Best Instant Coffee In South Africa – All Brands Reviewed

Best Instant Coffee In South Africa – All Brands Reviewed

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Instant coffee is all around us, every single day, yet we hardly take the time to read up on some of our favourite or most popular brands. We will be discussing the major instant coffee types available, who they’re a good fit for and what type of coffee covers different taste profiles. It might be interesting to see our video review on the average cost per cup of instant coffee.

Instant Coffee: Know The Differences

Instant coffee, also known as “soluble” coffee must be understood before we move forward into different types and taste profiles.

All coffee starts out the same; a green bean is roasted and then ground up into a coarse grind level. This is where your “ground coffee’ for filter machines ends it’s process and is packages.

Instant coffee will go a little further from this step.

Once roasted and ground, the ground beans will be added to water and allowed to dissolve This is known as the “extraction” process. The coffee solution sits at a concentrate level of 15% – 30% (by mass). This solution is then filtered to remove any undesirable or unfiltered particles and then undergoes one of two methods fro drying:

Spray Drying

This is the more popular and cost-effective ways to extract instant coffee. The easiest way to identify this method of drying coffee is to take a grain of your instant coffee and roll it between your thumb and forefinger. If the coffee grain disintegrates into smaller particles in your fingers – it is likely spray dried. A prime example of spray-dried coffee is the popular Nescafe Classic blend.

Freeze Drying

Freeze drying is the higher-quality, more costly method of extracting instant coffee. It’s interesting to know that freeze-drying is the lowest acceptable method of instant coffee we use in our vending machines. The way of identifying freeze-dried coffee is again, to roll it between your forefinger and thumb. Freeze dried coffee should not crack or disintegrate the same way your spray dried coffee would. Instead, it has more of a solid, stick-like appearance. This is easily noticeable in the Nescafe Gold variation of instant coffee’s. The taste profile is more aromatic in this instance.

Best Instant Coffee in South Africa: Brands

Now that we know the difference between spray-dried coffee and freeze-dried coffee, we can compare each brand correctly.

Nescafe Instant Coffee South Africa

Nescafe is by far the most popular coffee brand, globally. They have two best selling instant coffee variants:

– Nescafe Classic: Their most popular instant coffee is spray-dried and priced at around R 55.00 per 100g bottle.

– Nescafe Gold: This popular instant coffee is freeze-dried and the difference in taste is noticeable. Available on retail shelves for around R 65.00 per 100g bottle.

– Nescafe Espresso Delicate Crema Instant Coffee is the coffee lover’s dream come true. The convenience of instant coffee which produces an Espresso with cream, available for R 90.00 for a 100g bottle.

– Nescafe Alta Rica coffee retails in the range of R 90.00 for a 100g bottle; it boasts a bold and intense, 100% Arabica blend sourced from Latin America. Greta for those who enjoy a particularly strong cuppa.

Douwe Egberts Instant Coffee South Africa

Pure Gold Medium Roast. At close on R 70.00 for a 100g bottle, this blend is medium roast (different to most other instant coffee which is a dark roast). It also has a “medium” flavour profile, perfect for those who prefer a less aromatic cuppa. There is also a dark roast option available for the same price range.

– Pure Indulgence Dark Roast is available for approximately R 70.00 and will satisfy someone who enjoys the rich, intense coffee flavours a dark roast carries.

Unfortunately, the entire range of Douwe Egberts is not carried locally, but with these options, choosing between them for a freeze-dried coffee should suffice.

Woolworths Brand Instant Coffee  South Africa

– Café Gold Italian Instant Coffee retails for R 109.00 for a 200g bottle; freeze-dried 100% Arabica blend with a strong and rich flavour.

– Café Gold Roast Instant Coffee is available in a 200g bottle for around R 105.00. This is better suited to those who enjoy a milder coffee flavour form 100% Arabica beans.

– Regular Rich Roast is the spray-dried variant of Woolworths’s Instant coffee range. A strong, full flavour can be obtained for R 70.00 for a 200g bottle.

– Organic Instant Coffee is freeze-dried and retails for R 95.00 for a 100g bottle. There is little mention of the flavour profile here; it is geared mostly toward the health-movement of eating organic.

Jacobs Instant Coffee South Africa

– Jacobs Kronung has become household name; the freeze-dried coffee brand is only available in two main variants – regular and decaf. You could expect to pay around R 80.00 for a 100g bottle of either. This is a great instant coffee for those who enjoy a mild yet distinguished flavour profile.

Beanies Instant Coffee South Africa

If you’re a fan of flavoured coffee – this will likely appeal to you most. Beanies coffee comes in a multitude of flavours and is available solely at Checkers stores; it retails for about R 60.00 for a 50g bottle. Good to know: it is sugar free and all variants are freeze-dried.

Instant Coffee: Chicory

Please, please make sure you’re not buying a chicory product when searching for a good instant coffee. Chicory is not even derived from the coffee plant; it is a a blue-flowered Mediterranean plant of the daisy family, cultivated for its edible salad leaves and carrot-shaped root. This is used as a filler for many coffee brands on the South African Market ; brands like Ricoffy, Frisco and Koffiehuis have made use of this. It is considerably cheaper and seeks more to satisfy the need for quantity rather than quality .

In conclusion; instant coffee is still miles ahead of other coffee types globally, due to it’s convenience – but mainly it’s affordability. No matter how we paint it – instant coffee will never, ever be as fresh, flavourful and satisfying as a freshly brewed cuppa.

Considering stepping up to a capsule coffee machine or even a Bean-to-Cup automatic coffee machine?

Read up more about the costing differences, here.

Looking for a coffee machine for your office? This might help you in your process.

Feel free to share your coffee stories with us!

Disclaimer: note that the prices stated herein are true at the time of publication. Various retailers and wholesalers may have price variations at their discretion. All opinions are purely subjective.