There’s nothing like a good, strong espresso powder to help you get the perfect chocolate flavor in a recipe that calls for mocha flavoring. Unfortunately, not all espresso powders are created equally, and here is an overview of what exactly espresso powder is, as well as some of the absolute best espresso powders out there:
What is espresso powder? Espresso powder is concentrated, extremely dark coffee crystals that are specially created to dissolve instantly in liquid. Espresso powder is usually not for making your morning Frappuccino, although you could probably get away with doing so, depending on your tastes and equipment. Espresso powder is primarily for use in baked goods, like cakes, cookies, pies, and more.
What I look for in an espresso powder:
- A subtle sweetness. I like to have the acidity and bitterness in my espresso powder balanced out. No one wants acidity or bitter espresso, especially me. I especially like espresso powder that reminds me of hot chocolate, although not all my favorites taste this way and they still work well when paired with chocolate.
- Flavors that blend nicely. I try to imagine how it would taste in my cake or other dessert.
- A reasonable price. I don’t want to go broke buying espresso powder, regardless of how good it tastes. My motto is if it tastes delicious and it’s expensive, I can find another brand that tastes just as good for a more affordable price.
- I like to research espresso powder brands, and if they have an interesting story, I’ll give them a try at least once. This is how I discovered some of my favorites.
- I like attractive packaging. While I have purchased espresso powders that had not-so-attractive packaging, a unique and artistic package usually attracts me.
- I prefer espresso powders that are dissolved instantly in liquid. I don’t have time for powder that you have to let sit for a while before it dissolves.
I love baking with a passion. With as many chocolate and mocha flavored recipes that I make on a regular basis, you wouldn’t believe that I prefer vanilla-flavored desserts. However, when it comes to using espresso powder in my chocolate-based recipes, the espresso brings out the flavor so much that I temporarily forget all about my vanilla favorites. Here is an overview of 3 of my “everyday” favorites.
Best Everyday Espresso Powders
King Arthur Espresso Powder
I have tried my fair share of espresso powders, and this one is one of the best out of the many others I’ve tried. Here are the pros and cons:
- Convenient – This espresso powder is ready to use right out of the container. You don’t have to dissolve it first, you simply put it right in the recipe, and voila! It’s like magic! That’s how espresso powder is supposed to be.
- Good taste – It really brings out the chocolate flavor in my double chocolate chip cookies and gives them that perfect chocolate mocha flavor that I love. These cookies always go quickly in my house. They always seem to “disappear.”
- Well-known brand – I have used King Arthur’s products for years and I know they’re dedicated to producing healthy, high-quality products. Not only are their products healthy and high-quality, but they’re also delicious!
- The taste isn’t always rich – Compared to other instant espresso powders, the taste of this choice is delicious. However, in comparison to the many other brands available, the taste isn’t always the best. While I liked the way it enhanced the flavor of my double chocolate chip cookie recipe, it didn’t do much for my flourless chocolate cake.
Nescafe Instant Espresso Coffee
This is actually not an actual espresso powder, although I use it specifically for baking. I have tried using it to make my morning cup of espresso, and although it tastes pleasant, I have my favorites that I like to stick with. Here are the pros and cons:
- Taste is the best – When it comes to instant espressos, taste is very important, because, from my experience, not all of them are flavorful. However, Nescafe Instant Espresso Coffee is creamy and delicious. My sister is addicted to the chocolate pies I make using this espresso powder.
- Made with high-quality ingredients – Unlike some of theother instant espresso powders, this particular choice is made from 100% Arabia beans.
- High caffeine – This espresso powder is high in caffeine and can give you an instant jolt of energy. Not all instant espresso powders provide this, but Nescafe sure does. After a piece of homemade pie made with this espresso powder, I’ve got plenty of energy!
- Cheap packaging – The only con I can come up with for the Nescafe Instant Espresso is the fact that the packaging is cheap and can be easily damaged. There is nothing really negative about this choice.
Delallo Instant Espresso Powder
I’m not sure why I didn’t put this one on the top of my list, because it’s my absolute favorite. Here is an overview of its pros and cons:
- Delicious flavor –I prefer baking with Delallo Instant Espresso Powder because it really enhances the flavor of my chocolate cake and frosting. I actually won a baking contest with a cake made using this powder.
- Dissolves easily – In my opinion, this espresso powder is one of the best because of how quickly it dissolves. It works optimally for baking because it dissolves almost immediately.
- Allergy–friendly – I have many food allergies and sensitivities, so having an instant espresso powder that is allergy-friendly and gluten free is convenient.
- I can’t think of any cons for this one! Everything about it is perfect.
Best Espresso Powders from Around the World
Even though I love high-class, gourmet products, I know where to find the best espresso powders from around the world, at non-gourmet prices. I have compiled a list of the 3 of the best international choices I’ve tried so far:
Civilized Coffee Company Grande Espresso Powder
I decided to try this espresso powder one day when the one I was looking for wasn’t available. I was pretty impressed with the flavor, and the fact that it’s from Colombia was interesting. Here is a list of the pros and cons of this particular espresso powder.
- Intoxicating fragrance – Grande Espresso Powder Espresso powder has one of the best fragrances ever. I don’t know what the manufacturer does to the beans while roasting and grinding them, but as soon as I open the packaging, I can literally taste this powder. And when it’s baking in my dessert of the day, I feel like salivating.
