If you are a coffee aficionado and love cold or iced coffee, but due to a lack of time you don’t feel like you can let your cup of coffee brew and cool before running out the door for work in the mornings, instant coffee and cold water might be the magic combination for you.
While there is a common misconception that says you cannot make instant coffee without hot water, it turns out this isn’t the case. To learn more about the shortcut to make instant coffee with cold water for a delicious iced beverage, continue reading below.
How You Normally make Instant Coffee
Before attempting to make instant coffee with cold water, it is important to first understand how to make regular instant coffee and how the cold water process is similar and different. To make instant coffee, you should do the following:
- For one serving, mix two teaspoons of instant coffee powder with ½ cup water
- Heat the water and coffee mixture in the microwave
- Stir the coffee and water mixture until the coffee powder is dissolved
- Pour the mix into a heat-safe glass
The main difference between making instant coffee this way and with cold water is that it will take the instant coffee granules longer to dissolve in cold water, depending on which brand you choose. Instant coffee is not coffee grounds. It is actually coffee extract that has been brewed from regular coffee, dried, and ground into crystals. The molecular energy in hot water is what helps dissolve the crystals so quickly, but it is not necessary for the process. Once you’re a pro at making regular instant coffee, it is time to venture on to making iced instant coffee the quick way, with cold water.
The Taste of Cold Water Instant Coffee
While hot instant coffee aficionados claim that instant coffee made with cold water is not as tasty, there is no actual reason for the flavor profile of instant coffee to be any different due to its temperature in your coffee cup.
If any flavor differences are detectable, the instant coffee flavor might even feel fresher when made with cool water instead of hot water. The hot water takes some of the flavors away from the instant coffee, making it milder as the steam evaporates from the hot beverage. In cold drinks, the instant coffee is simply dispersed throughout the water when mixed evenly.
Instant Coffee vs. Cold Brew
When comparing instant coffee made with cold water to making your cold brew in the morning, the difference is the amount of time it takes to make each.
Instant coffee, as its name suggests, is practically instant. It’s so popular that it accounts for one-third of global coffee consumption. While the powder dissolves faster in hot water, making instant coffee with cold water is nearly as fast. To make cold instant coffee in the morning, just follow these few steps:
- Pour water into a glass or cup large enough for mixing with a small spoon
- Add your instant coffee packet slowly to the water
- OPTIONAL: Heat your spoon under hot water to speed up the dissolving process
- Mix the powder into the cold water until it dissolves, resting occasionally
- OPTIONAL: Get a second glass full of ice and pour the instant iced coffee on top
- Otherwise, grab your glass or coffee tumbler full of cold instant coffee, and you’re ready to go!
Making instant coffee this way with cold water will take you anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the brand of instant coffee you choose, how fine the powder is, and how long it takes to dissolve fully. Remember to stir vigorously; nobody likes grainy coffee!
If you want cold brew in the morning, you would typically mix coarse ground coffee and water and let it sit overnight in the fridge, then use a french press or some other method to separate the grounds from the water so you don’t have chunky cold brew… see detailed cold brew prep steps here.
However, if you’re in a hurry and want very quickly prepared cold coffee and you don’t want to used instant coffee, you can try this:
- Choose and grind your desired coffee beans
- Pour the ground up coffee beans into a coffee maker of your choice
- Brew your coffee in a French press, coffee pot, or Aeropress
- Pour your hot coffee into a heat-safe vessel
- Let your flavorful coffee cool to room temperature
- After your coffee is moderately cool, place it in the fridge to get colder
- Choose your favorite cold coffee glass and fill it with ice
- Pour your cold brew over ice
This is basically making hot coffee and then trying to cool it off quickly, before dumping over ice. Piping hot coffee over ice doesn’t usually go too well, as the coffee gets watered down very quickly as the ice will melt fast.
One creative alternative to this is to put coffee in an ice cube tray and have coffee ice cubes ready to go in your freezer.
This way, you can pour hot/warm coffee over frozen coffee cubes and get something that’s not so diluted.
Enjoy Instant Coffee Year-Round
If you are someone who loves smooth coffee year-round but wants to change up your instant coffee routine when the weather gets warmer, instant coffee with cool water is for you!