coffee is a personal experience, and what matters most is finding what works best for you.

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