How to make espresso with instant coffee (Easy Recipe!)

Photo of author

Johny Morrisson

Low on espresso but need a pick-me-up? No fancy machine required – you can actually brew up espresso using just instant coffee!

Now before the purists protest, I know it won’t be quite as thick and intense as a true moka pot or machine-pulled shot. But this clever instant coffee Espresso hack can definitely give you a powerful, concentrated caffeine boost in a pinch.

How to Make Espresso With Instant Coffee

can you make espresso with instant coffee?

You can’t make Authentic Espresso with instant coffee that has a layer of Crema, and a rich and dense taste. However, it is possible to make a good instant coffee drink that tastes similar to espresso.

Although this Espresso Instant coffee may not appeal to Coffee enthusiasts, but you can at least make a better drink this way using instant coffee all without a fancy Espresso machine.

You can’t add Instant coffee powder to the Espresso machine as Espresso machines only work perfectly with fresh coffee grounds.

Hook to the end to get your go-to tips!

Espresso Instant Coffee Recipe

Here's how to make Espresso with Instant coffee at home without the need for expensive equipment or long preparation times.
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 3kcal
Author: Johny Morrisson


  • Instant coffee
  • Hot water
  • Sugar or Milk (Optional)


  • 2 – 4 tbsp Instant Coffee
  • 1 or 2 oz Hot water
  • Milk (As per taste)
  • Sugar or Sweetner (As per taste)


  • Add two tablespoons of instant coffee for a solo Espresso shot or 4 tablespoons for a doppio shot to a cup.
    Instant coffee and Water
  • Boil the water and add 1 oz for a solo shot or 2 oz for a double shot in the cup.
    Tip: For a smoother texture, mix instant coffee with cold water before adding hot water. This will help to prevent the burnt flavors from coffee and give it a more mellow flavor.
  • Stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds and your Espresso instant coffee is ready.
  • Enjoy the Espresso as it is or add more water or milk to prepare Americno or Latte.

You can certainly drink this instant espresso on its own, but I’d recommend adding steamed or frothed milk to turn it into a tasty latte.

The dairy mellows out the flavor and makes it more palatable. While instant will never be as velvety and complex as true espresso, the milk creates a nicer drinking experience.

You can also make an americano by topping the instant espresso with hot water.

How do you make instant coffee as good as espresso?

The taste of instant coffee is nowhere compared to real coffee beans.

But yeah! Sometimes we get stuck with instant coffee or it can be a good option to make coffee while traveling or on camping trips.

In that case here are some tips to make the taste of instant coffee better.

1) Use Quality Instant Coffee

Always choose high-quality instant coffee and make sure it is made of 100% Arabica beans.

Buy instant coffee from trustworthy brands like Nescafe or Folgers.

Premium instant coffee brands often have strict quality control measures in place to ensure that each batch of coffee is consistent in flavor and aroma.

Nescafe coffee

2) Make Instant Americano

Follow the steps I have mentioned above to make concentrated Espresso-like shots from instant coffee. Then Pour Hot over it to make an Instant Americano drink.

Dissolving instant coffee granules in a small amount of hot water before adding the full volume is my go-to way for coaxing out the best flavors from Instant coffee. This simple technique results in a surprisingly complex and flavorful coffee drink.

3) Prepare frothed milk

If you want a cafe-quality drink, froth your milk before mixing it with the instant coffee. A layer of airy, silky foam refines the mouthfeel and taste of your drink.

If you don’t have a frother, Simply pour milk into a jar, tightly seal the lid, and vigorously shake for 30-60 seconds until the milk becomes foamy. Or use a blender for 15 seconds on high for the same effect.

Latte with frothed milk

Espresso vs Instant Coffee (How are they Different?)

Espresso is basically a brewing process where pressurized hot water is passed over fine coffee grounds to produce concentrated espresso shots.

While, instant coffee is made from coffee beans that are roasted, ground, and then brewed into a liquid. This liquid is then dehydrated, creating a fine powder or granules that can be easily dissolved in hot water to make a coffee drink instantly.

There are some major differences between both types of coffee:

1. Brewing Method   

Instant coffee is not brewed with any specified method. You just have to dissolve the instant coffee powder in hot water or milk to prepare your drink.

Espresso is brewed with a pressurized extraction process that gives your drink a more fresh and intense taste. You can’t brew an authentic Espresso shot without a machine and Espresso machines are generally very expensive.

2. Concentration and Quality  

Espresso is a highly concentrated drink. It is characterized by its rich, bold flavor, with notes of caramel, chocolate, and a slightly bitter finish.

The flavor profile of instant coffee is typically duller and bitter than that of freshly brewed coffee, with much less complexity and depth.

I personally never liked the taste of instant coffee and I am sure most coffee lovers don’t like it either.

Also Read: Why is my espresso bitter

3. Caffeine and Calories   

A typical serving (8 oz) of instant coffee has a caffeine content of 60-80 mg while a single shot of Espresso (1-1.25 oz) also has more or less the same amount of caffeine.

The Calories in Espresso and Instant coffee are almost negligible if you drink them straight without the addition of milk or sugar.

Check out: Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee

Final Thoughts

In all honesty, instant coffee is probably the easiest way to make coffee at home without the use of fancy equipment.

Surely you can’t make an authentic espresso shot with a rich and dense taste out of instant coffee, but you can make the taste of instant coffee better by following the tips mentioned in this article.

Have your own Espresso instant coffee tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear how you take your fake espresso – do you mix in milk, ice, or other ingredients?

Also Read: How to make Espresso in a French Press


Is Instant Coffee Stronger Than Espresso?

No, instant coffee is not stronger than espresso. Espresso is generally considered to be the strongest and most concentrated form of coffee.
Instant coffee is a diluted form of coffee and it gets more diluted when you add milk, water, or additives.

What is the Difference between coffee grounds and Instant coffee?

Coffee grounds are fine or coarse powder made from freshly roasted beans. These grounds are steeped in hot water to extract flavors and after brewing the coffee grounds are discarded.
On the other hand, Instant coffee is a preserved form that is completely dissolved in water or milk to prepare a drink. It is prepared by dehydrating brewed coffee.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating