The instant coffee vs ground coffee argument never crossed my mind until that morning. I was at the airport to drop my friend off for the first flight and it was a cold morning. All I could think about was a cup of joe. After sneaking into the passenger lounge, I found a breakfast spot that advertised coffee. For some reason, I thought I saw a coffee machine (hours of experiencing coffee machines doing their thing at Zuma Coffee is responsible for the optical illusion.)

As the waiter picked up the 3-in-1 instant coffee mix, I considered cancelling my order but the cold told me otherwise. I took the cup of steaming instant coffee from her, feeling a bit disappointed. This got me thinking about the difference between instant coffee and ground coffee. The other thing I questioned was my expectations and attitude.

Since when did I develop a preference for coffee to the point of sneering at my dear instant coffee?

Before Zuma Coffee, I was comfortable with my instant coffee mix. It seemed I was developing a preference – perhaps the acquired taste they speak of.

One coffee lover told me there is nothing more pleasant to their senses than starting the morning with that aroma of coffee that invades the house when you brew ground coffee. The only problem he found was because of his long weekly routines, there wasn’t much time to enjoy the ritual of grinding the coffee beans and going through the brewing process.
Cases like these are why we have options like instant coffee.

Instant Coffee powder in a mug

Instant Coffee vs Ground Coffee

instant coffee vs ground coffee
Coffee beans and Coffee powder

Instant coffee is coffee.

It is known by many names such as soluble coffee, coffee crystals, or coffee powder. What makes instant coffee so popular is its preparation method. All you need to do is add hot water, and in seconds, they have a cup of delicious coffee ready to go!

Ground coffee is roasted coffee beans that have been ground down to be brewed for coffee, much like flour is ground wheat to be used for baking. There are many ways of brewing your coffee, but they all require ground coffee beans and water. 

Before Zuma Coffee, 3-in-1 instant coffee was my go-to. Which is why I thought it was rich that I expected a coffee machine at the airport. So far, experimenting with instant coffee and ground coffee has revealed their differences to me.

I already have a winner for the instance coffee vs ground coffee quandary. 

Instant Coffee:

Instant Coffee in Sachets

It is convenient and quick to prepare.
It dissolves in hot water and does not need brewing equipment.
It has a long shelf life, which makes it resistant to deterioration.
It is ideal for on-the-go situations and travel.
It lacks the richness of flavours found in freshly ground coffee.
It has limited variety in terms of bean varieties and roast levels.

Ground Coffee:

A Spoon of Ground Coffee

It requires grinding before brewing, making the preparation process longer.
It has a rich aroma and flavour profile.
It offers a wide range of options in terms of coffee bean origins, varieties, and roast levels.
It needs additional equipment, such as a coffee grinder and a brewing device.
It has a shorter shelf life and is more prone to deterioration compared to instant coffee.

Are you getting a sense of a winner in this instant coffee vs ground coffee debate?

3 Interesting Reasons People Prefer Instant Coffee

Instant coffee is convenient and fast to prepare. It dissolves easily in hot water and does not require brewing equipment like coffee makers or grinders. This makes it a popular choice for the average person with a busy lifestyle.

Long Shelf Life:
Instant coffee has a longer shelf life compared to ground coffee. It is more resistant to deterioration from factors like air and light. It can be stored for long periods without compromising its flavour.

Consistent Flavor:
Speaking of flavours, instant coffee provides a consistent flavour profile from cup to cup. The production process involves creating a concentrated coffee extract that is then dried into powder. Unlike ground coffee, where brewing variables such as grind size, water temperature, and brew time can affect the taste, instant coffee offers a consistent flavour with each preparation.


It is safe to say there are no winners in this instant coffee vs ground coffee debate. One’s preference could change from moment to moment depending on several factors like lifestyle, time to prepare coffee and one’s flavour preference.
There are some health concerns with instant coffee mix because of the preservatives so be mindful of your consumption. See more information on that here.

Just like the espresso vs normal coffee debate, the instant coffee vs ground coffee debate has no clear winner.

Check out this easy-to-use coffee maker. You may also check out our Flair Espresso.

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Mom | Yoga Teacher | Coffee Blogger | Legal Mind.I explore coffee from farm to cup.

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