Making the case for instant coffee

Until the pandemic hit, I hadn’t given instant coffee a thought for years. I used instant espresso in baked goods on occasion, but the idea of actually drinking instant coffee did not cross my mind. Why would I do that when I have a world of flavorful, aromatic, high-quality coffee available at my fingertips? If my local supermarket did not carry it, it was easily available online from a number of sources.

Then lockdown happened, and as many bored people did during the first few weeks of staying at home, we stumbled upon the Dalgona coffee craze. Overnight instant coffee became cool. Still, no one really drank instant coffee as a regular hot beverage, right? Wrong, says Eater’s Angela Burke. She makes the case for drinking instant coffee.

When I first purchased instant coffee to try the Dalgona trend, removing the seal on the jar whisked me back to my childhood. The aroma of the dark brown crystals reminded me of my grandparents, who drank Sanka brand instant coffee every morning for breakfast. At the break of dawn, they would each drink a single cup of coffee before heading out for the morning’s chores on the farm. My grandfather, whose father had come over to the US as a young man, hewed to a European tradition while drinking his American coffee, pouring it into the saucer and sipping it from there. I am thankful to be reminded of those early mornings on the farm.

Burke, for her part, notes that instant coffee has come a long way since my grandparent’s Sanka, and draws our attention to some of the better brands available today. Although I still prefer the ritual of grinding fresh beans to make coffee in the morning, I have had a few cups of the instant stuff every now and again this year, each time drawing on the same wonderful memory.

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  • cookbookaddict2020  on  November 28, 2020

    I haven’t tried (or even heard of) Dalgona, but for sure the smell and taste of Nescafe brings me back to happy times spent in my grandma’s apartment in Tel Aviv years ago.

  • Rella  on  December 5, 2020

    I remember my grandfather “pouring it into the saucer and sipping it from there.” Although it was not instant, but regular coffee put into a pot on top of the wooden stove and allowed to settle. We would use these grounds again for another pot later. I cannot imagine where he got this ‘European tradition’ as it must have passed down by then several generations. This was around 1940.
    “Thanks for the Memory.”

  • Lem9579  on  December 23, 2020

    My mom has been drinking instant coffee all her life. As a matter of fact, it was the coffee I started drinking back in the day when I was a teen. Yes, a teen. I come from a coffee growing country where coffee is King! I don’t drink instant anymore but when my mom comes to visit I always have to buy her a jar of Nescafé.

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