What Is Microground Coffee? (Is It Different To Instant?)

Last Updated on May 13, 2022 by John Moretti

The world of coffee is vast, and it seems that it is ever-expanding. It is almost impossible to keep up with all of the coffee variants available these days. If you have never heard of it before, microground coffee can be confusing, but it is here to make the life of every coffee lover better. If you are uninitiated with microground coffee, you have come to the right article!

Microground coffee is coffee beans that have been roasted very dark and ground so fine that they become water-soluble. Regular ground coffee does not dissolve in water, but microground does. Microground is typically combined with instant coffee to improve the taste of instant coffee brews. 

Microground coffee may be a part of your life already without you realizing it. It is more widely used than most people realize, and once you know where it is, you will be greater up that it is there. Microground coffee is everywhere these days, but let’s explore this type of coffee more to gain a better understanding of it and why many coffee lovers are grateful for it. 

What Exactly Is Microground Coffee?

If you have never heard of the term ‘microground coffee’ before, you may find yourself slightly confused. Most coffee lovers understand that grinding coffee beans too fine can be a problem and typically leads to over-extraction and bitter-tasting coffee. If very fine grinds are bad, what is microground coffee, and why do we drink it?

Microground coffee is coffee beans that are roasted very dark and ground so fine that they become dissolvable in water. Coffee beans are not naturally entirely dissolvable in water, which is why there are always leftover coffee grounds after brewing regular coffee. However, if you roast the beans dark enough and grind them fine enough, they can be entirely dissolved in water. 

This type of coffee is typically white bitter, and it can be very difficult to make it well. For these reasons, microground coffee is not typically brewed on its own but is usually combined with freeze-dried instant coffee for brewing. 

Most premium brand instant coffee makes use of microground coffee to elevate the flavor and boldness of instant coffee. Some combinations of instant coffee and microground coffee leave a layer of ground coffee at the bottom of the cup, which is one way to tell them apart from lower-quality instant coffee. 

Microground coffee makes instant coffee taste better, and instant coffee removes some of the harshness that comes along with brewing microground coffee. Most people who drink instant coffee state that brands that contain microground coffee tend to taste significantly better and closer to regular brewed coffee than instant coffee on its own. 

How Are Microground And Instant Coffee Different?

Photo of instant coffee

If microground coffee is roasted so dark and ground so fine that it can be dissolved in water, why do we not drink microground coffee as instant coffee? What is the difference between regular instant coffee and microground coffee?

Drinking pure microground coffee is not a very pleasant experience. The truth isn’t that grinding coffee beans extremely fine, to the point where they are so small that they dissolve in hot water, does not improve their taste but rather makes them taste very harsh and difficult to drink in most instances. 

Instant coffee is not ground coffee beans, but it is rather coffee that has been brewed with regular methods, filtered, and the subsequent brewed coffee is freeze-dried to remove all liquids and moisture from the brew. 

Thus, when water is reintroduced to the freeze-dried brew, it rehydrates and returns to its liquid coffee form. This is what makes it instant coffee. Instant coffee is very different from microground coffee. 

The issue with instant coffee is that the brewing, drying, and rehydration process tend to ruin the flavor of the beverage, which is why coffee lovers tend to steer away from instant coffee. 

However, adding microground coffee to instant coffee gives the beverage a flavor close to regular brewed coffee due to the presence of ground coffee beans in the brew. This is why microground combined with instant coffee tends to taste better and more like regular brewed coffee than freeze-dried instant coffee does on its own. 

Is Microground Coffee Good?

If most coffee lovers do not particularly enjoy the flavor of instant coffee, does microground coffee provide an alternative? What does microground coffee taste like when brewed?

The unfortunate truth is that microground coffee on its own can be harsh, bitter, and taste very over-extracted. This does not make for a pleasant cup of coffee. 

Microground coffee does not taste very good on its own, but when it is combined with something like instant coffee, the combination of flavors can mask the issues with microground and produce a better-tasting cup overall. 

It is possible to drink microground coffee on its own, but it must be of very good quality and brews well to taste better than average microground coffee. Combining this coffee with milk, milk alternatives, or sweetness such as sugar or syrup will help to improve the overall experience of drinking microground coffee. 

Is Microground Coffee In All instant Coffee?

If microground is such an improvement on instant coffee, do all instant coffee manufacturers use microground coffee beans in the instant coffee that they produce?

The unfortunate truth is not all instant coffee contains microground coffee. In fact, not all instant coffee is entirely coffee. Some poor-quality and low-grade instant coffee use a blend of brewed coffee to stretch the coffee, and others only use freeze-dried instant coffee without using any microground coffee beans to improve the brew. 

Only the high-end, premium instant coffee manufacturers combine instant coffee with microground coffee for improved brew flavor. All instant coffee can be improved with the addition of microground coffee beans, but only the most expensive instant coffees utilize this ingredient. 


Image of cup with residuals at the bottom

Microground coffee is a version of instant coffee that can taste closer to regular brewed coffee because it is made of ground coffee beans. This coffee can be very harsh and is usually used in conjunction with instant coffee for this reason. 

If your cup of instant coffee has some coffee grounds leftover at the bottom of the cup, it is a combination of instant coffee and microground coffee. This coffee is typically better-tasting than regular instant and tastes much closer to regular brewed coffee than other types of instant coffee, making it a better choice for lovers of coffee.