Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?

My husband and I love to drink coffee, whether brewed or instant. Often, we take brewed coffee in the morning. I prepare the coffee while we get ready for our activities. Then, we drink it while having breakfast and talking about our activities for the day. When we are out of the house and we want to drink coffee, we drink instant mix. There are several options for instant coffees. You can find coffee mixed with sugar and creamer. There are varieties of coffee with ginseng, mushroom extract, and other herbs. The list can go on.

We still love brewed coffee because of its aroma and earthy taste. But out of convenience, we prefer instant coffee on many occasions.

A lot of people think that instant coffee is bad for their health. They associate instant coffee with fast food, instant noodles, and other quick-serve foods and drinks that contain preservatives.

But did you know that instant coffee is not the villain that many envision it to be? In some aspects, instant coffee is better than brewed coffee. You don’t want to believe? Let’s check out some research that analyzed the effects of instant coffee on our health. First, let’s see how instant coffee is made.

How to make instant coffee?

Instant coffee is made from natural ground coffee beans. It is the by-product of drying coffee extract. The extract is made through the same process as brewing ground coffee beans. The difference is that it is more concentrated.  When brewing is done, the water is removed from the concentrated extract, drying it to get coffee powder. In manufacturing plants of coffee companies, they have equipment that brews and dry coffee extract in minutes.

There are ways to make instant coffee:


Coffee extract is sprayed into the hot air, which quickly dries the droplets and turns them into fine powder or small pieces.


The coffee extract is frozen and cut into small fragments, which are then dried at a low temperature under vacuum conditions.

Both of these methods preserve the quality, aroma, and flavor of the coffee.

When you want to drink instant coffee, simply add one teaspoon of coffee powder to a cup of hot water. Suggested water temperature is 80 degrees Celsius. Do not use boiling water, as it will burn the coffee powder.

Instant coffee benefits

Is Instant Coffee Bad for YouSeveral studies have pointed out that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in our modern diet. In the United States alone, since more than half of its population enjoy drinking coffee every day, it means that they are getting more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables.

The antioxidants in coffee are the leading source of the health benefits linked to drinking coffee. Another study suggested that instant coffee could contain more antioxidants than other coffee types, due to the process of manufacturing instant coffee. The study noted that since instant coffee is collected from concentrated coffee extract, the antioxidants were retained.

In addition to this, instant coffee contains fewer calories than most coffees you can buy from coffee shops. Take a look at the list below:
Calories in coffee

  • Caramel Frappuccino coffee, no whip – 280 calories
  • Caramel Frappuccino coffee, whip – 430 calories
  • Latte, non-fat – 165 calories
  • Latte, whole milk – 260 calories
  • Café mocha, whole milk, whip – 400 calories
  • Café mocha, non-fat milk, whip – 330 calories
  • Café mocha, non-fat, no whip – 220 calories
  • Mocha malt Frappuccino coffee, whip – 570 calories
  • Cappuccino, whole milk – 150 calories
  • Cappuccino, non-fat milk – 100 calories
  • Black coffee – 5 calories

If you plan to lose weight, but still want to enjoy coffee, choose instant black coffee. It has 5 calories! You can enjoy up to three cups and feel no guilt and regret.

Caffeine is another favorite ingredient in coffee. Coffee drinkers swear by its potency and its ability to keep you alert, focused, and concentrating on the task at hand. Caffeine is a known stimulant that helps the brain manage stress.

However, some people are dismayed by caffeine. They think that it is addictive and bad for the health. While caffeine is a stimulant, it is a natural compound present in coffee beans.

Nonetheless, if caffeine is deterring you from drinking coffee, you will be fascinated that instant coffee has less caffeine than brewed coffee. You also have the option of using decaf coffee. Check out the caffeine content in the following coffee drinks:

  • Black coffee – 95 to 200 mg
  • Instant black coffee – 27 to 173 mg
  • Latte – 63 to 175 mg
  • Decaf coffee – 2 to 12 mg

Instant coffee has less cafestol than coffee made in a French press or Turkish coffee, according to Dr. Rob van Dam, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Cafestol is a substance that can elevate cholesterol. Both instant coffee and filtered coffee prepared in an automatic coffee maker contain very small amounts of cafestol. If you already have high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease, instant coffee is a better choice than French press or Turkish coffee.

Now, you can enjoy less caffeine, fewer calories, and more antioxidants. Who said that instant coffee was bad?

Acrylamide in coffee

Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that forms when coffee beans are roasted. The presence of this chemical is often linked to coffee’s bad effect, especially for instant coffee.

In one study, researchers found that instant coffee has twice as much acrylamide as freshly brewed coffee. It is true that too much consumption of acrylamide is bad for the nervous system and can increase the risk of cancer. However, the amount of acrylamide you’re exposed to through diet and coffee is much lower than the doses that have been shown to be harmful. Therefore, drinking instant coffee should not cause concern regarding acrylamide exposure.

Benefits of drinking coffee, either instant or brewed

Drinking coffee has several proven health benefits. Whether it is instant coffee or brewed, you can enjoy the same health effects:

  • Enhance brain function: The caffeine can improve brain function
  • Boost metabolism: The caffeine may increase metabolism and help you burn more fat
  • Reduce disease risk: Coffee may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Decrease diabetes risk: Black coffee may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Improve liver health: Coffee and caffeine may reduce the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and liver cancer
  • Improve mental health: Coffee may help lower the risk of depression and suicide
  • Promote longevity: Drinking coffee may help you live longer

The bottom line?

Let’s not judge instant coffee too quickly. Instant coffee has received a bad reputation, but people just need to know more information, so they make informed decisions instead of relying on hearsay and passed on knowledge. You can check the links for the research studies and find out more about the results.

We still love brewing our own coffee because we love the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the house. However, for convenience, we don’t have anything against instant coffee. We can drink it every day if the situation calls for it.

Now we know that if we drink instant coffee, we are getting the same benefits and in some areas, instant coffee offers more health benefits than brewed, which is good to know.

Enjoy your coffee today as much as we always do!

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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