- Affordable – Whenever I can find this espresso, I’m always astounded by how affordable it is. I may buy multiple containers of it next time, so I don’t have to drive so far to purchase it.
- Inconsistent flavor – The first couple times I used this espresso powder, I got the best flavor with everything that I baked. However, I have ordered the same, exact flavor a third or fourth time and I noticed that the flavor was different and kind of flat tasting. I always use the same amount, so that isn’t the issue.
- Difficult to find locally – I have a difficult time finding this espresso powder at local stores. I usually have to order it online and it seems to take forever to arrive.
Wired Possum Brazilian Espresso Powder
This espresso powder was discovered by accident. I’m not sure how it ended up in my cart, but I got it from the store one day and instead of taking it back, I decided to give it a try. Boy, am I ever glad I did! Here is a list of the pros and cons of this specific powder:
- Out-of-this-world taste – I think the only reason this isn’t my number one choice overall is because I had already fallen in love with other brands. However, for Brazilian espresso powder, this brand really exceeded my expectations. Just the smell makes me feel like I’m eating a piece of chocolate cake with hints of mocha, toffee, and brown sugar flavors.
- Easy to obtain – This brand is quite easy to order in bulk online, and it arrives quickly and without any issues.
- Affordable – As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about saving money while still purchasing great-tasting, high-quality powders. This one is definitely affordable, which makes me very happy.
- Container size – Even though I can purchase this powder for less than $5 a container, the package is so small, I use it quickly! Buying in bulk is the only way I can save, but I don’t like to stock up on so many of one brand, since I’m always trying new ones.
Medaglia D’oro Espresso Style Instant Coffee
This Italian-made espresso is another brand that isn’t actual espresso powder, but it works great for my baking. Here are the pros and cons of using Medaglia D’oro Espresso Style Instant Coffee in your baking:
- Cheap – This espresso powder—or instant espresso—is quite affordable. In fact, it’s the cheapest espresso powder on the entire list.
- Taste is nice – This espresso powder has a nice taste, but it’s certainly not the absolute best. You get what you pay for, right?
- Flavors my goodies just right – Despite the fact that this powder isn’t super potent when it comes to flavor, it still manages to bring out the immense chocolate and mocha flavors in all my baked goods.
- Not memorable – Again, this espresso powder isn’t really a powder, but an instant espresso. Its taste isn’t all that memorable. Sure, it has a nice taste, but there are so many other powders and instant espressos that have way more flavor. Medaglia D’oro mostly made my list because of the price. It’s certainly a good backup.
Best Organic Espresso Powders
I have always tried to purchase as many organic foods, drinks, and baking products as possible. Frankly, organic is more expensive and not always worth it. However, I do like the idea of using “healthier” items in my cooking and baking, so I have tried several organic espresso powders. Although I don’t purchase organic espresso powder very often, unless I find it on sale, I have compiled a list of some favorites. Here is an overview of three of my favorite organic espresso powders.
Homemade Baking Organic Espresso Powder
I discovered this powder while shopping online one day. The price was reasonable, so I decided to give it a try. Here are the pros and cons of this choice:
- Versatile – This espresso powder is so versatile that I use it for more than just baking. I’ve used it as a rub on my ribs and chicken, which gives it a flavor that is out of this world! I have also used it in my morning smoothies, and it enhances the flavor of both chocolate and vanilla-based smoothies.
- Heavenly aroma – When you open the package, the smell of this powder is utterly intoxicating, and even more so when I’ve added some to some brownies and then smell them while they’re baking. Sometimes I feel like my chocolate mocha fix has been satisfied simply by the aroma.
- Organic, high–quality ingredients – Of course, I must reiterate the fact that this espresso powder is made from the finest, organic coffee beans.
- Not available locally – My local health food stores and finer supermarkets don’t carry this product, forcing me to order it online and pay for shipping. I also hate the wait for it to arrive.
Anthony’s Organic Espresso Baking Powder
A friend recommended that I try this powder, and after she gave me a sample of hers, I was convinced to purchase my own. Here is a list of the pros and cons of this powder:
- It doesn’t require much – With other espresso powders, I have found it necessary to use as much as 2-3 tablespoons of powder to achieve my desired taste. However, with Anthony’s, I only need to use ½ teaspoon at most, depending on what I’m baking. This is due to the super concentration of the beans.
- Affordable – Since I don’t have to use much of this powder in my baking, it lasts twice, or even three times as long as other powders. So, even though Anthony’s is more expensive than other powders, since it lasts so much longer, I’m actually saving money.
- Trusted – I have used many of Anthony’s other baking products for years, and I know that they’re not only organic, but they’re also certified gluten-free.
- More expensive locally – I can easily find this product in local health food stores, however, it’s nearly twice the price of what it costs online! Therefore, I try not to run out, but if I do, I simply order online and wait for it to arrive. It’s worth the wait!
The Final Word
Hopefully, this overview will give you a sense of which espresso powders are the best and which ones are subpar. As long as you’re willing to spend a bit of time doing some taste-testing and some recipe experimentation, you will undoubtedly find your favorites, just as I have.