The 9 Best Instant Coffees of 2019

Get a quick caffeine boost

pouring hot water in grey cup with instant coffee against wooden background
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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Mount Hagen Organic Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee at Walmart

"Organic, fair trade, and deliciously smooth."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Joe Coffee Specialty Instant Coffee at Amazon

"It’s barista-worthy coffee that you can take anywhere."

Best Value: Maxwell House Original Roast Instant Coffee at Target

"Maxwell House’s instant coffee is one of the cheapest on the market."

Best Decaf: Mount Hagen Organic Instant Decaf Coffee at Walmart

"It’s perfect for a late-night sip without the buzz."

Best Organic: Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix at Amazon

"Good, clean coffee packed with extra nutrients."

Best Splurge: Canyon Instant Coffee at Canyon Coffee

"Customers return to this boutique roaster because of the unbeatable taste."

Best Medium Roast: Waka Coffee Quality Instant Coffee at Waka Coffee

"A smooth and balanced Colombian roast, buzzing with citrus flavors."

Best Dark Roast: Starbucks VIA French Roast Dark Roast at Walmart

"Bold, smoky, and not for the faint of heart."

Best Fair Trade: Café Altura Organic Instant Coffee at Cafe Altura

"Their fair trade certification means fair labor practices were employed."

  • 01 of 09

    Best Overall: Mount Hagen Organic Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee


    Courtesy of Walmart 

    Organic, fair trade, and deliciously smooth, Mount Hagen could top a myriad of coffee categories, which is exactly why we chose it as our best overall brew. (Spoiler: this isn’t their last appearance on the list.)

    Mount Hagen has been sourcing their coffee beans in the lush mountains of Papua New Guinea since 1986 and, over the past three decades, they have perfected the instant blend. The reviews for Mount Hagen’s Organic Freeze-Dried Instant Coffee are overwhelmingly positive, with the majority of drinkers giving it five stars. Praise ranges from the product’s reasonable price to its travel convenience to its full-bodied taste.

    One 3.53-ounce jar yields approximately 60 cups. Simply stir a teaspoon of coffee grounds with a cup of boiling water and you’ll have ready-to-go joe that many say is even better than the real thing.

    Read more reviews of the best coffee makers available to purchase online.

  • 02 of 09

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: Joe Coffee Specialty Instant Coffee

    Joe Coffee has been a New York favorite since 2003. Now, the secret is out.

    Customers have gone nuts for these beans, and for good reason. All of Joe’s coffee goes through a rigorous selection process to ensure the highest quality—and their instant coffee is no different. These grounds balance the brightness of a medium roast with the sweetness of milk chocolate and caramel. It’s barista-worthy coffee that you can take anywhere (just grab your travel mug and hit the road) and make any time.

    Great taste and convenience come at a price though, as Joe Coffee makes one of the priciest instant blends on the market. One 6-serving box comes out to around $3 per cup—certainly a hefty price, but one that might be worth it for such a delicious jolt of coffee. 

  • 03 of 09

    Best Value: Maxwell House Original Roast Instant Coffee


    Courtesy of Walmart

    Established in 1892, Maxwell House is one of the oldest and most trusted U.S. coffee brands for a reason: it gets the job done. Hot, dependable coffee when you need it.

    Like their regular coffee, Maxwell House’s instant coffee is one of the cheapest on the market, comparable to large brands like Folgers and Chock full o’Nuts. Given the lower price, reviews on taste do vary. Some customers swear by Maxwell House’s instant coffee, calling it undervalued and just as good as more expensive blends, while others say that the taste leaves something to be desired. What every coffee drinker can agree on, however, is the price.

    Maxwell House is also easy to find in-store and online, and if their classic medium roast doesn’t excite you, they also offer a variety of instant coffee flavors, like French Vanilla, Toasted Hazelnut, Pumpkin Spice Latte, and more.

    Need a mug for your coffee? Check out our round-up of the best coffee mugs.

  • 04 of 09

    Best Decaf: Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Decaf Coffee


    Courtesy of Walmart

    Many a coffeeholic has faced the I-really-want-coffee-but-I-also-need-to-sleep debacle. The answer: decaf. And that’s where Mount Hagen comes in, making a second appearance on our list with their freeze-dried instant decaf coffee.

    If you’ve ever sipped a cup of decaf and found the taste to be weak and watery, you’re not crazy. The decaffeination process can sap coffee beans of certain chemicals that provide the rich flavors and scents you love. As a result, decaf coffee, like instant, is often maligned. But this product solves both decaf and instant coffee in one. Customers say the beans are strong and tasty, and, like Mount Hagen’s other products, the coffee is organic, fair trade, and reasonably priced.

