Over the past few months I have been on the hunt for the best cup of instant coffee. By instant I mean a cup of coffee that requires me to do little more than place some coffee in a mug, or a filter over it, boil the kettle and combine. What I don’t want however are the traditional freeze-dired instant coffee granules.

This all started when I observed a colleague brewing a cup of coffee from a Lyons Coffee Break bag. We got into a discussion about how we liked our coffee and he gave me a bag to try. It was okay, but not great. Much better but than traditional instant, obviously but it had quite a syrupy texture and an oddly hollow taste. So this started me on a journey of discovery.

I posted this picture of my experiment with the coffee bag. It was picked up by my mother-in-law via Facebook, and since then she has been sending me a regular supply of samples to test.

First she sent me an individual filter from Sainsburys (sorry I can’t find a link for you). Not one of the plastic ones, because I don’t want to create so much waste from my coffee, but a cardboard one instead. The flavour was fantastic, but making the drink was actually a bit of a faff (technical term). I had to re-fill the filter a couple of times, and then I still only got half a cup.

So on to the next; VIA instant and microground from Starbucks. I have had two packs of this sent to me, and I’m really enjoying both of them. One was Colombian, the other the seasonal blend. So far, it’s my favourite for taste, it’s a really rich flavour and tastes just like you’ve brewed it before serving. It also has the simplicity I’m looking for. The major downside is that it’s Starbucks and pretty expensive for the amount you get per pack.

Next up, I decided to try the instant and microground offerings from two of the big instant coffee brands; Azera from Nescafe and Millicano from Kenco. I was pretty disappointed with Azera, either I’m not using enough coffee to make a cup, or there’s no depth to the flavour. The Millicano on the other hand is nearly up there with the Starbucks’ in terms of taste and wins out over its direct competitor through price and availability.

So to sum this all up, here are my coffee bean scores:

Lyons Coffee Break: 

Sainsbury’s individual filter: 

Starbucks VIA: 

Nescafe Azera: 

Kenco Millicano: 


Image credit: Sasha Vinogradova via IconFinder