Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
MrWasabi65
Posts: 390
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2021 12:42 pm

Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by MrWasabi65 »

Do you have any good ones to recommend? I realize it's not the same quality as other methods, no need to point that out.

Basically, instant only, not really interested in other work arounds, even the easy ones lol....I already know of portable single drippers

Thank you in advance to any who have brand recommendations.
revert
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2017 9:35 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by revert »

Mt Hagan is decent, and reasonably priced. The Starbucks Via line is also pretty good (said as someone fairly snooty about coffee who can’t stomach Starbucks otherwise). A few smaller roasters have gotten into instant (Verve, Canyon), but I haven’t yet had a chance to try them.
UpperNwGuy
Posts: 9746
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

If you are traveling to Europe, wait until you arrive and buy a bottle of Nescafe instant. They sell it everywhere. You can even get it in a box of single-serving packets. Be sure you buy the regular and not the decaf. The bottles look almost identical.
jebmke
Posts: 26716
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by jebmke »

I was partial to Douwe Egbert when I used to travel in Europe. That said, almost anything will do once you decide to go instant.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
John Z
Posts: 529
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 4:42 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by John Z »

Yes, 2nd vote for Starbucks VIA line. Before hotels had K-cup machines and no complimentary coffee of any kind we'd use these either with our cream when a fridge was furnished or a powdered creamer. Those were the rough days for coffee travel. Had to have coffee getting out of bed and still must.
jebmke
Posts: 26716
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by jebmke »

John Z wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:44 am Yes, 2nd vote for Starbucks VIA line. Before hotels had K-cup machines and no complimentary coffee of any kind we'd use these either with our cream when a fridge was furnished or a powdered creamer. Those were the rough days for coffee travel. Had to have coffee getting out of bed and still must.
When we travel by car we always take a small coffee maker and our own pre-ground beans.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
JeffAL
Posts: 240
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:32 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by JeffAL »

Trader Joe’s instant coffee packets are decent. 10 packets for $3.
7eight9
Posts: 2415
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by 7eight9 »

The parents of a very good friend of mine are coffee producers. Her preferred brand of coffee has always been NESCAFÉ .

Not some fancy "poured over" carefully curated blend of single estate beans. Just simple NESCAFÉ.

Link - https://www.nestleusa.com/brands/coffee/clasico

NESCAFÉ CLASICO Dark Roast Instant Coffee is the number one brand in Latin America.

Andy Warhol was talking about COKE but if we were to substitute NESCAFÉ ...

You can be watching TV and see NESCAFÉ, and you know that the President drinks NESCAFÉ, Liz Taylor drinks NESCAFÉ, and just think, you can drink NESCAFÉ, too. A NESCAFÉ is a NESCAFÉ and no amount of money can get you a better NESCAFÉ than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the NESCAFÉs are the same and all the NESCAFÉs are good. And it is delicious.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
mykesc2022
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu May 12, 2022 6:14 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by mykesc2022 »

Any Asian store will have multiple types like this.

https://www.worldmarket.com/p/vinacafe- ... lsrc=aw.ds

10x better than any other store bought instant.
nalor511
Posts: 5372
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:00 am

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by nalor511 »

Cafe Bustelo Instant Espresso https://www.amazon.com/Bustelo-Espresso ... 06WVD5NJN/ , they make one of the best ground espresso, and so the instant is also pretty good
marcus213
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:50 am

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by marcus213 »

I can recommend two that I've really enjoyed:

- Verve craft instant coffee ... this is the best quality instant I've had, and while it's pricier, you do get what you pay for and it makes a strong cup.

- Alpine Start ... still pretty darn good, and not as pricey as above. Another plus here are the tube-shaped packets which are slightly more convenient to use.

Both are sold at REI and I'm sure elsewhere. I keep a few packets of either in my backpack when traveling in case morning coffee is hard to come by or if I'm visiting my parents whose coffee is unacceptably bad. :)
User avatar
firebirdparts
Posts: 4543
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:21 pm
Location: Southern Appalachia

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by firebirdparts »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:41 am If you are traveling to Europe, wait until you arrive and buy a bottle of Nescafe instant. They sell it everywhere. You can even get it in a box of single-serving packets. Be sure you buy the regular and not the decaf. The bottles look almost identical.
This is what I do.

