The Coffee Snob

Can Instant Coffee Be Good Coffee?

Image Credit: Anna Brones

Absolutely Fabulous character Edina Monsoon once said, "Instant coffee is just old beans that have been cremated." And while that's not entirely true — instant coffee is actually brewed coffee that's been dehydrated into dry granules that are packaged up ready for you to spoon into a cup — the just-add-hot-water stuff doesn't have an excellent reputation for taste. That is, until now.

Kalle Freese, a former Finnish Barista Champion, has launched a company to change how we think about the drink. His mission with Sudden Coffee is to bring great coffee to everyone. “If you are in a small town, there’s not a high density of specialty shops around,” he says. “We just want to make good coffee easy and accessible.”

Image Credit: Justin Kaneps

Currently, Sudden Coffee operates on a subscription model. You sign up for a packet of six cups, priced at $5 per cup, which isn't cheap, but Freese says he hopes the price point will be more reachable by the end of the year.

And there's a lot that goes into each cup, too. Every cup is brewed individually by hand, using quality beans that the company sources from craft roasters. "We buy the best beans we can, we try to brew the best that we can, and we try not to screw up the rest," says Freese. The result is an instant coffee that is on par with what you might drink in a specialty cafe.

Image Credit: Anna Brones

Of course, there are some drawbacks, like the single-use packaging, which ensures the coffee is fresh, but also means an empty plastic tube after every cup. (Personally, instead of tossing mine, I've been saving them to put spices in for cooking on summer camping trips.)

However, Freese says the idea is not that Sudden Coffee becomes your new all- around coffee fix. Instead, the instant coffee is filling a gap. “I see Sudden as a complement to the other coffee drinking you do," says Freese. “If you have the chance to go out to a cafe, you should do that; it’s about so much more than the coffee.”