    It’s perfect for a late-night sip without the buzz; for coffee lovers with health difficulties; or for those who want coffee’s many health benefits without the caffeine. 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Best Organic: Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Mix

    “Organic” is a much-touted phrase in the coffeeverse. It sounds nice, but the meaning can be ambiguous. What leads to such uncertainty are the many different requirements for coffee to be considered organic in the U.S.

    However, the baseline definition of organic is that from start to finish, the coffee is produced without any artificial substances. No added chemicals in the fertilizer, no pesticides on the crop. Just good, clean coffee.

    Four Sigmatic checks these boxes, and many more. Their patented mushroom coffee is mixed with dried matsutake mushrooms which pack your morning joe with extra nutrients while still keeping it light and healthy.

    As their name suggests, Four Sigmatic makes four varieties of instant coffee, each with their own purpose and benefits. Lion’s Mane aids focus and creativity. Cordyceps is extra energizing. Adaptogen cuts out the jitters for a calmer, more relaxing blend. And Mushroom Mocha is sweet and chocolaty. 

    Four Sigmatic is pricy for instant coffee, but its beloved taste and many health benefits might make up the extra bucks.

  • 06 of 09

    Best Splurge: Canyon Instant Coffee


    Courtesy of Canyon Coffee 

    It sounds like an oxymoron: instant coffee with a touch of luxury. But Canyon Coffee is precisely that. They package one cup’s worth of top-quality grounds into individual packets, ensuring the freshest brew and making for a great travel companion. 

    The beans are hand-picked and freshly brewed in the Yirgacheffe region of southern Ethiopia—an area that grows some of the most delicious and distinct coffee in the world. Every sip will burst with sweet notes of honey, jasmine, and peach. 

    Canyon even teamed up with Swift Cup Coffee, a company that specializes in instant coffee, to produce one of the best ready-to-go cups you can buy.

    The only downside is that Canyon can roast a hole in your wallet. Each box contains six packets and costs roughly $3 per cup, which is basically the going rate in an actual coffee shop. But customers return to this boutique roaster because of their coffee’s unbeatable taste.

    Buying for someone else? Take a peek at the best gifts for coffee lovers

  • 07 of 09

    Best Medium Roast: Waka Coffee Quality Instant Coffee


    Courtesy of Waka Coffee 

    Medium roast is often overlooked. Thought of as simply dependable. A coffee that’s just there.

    But Waka Coffee, made of 100 percent Arabica beans, is a smooth and balanced Colombian roast, buzzing with citrus flavors. The beans are also freeze-dried, guaranteeing a fresh cup every morning, afternoon and, for you insomniacs, night.

    Waka Coffee’s price on par with competitors, and they also help you manage your coffee budget with a variety of options. You can start out with an 8-pack box or go big with a 24-pack. Both of these options provide individual servings of coffee, making it easy to measure and easy to travel with. You can also choose between Waka’s 3.5-ounce bag and 8-ounce bag for a stash of unwrapped instant coffee grounds. 

  • 08 of 09

    Best Dark Roast: Starbucks VIA Instant French Roast Dark Roast Coffee


    Courtesy of Walmart 

    Depending on your taste buds, Starbucks is either famous or infamous for its strong, distinct coffee. But the signature robustness is exactly what makes Starbucks VIA Instant French Roast so adored. Bold, smoky, and not for the faint of heart, this is one of the most reviewed and most purchased instant coffees on the market.

    Even though Starbucks’ in-store prices are on the higher end, their instant coffee is surprisingly affordable, and you can order it in a variety of sizes, from an 8-pack box to a 50-pack.

    And if you’re a dark coffee lover but prefer a sweeter undertone to a smoky one, Starbucks makes an instant Italian roast, rich with notes of sugar and caramel. 

    Looking for something stronger? Take a peek at the best espresso machines you can buy.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Best Fair Trade: Café Altura Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee


    Courtesy of Cafe Altura

    Café Altura can not only take pride in their coffee’s taste but in their fair trade certification as well. To receive this certification, companies must meet several requirements, all of which guarantee that no unfair labor practices occur during the coffee-making process. This means every single one of Café Altura’s employees, from the first person to pick the rich Arabica beans to the person who packages the grounds, is happy.

    On top of that, this coffee is organic, GMO-free, and downright tasty. Café Altura also freeze-dries their grounds for maximum freshness and taste. Take a spoonful of coffee out of the 3.5-ounce jar, mix it with hot water and enjoy instant caffeinated goodness.