I can’t understand why they don’t sell this in the USA and put the stuff we have out of business, You can get this in USA if you mail order.
This time is the same
jjava
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2022 9:31 am

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by jjava »

I would suggest specialty instant coffee from roaster. Black and White Coffee Roaster offers them/
However right now they only have decaf left. If you have time before traveling, you can reach out to them and ask. They are my go to coffee beans roaster. I have never tried their instant ones but I thought about it. In the end, I decided to go a different route for coffee when traveling (i.e. pack gear).

There are probably other roasters that offers instant.
Sampan
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2023 1:55 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Sampan »

When I was living abroad in Asia for a while, my instant coffee of choice was indeed Nescafe Instant. There's a whole technique I learned how to make good instant coffee, what became known as the "Whipped Coffee" trend that went viral a few years ago.

I believe you can buy it in the U.S. from Asian grocery stores and I even see Weee, the online Asian supermarket, selling it.
bendix
Posts: 916
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2023 9:35 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by bendix »

Juan Valdez instant coffee is top of my instant coffee leaderboard. Almost a bargain at $5.48 for 3.52oz at Walmart.
Zipster
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 4:49 pm
Location: The beautiful midwest!

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Zipster »

firebirdparts wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 9:10 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:41 am If you are traveling to Europe, wait until you arrive and buy a bottle of Nescafe instant. They sell it everywhere. You can even get it in a box of single-serving packets. Be sure you buy the regular and not the decaf. The bottles look almost identical.
This is what I do.

I can’t understand why they don’t sell this in the USA and put the stuff we have out of business, You can get this in USA if you mail order.
Look in the Hispanic section of your grocery store. That’s where it’s at for us. Also most (all?) Mexican grocery stores carry it.
User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 14735
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by David Jay »

John Z wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:44 am Yes, 2nd vote for Starbucks VIA line. Before hotels had K-cup machines and no complimentary coffee of any kind we'd use these either with our cream when a fridge was furnished or a powdered creamer. Those were the rough days for coffee travel. Had to have coffee getting out of bed and still must.
Vote #3.

Personally I like "Columbia"
It's not an engineering problem - Hersh Shefrin | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
yolointopants
Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2022 8:08 am

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by yolointopants »

I have tried dozens of instant coffees in search for the one that most closely mimics the flavor and body of a pour over. Even the best instant still has that "instant coffee" flavor, and often lacks the aromas.

My bias: I am only drinking coffee black. No cream, sugars, milks or anything. That's how I like coffee. I add nothing to it, and I hate sweet coffees. I don't like robusta flavor, don't like dark roast anything, and really prefer floral, fruity, and light coffees. But I also don't like bringing a bunch of crap with me when backpacking so I endure these instants several weeks a year when travelling.

Best value-
Nescafe Clasico Instant Colombian. $7 for an utterly massive jar of it.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Nescafe-Clas ... /272691701
Simple, clean, easy dissolving, very good value for flavor. Tastes instant, but not offensively so. Clean cup otherwise.

Best flavor-
Swift Instant Coffee -
https://www.swiftcoffee.com/collections ... ant-coffee
Many small roasters use Swift to instantize their coffees. A local roaster used Swift and made an outstanding instant. Price was a bit absurd just for a cup of instant, but it had some modicum of aroma that captured the underlying coffee quite nicely. Without question a top shelf instant if money is no object.
 
Most interesting (but not a good price anymore)-
Nescafe Azera Americano
https://www.nescafe.com/our-coffees/nes ... -americano
By far my favorite value-friendly instant if you find it overseas (ex-US) at a fair price. A combination of very high grade instant using the superior Nescafe system that somehow captures aroma and reintroduces it back into the spray blend, along with microground (like Starbucks VIA). It tastes like a combination of arabica and robusta, which I don't really love, but it has pleasant body and complexity. It is an unoffensive coffee that is like the coffee equivalent of Helvetica or Arial fonts. Think of it like a really good hotel lobby coffee. Nothing to write home about, but you will gladly have a second cup.

