Instant Coffee Vs. Espresso Powder (Which Is Better?)

Last Updated on May 23, 2022 by John Moretti

Instant coffee and espresso powder may look similar and are even prepared the same way. Caffeine lovers adore their delicious taste too! However, you may wonder what the difference is between these two types of coffee powders?

Instant coffee is a more affordable coffee type: dehydrated ground coffee made from Arabica or Robusta beans mixed with hot water to make regular brewed coffee. Espresso powder is dark roast coffee made from high-quality beans brewed, dried, and ground very finely.

instant coffee vs espresso powder

Powdered coffee is among the best things to happen to coffee drinkers because it helps create a quick cup of coffee on the go! Although instant coffee and espresso powder share many similarities, these coffees are different. It’s important to first understand their further meaning before comparing them:

What Is Instant Coffee?

Photo of instant coffee powder in a jar, in tablespoon and in cup

Instant powdered coffee is made from ground coffee that has been dehydrated by brewing ground coffee and then removing the water to make powder. It is frequently freeze-dried or spray-dried. When you’re ready to brew, just stir it into some hot water. Instant coffee, in its name, you can prepare it instantly with low effort; therefore, it is great for a quick fix or even a camping trip!

Most instant coffees are made from Robusta beans, which have a more bitter flavor than Arabica coffee beans. Some well-known companies and coffee shop brands sell instant coffee made from Arabica beans with a less harsh flavor. When purchasing instant coffee, look out for the beans it’s made with to see the quality it offers, which will be a better taste.

What Is Espresso Powder?

espresso powder

Instant coffee powder is made the same as espresso powder, but it has a different flavor. Espresso is concentrated coffee, and the powdered version is the same. It has a bolder, more robust flavor than instant coffee. It also has a smoother texture. In comparison, instant coffee is thought to be harsh. 

Best of all, espresso powder can provide you with an instant shot or two of espresso without the need to tamp and pull shots or wait for a stovetop espresso maker to heat up. Powdered espresso is frequently made from higher-quality beans, such as Arabica blends which is why it is more expensive.

It is not widely consumed or available in supermarkets. However, you can order powdered espresso online from websites like Amazon. 

Differences Between Espresso Powder And Instant Coffee

The answers above alone prove just how different these coffees truly are. However, there is still so much more you need to know! Here are the coffee bean and caffeine differences between these two coffee types:

Coffee Beans Differences: Espresso Powder VS. Instant Coffee

When comparing the differences, the beans used to make instant coffee, or espresso powder are important to note. Arabica or Robusta beans can be used to make instant coffee, with the latter having twice the caffeine content of the former. 

Arabica beans produce sweet and soft coffee with beautiful berry, sugar, and fruit aromas. On the other hand, Robusta has been compared to a peanut-like aftertaste, but it is more bitter, harsher, and stronger. You can also make espresso powder at home; all you need is a coffee grounder or food processor if you have the necessary beans.

Caffeine Differences: Espresso Powder VS. Instant Coffee

The caffeine content of your espresso powder or instant coffee is determined by the coffee beans used to make it. In an 8-ounce cup, the caffeine content of instant coffee ranges from 27 mg to 173 mg, with the average being 66 mg. You can adjust the caffeine level by adding more or less instant coffee to the hot water.

Espresso powder contains less caffeine than instant coffee, which contains up to 90mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving. This value is still dependent on the type of coffee purchased, and it can be significantly lower, so check the details before purchasing coffee online. Experts recommend consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, so be sure to calculate how much you’re consuming.

Different Uses: Espresso Powder VS. Instant Powder

Instant coffee is used to make coffee, but it also has other interesting applications. Instant coffee, chocolate desserts, breakfast oatmeal, dry rubs, and marinades are all options. Instant coffee can also make baked goods, ice pops, and granola.

Although espresso powder is primarily intended for drinking, you will discover a whole new world when you realize all of the things you can do with it in the kitchen! It is most popular when baking by pastry chefs and bakers to make desserts like tiramisu, brownies, or banoffee pie because of its amazing taste and that it adds to intensifying that chocolate flavor. 

You can even combine espresso powder with spices to create a variety of flavors. It is no wonder that almost every baker and cook has a supply of espresso powder!

What is Better Espresso Powder Or Instant Coffee?

Ground Coffee Vs. Instant Coffee

You can use instant coffee or powdered espresso to get a caffeine boost at the office, at home, or while traveling. It is up to you to decide which one is best for you based on your taste preference. Instant coffee gives you a full cup of coffee to sip on, more control over how strong your cup of coffee is, has a soft and mild taste, and typically has more caffeine.

Instant espresso will have less caffeine and a darker, stronger flavor, but smoother and less harsh than instant coffee. Whichever option catches your eye and excites your taste buds, you can enjoy your coffee on the go!


Instant coffee and espresso powder, although highly similar, are different. These coffees are different in terms of their uses, caffeine content, and what type of beans they are made from. Instant coffee is more widely available in local supermarkets than espresso powder, so it’s more likely to be available online than in-store. 

Each coffee is quick, on the go, and has unique flavors. However, it is solely based on taste preference when choosing between them, so go now and enjoy a lovely cup of coffee!