Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee 

When it comes to satisfying a caffeine craving, espresso powder, and instant coffee are two options that many people turn to for a quick and easy fix. While these two products may look similar at first glance, they actually have some distinct differences that set them apart.

Espresso powder is a concentrated form of coffee typically used for baking or cooking, as it adds a rich flavor to recipes. And instant coffee is a convenient option for those who want to make a quick cup of coffee without the hassle of brewing a pot as it dissolves quickly in hot water.

In this guide, I will dive deep into the difference between Espresso powder vs instant coffee, Understanding these differences can help you choose the right product for your needs, whether you’re looking for a quick drink or adding coffee flavor to your recipes.

Espresso Powder vs Instant coffee

Is espresso powder the same as instant coffee?

While both Espresso powder and Instant coffee look similar, they have some differences.

Espresso powder has a more potent taste than instant coffee due to its higher concentration. And it is generally used for cooking or baking purposes not for the coffee drinks.

In contrast, instant coffee is made from brewed coffee, which results in a milder and less concentrated taste. Additionally, instant coffee is a quicker and more affordable option, making it a popular choice for those looking for a quick caffeine fix.

What is Espresso powder, and how is it made? 

Espresso powder is a popular ingredient in baking and cooking, as it can add a rich, deep coffee flavor to cakes, brownies, sauces, and other dishes.

The process of making Espresso powder typically involves roasting coffee beans to a specific degree of darkness, grinding the beans into a fine powder, and brewing the powder in an espresso machine to produce a highly concentrated shot of espresso.

The espresso shot is then dehydrated by either freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, resulting in a fine powder that can be used as a flavoring agent or ingredient in a variety of recipes.

 “Espresso has the same bold, bittersweet flavor as chocolate, So adding it to recipes that are chocolate-forward will punctuate the flavor of the cocoa and kick it up a notch.”

Martha Stewart

Can you Drink Espresso Powder?

Espresso powder is not the best choice for preparing coffee drinks as it will produce a bitter drink without any complex coffee flavors, however, it is best for baking purposes.

Even though you can technically dissolve it in water for drinking, espresso powder is really not for ideal for your morning latte. It is primarily used by bakers for flavoring cookies, cakes, and more. 


What is Instant coffee, and how is it made?

Instant coffee is a convenient option for coffee drinkers who want a quick and easy cup of coffee without the need for a coffee maker or coffee grounds.

Just like regular coffee, instant coffee is made by roasting and grinding coffee beans, then passing hot water through the ground coffee to create a concentrated liquid. Afterward, the liquid coffee is dried through freeze-drying or spray-drying.

After the coffee powder has been dried, it can be packaged as instant coffee and sold.

The quality of instant coffee can vary depending on the quality of the coffee beans used, the brewing process, and the drying method.

Some brands of instant coffee use high-quality beans and carefully control the production process to create a product that closely resembles freshly brewed coffee. Other brands may use lower-quality beans to cut costs, resulting in a product that may have a weaker or less desirable taste.

According to “Instant coffee accounts for 13 percent of all coffee drunk worldwide and Most instant coffee is made from Robusta beans grown in Vietnam”.

Nescafe is the top brand in Instant coffee industry and popularized this convenient coffee in 1938 for busy coffee lovers.

Instant coffee

Instant Coffee Vs Espresso | The Differences

There are two options for quick coffee: instant coffee and powdered espresso. Here are some differences between the two

Taste flavor and aroma

Instant coffee is not known for its great taste compared to freshly brewed coffee. It is meant for people who are on the go and don’t have time to brew a proper cup of coffee.

Generally, instant coffee has a more bitter taste with a slightly acidic and roasted flavor.

On the other hand, the espresso powder doesn’t taste good either in coffee drinks. It has a very strong and concentrated coffee flavor that is more suited for flavoring and baking purposes.