Robust, darker roast instant without being crappy and burnt:
Illy Instant -
A nice roast that captures the Illy flavor and body. Not my favorite instant, but does capture the more intense flavor of a darker coffee without being nasty. I prefer this less on its own than mixed in with other instant coffees to round out the flavor.
https://www.amazon.com/Illy-Classico-In ... B0BPDWY6G7

Most overrated instant:
Mt Hagan. Just expensive, unimpressive, and not particularly noteworthy when better tasting options exist for less money.

Most overhyped instant:
Starbucks VIA. Occasionally you can find larger jars of their blonde roast VIA, which was my favorite. But the standard Starbucks coffee is truly horrendously overroated, burnt, catfish bait smelling trash which mixes so incredibly awful with the instant flavor.

Least bad Starbucks VIA -
https://www.target.com/p/starbucks-prem ... A-81866439

Pretty much any instant in single serve packs suck
Except Swift, I avoid them all. They never taste as good as the bulk (90g or larger) tins. I find that the water to coffee ratio matters almost as much for instant as it does for pour overs. Most of the issues with instant come from not using enough coffee. I generally go with about 25% more coffee than recommended to fill out the vapid and watery body common to nearly all instants.

Coffees I universally hated:
Any Vietnamese instant. Sugary, nasty robusta, oxidized. If you want a cup of sugar with coffee that tastes like burnt street corn (and many people really do like that flavor), these might be for you.
clarity82
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:05 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by clarity82 »

Do you all use the hot water kettle in your hotel room to make instant coffee? Do hotels actually clean those?
hudson
Posts: 7393
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by hudson »

yolointopants wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:55 am
Best value-
Nescafe Clasico Instant Colombian. $7 for an utterly massive jar of it.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Nescafe-Clas ... /272691701
Simple, clean, easy dissolving, very good value for flavor. Tastes instant, but not offensively so. Clean cup otherwise.
My go to daily coffee was Nescafe Clasico Instant Colombian or just Clasico's dark roast.
From another coffee discussion someone recommended Walmart's Great Value Colombian.
For me, it's as good, the same, or maybe better than Nescafe Clasico. I've switched.
User avatar
firebirdparts
Posts: 4543
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:21 pm
Location: Southern Appalachia

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by firebirdparts »

Coincidental to this thread, my wife found this antique commercial for instant coffee (probably on instagram) and thought it was really funny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm2b6lKtx8Q

I have to say it's very implausible.
This time is the same
Fifty50
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon May 05, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Fifty50 »

bendix wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 7:06 am Juan Valdez instant coffee is top of my instant coffee leaderboard. Almost a bargain at $5.48 for 3.52oz at Walmart.
Second this! My choice for camping & backpacking. I just returned from a backpack trip. The coffee tasted better every day.
KFBR392
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:32 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by KFBR392 »

A lot of the third wave coffee roasters have started putting out their own instant coffee pouches. They’re all reasonably good if a little pricey. Otherwise, the best balance between price/easy to find/taste for me is Mt. Hagen via Amazon or Whole Foods.
Dottie57
Posts: 12622
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Dottie57 »

firebirdparts wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 4:15 pm Coincidental to this thread, my wife found this antique commercial for instant coffee (probably on instagram) and thought it was really funny.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm2b6lKtx8Q

I have to say it's very implausible.
Eeew! Makes my eyes hurt.
MathWizard
Posts: 6720
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by MathWizard »

I used Folgers singles. Looks like tea bags in individual foil packets.
WS1
Posts: 501
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:45 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by WS1 »

Blue Bottle is good.
Bmac
Posts: 541
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:58 am
Location: Seattle

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Bmac »

Blendy Stick (an Asian brand) is quite good and available on Amazon. Single serving packets, so quite easy to take when traveling.
Johnfmh
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:59 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by Johnfmh »

I really like Jakobs Crema Gold:

https://www.amazon.com/Jacobs-Crema-Gol ... B07GL91NKY

It does not have creamer added. It’s called “crema” because it looks a bit like a freshly pressed Nespresso at first glance. Nescafe makes a similar coffee called Nescafe Crema—again, no added creamer, it just looks creamy on top.
keystone
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:34 pm

Re: Best Instant Coffee or Espresso for Travel?

Post by keystone »

I really like Starbucks VIA as well, sometimes more than my home brewed coffee. This thread has made me want to try some of the other options mentioned.
Post Reply