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Our Favorite Instant Coffees for When You’re Busy

Beth Lipton
February 18, 2021
Photo Credit: Michela Ravasio

Maybe you remember your grandma mixing up watery, bitter instant coffee from that orange-labeled jar. Or maybe you’ve had hot water and a packet of coffee crystals on a plane (remember planes?). Either way, instant coffee is probably not what you crave when you want a nice, strong, flavorful cup of joe.

But in the last few years, instant coffee has gotten a welcome makeover. There are tons of tasty options out there, whether you want a fatty cup for your keto diet, you’re looking for a tasty delivery system for adaptogenic mushrooms, or you simply need a super-convenient way to get caffeinated in a hurry. Step aside, Sanka! Here are 7 of our favorites.

1. Four Sigmatic Adaptogens

This brand has been in the spotlight for awhile now, but as interesting as these natural herbal stress relievers are, it’s not always totally convenient to add them to your day. Well, it wasn’t, until Four Sigmatic started adding them to coffee. Whether you want to Achieve (with cordyceps and chaga), Create (with Lion’s Mane), enjoy more focus (tulsi and ashwagandha), boost immunity or a combination, there’s a fast, organic brew for you. (Don’t worry, you don’t taste the mushrooms, just rich, delicious coffee.)

2. Waka Coffee

Made with single-origin Arabica coffee, and freeze dried to protect the flavor and aroma, this coffee, in convenient, eco-friendly packets, is a perfect solution for travelers and other coffee drinkers on-the-go. And if you’re concerned about the environment, this is a great solution: Instead of wasting coffee-shop to-go cups, you can toss your reusable bottle and a few Waka packets in your bag and just add hot water. You can even recycle the box the packets come in, and they donate 4% of sales to clean-water projects.

3. Fat Fuel Coffee

Lovers of Bulletproof and other fatty coffees are a passionate lot, known to carry frozen blocks of butter in soap dishes and mini-frothers when they travel. If this sounds like you, then you’ll love Fat Fuel. These super-easy packets contain premium organic coffee, powdered grass-fed butter, coconut and MCT oil powder, and a touch of Himalayan salt. Bonus: No blending required. Add hot water, give it a vigorous stir and you’re in fat-coffee heaven.

4. Mount Hagen Organic Fair Trade Instant Coffee

This is a good choice for instant-coffee aficionados who prefer a jar to packets. It’s made from organic highland-grown 100% Arabica coffee, and it comes in decaf, too. Keep a jar at home or in the office and grab a fast cup whenever you “need” it.

5. Perfect Keto Coffee

Organic instant coffee (100% Arabica from the Chiapas region in Mexico) + MCT oil powder made from organic coconuts = ketogenic coffee in seconds flat. Enjoy the unflavored variety if you like it straight up, or try the Mocha or French Vanilla, both lightly sweetened with stevia.

6. Medaglia D’Oro

If espresso is more your thing, this one’s for you. It offers that robust flavor you love, and even forms that crema on top that espresso lovers look for. Add hot water and drink it as is, use it to make lattes, or even as an ingredient in brownies or other recipes.

7. Starbucks VIA

Just as Starbucks offers a fresh cup for blonde-, medium- and dark-roast drinkers, so they have in their instant offerings. Keep a packet of French or Italian Roast in your bag for a darker cup, Pike Place for that straight-up Starbucks medium-bodied brew, or go for Verandah if you like yours mellower. (You can even indulge with a Peppermint Mocha Latte variety.)

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