We don’t recommend using it for your daily cup of joe. It’s super strong and made to accent baking recipes, but in a pinch, it will do. Simply add 1 tablespoon of the powder to 4 Tablespoons hot water.


The Caffeine Content

Espresso powder typically has a higher caffeine content than instant coffee, as it is made from concentrated espresso that has been dried and ground into a powder.

The exact amount of caffeine in espresso powder can vary depending on the brand and type, but it generally contains about 60-80 milligrams of caffeine per teaspoon.

Instant coffee, on the other hand, has a lower caffeine content than espresso powder. The amount of caffeine in instant coffee can vary depending on the brand and type, but it generally contains about 30-60 milligrams of caffeine per teaspoon.

Coffee Beans

Instant coffee is famous among those who want a quick drink without spending too much money on coffee. That is why it’s typically made from Robusta beans, cheaper than Arabica beans.

Robusta beans also contain more caffeine than Arabica beans, which gives instant coffee its characteristic strong, bitter taste.

However, some instant coffees may also contain a blend of both Robusta and Arabica beans for a more balanced flavor profile.

In Contrast, Espresso powder is typically made from darkly roasted coffee beans, which are either Arabica or a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.

Espresso powder is typically used for baking

Espresso powder is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of desserts to add a rich, deep coffee flavor. Here are some simple use cases for espresso powder in baking:

  1. Chocolate desserts: Espresso powder is commonly used in chocolate-based desserts, such as brownies, cakes, and cookies, to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. The strong, bitter notes of the espresso powder help balance the sweetness of the chocolate and create a more complex flavor profile.
  2. Tiramisu: Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert that consists of layers of ladyfingers (sponge-like biscuits), soaked in Espresso and liqueur, and a creamy filling made with mascarpone cheese, sugar, and eggs.
  3. Cakes: Espresso powder is a popular ingredient in many cake recipes. It has a deep coffee flavor that pairs well with the flavors of chocolate, caramel, and other rich ingredients commonly used in cakes.
  4. Ice Creams: Some popular ice cream recipes that use espresso powder include coffee ice cream, chocolate espresso ice cream, and Vanilla ice cream.
  5. Rubs and marinades: Espresso powder can be a great addition to rubs and marinades for meat dishes, especially beef, and pork. Espresso powder has a rich, deep coffee flavor that pairs well with the flavors of grilled or roasted meat.
Coffee cake

Final thoughts on Espresso Powder vs Instant coffee

The taste and flavors are key components of any coffee drink. As a coffee lover, I always prefer using fresh coffee beans for a perfect cup of coffee, However, instant coffee may be a more convenient option for busy people.

And the Espresso powder is only good for baking desserts or sweet dishes.

Overall, both espresso powder and instant coffee can be useful ingredients to have on hand in the kitchen, depending on the specific recipe and quick cup of coffee.

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Can You substitute instant coffee for espresso powder?

Yes, you can substitute instant coffee for espresso powder in most recipes. However, it’s important to note that Espresso powder is typically stronger than instant coffee.
So, if you’re using instant coffee as a substitute for espresso powder, you may need to adjust the amount to achieve the desired flavor in your recipe.

Is espresso powder stronger than instant?

Yes, espresso powder is generally stronger than instant coffee in flavor and caffeine content. Espresso powder is made from highly concentrated shots of espresso, resulting in more potent flavors.
Instant coffee is made by drying simple brewed coffee into a powder that results in milder and less intense flavors.

are instant espresso and espresso powder the same

Yes, Instant Espresso and Espresso powder are the exactly same thing. Companies may use the terms “instant espresso” and “espresso powder” interchangeably to refer to the same product, which is a fine powder made from dehydrated espresso shot.

Can You Make Espresso with Instant Coffee?

While you cannot prepare rich and dense espresso shots with a thick layer of Crema using instant coffee powder, you can make espresso-like coffee by increasing the coffee to water ratio.
Here’s a detailed guide on making Espresso with instant coffee

Johny Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.