Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Barry Gray
As part of my quest to experience coffee in as many different ways as possible, it means I am willing to try some things that people may never have thought about. One such experiment is determining if I can make instant coffee when I only have cold water.
Now, I know you may be questioning why I would do this, but I just love trying to determine how to get different flavors from coffee. So, what happened?
Yes, you can make instant coffee when you only have cold water, and it will still produce some type of coffee that you can indeed drink. However, it will take longer for the granules to dissolve, so some patience is required to ultimately get something that will not have granules floating on the water.
But that’s my quick and simple answer to this question, and there’s always more to contend with than anticipated. So, here is everything I came across and managed to learn when checking out if it was possible to make instant coffee when mixed with cold water.
Why Make Instant Coffee With Cold Water?
Before I take you through what happens when you try mixing those instant coffee granules with cold water, let me answer the question as to why you may wish to do this.
I feel the rise in popularity of iced coffee plays a role in all of this. More and more people are looking at ways to drink cool coffee.
In a sense, making instant coffee with cold water falls into the same category.
You can actually sit there and imagine what it’s like to drink a hot cup of coffee on a hot day. It’s not always the most attractive thing to do.
However, by making your coffee cold, you still manage to get your caffeine fix, and that’s something we pretty much all need.
How Does Instant Coffee Dissolve in Cold Water?
As I set out to test how instant coffee would perform when mixed with cold water, I did wonder if it would struggle to dissolve.
This was because all of the different instant coffee brands out there talk about mixing it with hot water, and surely we should always follow the instructions, right?
I had this idea that I would add the water to the granules, and it would basically lead to them floating on the top. That would be a real concern because who wants that as it means you aren’t really getting your coffee.
So, what did I find?
I was surprised that the instant coffee did indeed dissolve, but I admit it took longer than it does when using hot water. I timed it at one point, and it took over 5 minutes of stirring for the granules to dissolve.
That is a big difference compared to hot water, where it really does feel as if it’s an instant thing. In a sense, cold water does require more patience, but is it even worth it in the end?
It Can Take Longer
But here’s another point I need to stress. This idea of making a cold brew can take significantly longer if you want to really allow the coffee granules to infuse with the water.
At times, it may involve you making the drink and then leaving it in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours before drinking it.
I know that can be a pain and does require some forward planning, but I will take you through the process to help you decide if it’s something you want to do.
The key is to let the coffee granules effectively soak. By doing this, it makes a difference to the flavor as more flavor will be released over time rather than you trying to rush the process.
What I’ve also discovered during my own experiment is that refrigerating it for at least 8 hours does manage to reduce any bitter taste that can pop up in your coffee. This could change everything for people who do not enjoy the bitter taste.
But what replaces the bitter notes that can emanate from coffee? Well, soaking the mixture overnight produces a more balanced cold coffee, but I understand it’s just a long time to sit and wait for the coffee to brew.
Another Tip: It’s Easier to Digest
This is closely linked to the fact the bitterness is reduced in coffee, as it also means there’s less acidity in the drink.
I know some people do find it easier to digest this coffee thanks to the reduced acidity, and that’s clearly a great thing. You could easily find you have fewer problems with bloating or any other digestive issue if you allow your coffee to soak for this length of time.
Can I Speed Up the Dissolving Process?
If you want things to go quicker, then I did find a way that allows you to speed up the process but still end up with cold coffee. However, I admit it’s a bit of a cheat but stay with me for a moment.
The key is to use a very small amount of hot water to initially dissolve those instant coffee granules and then use cold water to complete the drink.
By doing this, you allow the hot water to do the main job of dissolving. Still, I’m only talking about 10% of the entire liquid in the drink, with the other 90% being cold water.
With that kind of combination, it does mean you will still have a cold coffee, but you get it almost instantly.
What Does Instant Coffee and Cold Water Taste Like?
What does all of this taste like? Again, I was concerned that something would be lacking from a taste perspective. Still, it seems that instant coffee and cold water managed to deliver a decent enough drink once again.
I was taken aback by the fact I could still really taste the coffee. My instant coffee actually seemed to have a few more layers to the flavor that I hadn’t noticed before, so it seemed as if the cold water helped.
My coffee also came across as being lighter to the taste. I know it took me some time to get over the fact I was drinking the instant coffee with cold water, but once I dealt with that, it did mean it was a nice enough cup of coffee.
How to Make the Perfect Instant Coffee with Cold Water
I know this will vary from person to person, and I get we all have our own personal preferences. However, here’s a simple recipe and guide that I feel anybody could follow and still be happy with the end results.
- Get some cold water. Between 250ml and 300ml is perfect
- If you use sugar, then have some ready to add
- Add your instant coffee to a glass
- Add the water and start stirring to dissolve the granules
- Prepare to keep stirring for at least 5 minutes for it to work
- Once the granules have dissolved, add your sugar and stir
- If you want to add ice, then now is the time to do it
- Stir again and enjoy
As you can see, it’s difficult to make a mess of this, and the only issue is it does take longer than it would typically take to make regular instant coffee.
Can You Add Milk to Your Cold Brew?
In my recipe above, I didn’t mention milk, so are there any issues with adding milk to the equation?
The answer is a resounding no, and it all comes down to your own individual preferences and tastes. If you do want to add milk, then I would pour some in at the same time as adding the sugar.
However, one thing I did realize was that there was less need for as much sugar in my coffee and also less milk, as that bitterness wasn’t hitting me to the same extent with the coffee.
So, with less bitterness in the coffee, there’s also less need to add as much sugar to counteract it. Yet, I know some people struggle to consume coffee without any sugar and milk, but perhaps go easy on it at first, or you may make it far too sweet.
Did I Like My Cold Brew?
But what did I think of this cold brew with instant coffee?
I didn’t think it was as bad as I had initially feared. I did enjoy the taste of the coffee, and I noticed a change in bitterness compared to when I used hot water with the exact same instant coffee.
That was fascinating to me, and it has encouraged me to mess around with temperatures and coffee to see the difference it can make.
But I know using hot water is still my favorite, but if it’s a hot day, then making a still relatively quick cold brew is something I could go ahead and do once again.
My Recap on Making Instant Coffee with Cold Water
I’ve shown how it’s entirely possible to make instant coffee with cold water, but as I’ve covered a number of important things, here’s my recap on the main points.
- It is easy to make instant coffee with cold water
- It does take longer to dissolve the granules
- You can brew it overnight in your refrigerator
- It reduces the bitterness in the coffee
- You can speed everything up by using a small amount of hot water
- It can be the perfect summer drink and still get your caffeine fix
- You can easily add ice after everything is mixed together
I think more people should be willing to give this combination a shot. It does produce a better coffee than you are perhaps worrying about, and I know I wish I had tried it earlier.
You certainly can make instant coffee with only cold water, but be prepared to wait a few minutes before the drink is ready. However, it will still give you flavor, and it’s along the same lines as any other cold iced brew.
If you love an iced coffee from any of the coffee chains, then this drink may appeal to you. I think you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot, and it may end up being one of your favorite summer coffee drinks at home.