In the words of Daft Punk, we always want things to be “better, faster and stronger” all the time. In the fast-paced world today, we always seek speed and efficiency, be it as students, young working professionals, or even just as the average joe. (As individuals who work in a startup, we also know this all too well.) But faster doesn’t always necessarily relate to being better, especially when it comes to coffee.
In this part of The Inconvenient Truth, we’ll tell you more about instant coffee, and why it isn’t actually the best type of coffee around. We’ve told you about Direct Trade and Fair Trade, as well as about the freshness of your coffee in our previous posts. Now, it’s time to add another piece of knowledge to your collection, as we journey with you, to #makecoffeebetter for you.
So you might be thinking, what exactly is so bad about instant coffee? It’s reasonably tasty, easy to prepare when you’re in a hurry, and does a pretty good job of waking you up. What’s there not to like?
For starters, instant coffee actually contains less caffeine than freshly brewed coffee. A cup of drip brewed coffee has about 115mg of caffeine, while an espresso shot has about 80mg of it. Instant coffee, on the other hand, contains only about 65mg of caffeine. So when you’re trying to wake up, it’s pretty obvious which option you should pick, isn’t it? In this case, instant coffee really isn’t all it’s chalked up to be. What’s more, people often over consume instant coffee in order to achieve that kick given how little caffeine it actually has in comparison to its counterparts. This in turn leads them to have their bodies pumped full of sugar, with the high they experience actually coming more from the sugar rather than the caffeine.
Which brings us to our next point – instant coffee is also full of sugar and harmful chemicals, unlike freshly brewed coffee. We’ve talked about the harmful effects too much sugar can bring about in previous posts (such as leaving you more vulnerable to diabetes and dehydration), and we’re sure that as conscious consumers, you wouldn’t want to treat your body that badly. What we haven’t talked about though (and feel the need to) is the chemicals present in instant coffee that may be harmful for you in the long run.
These chemicals inevitably get infused in instant coffee as it goes through the production process. We won’t go into the nitty-gritty of it, but basically how instant coffee is made is by extracting coffee aroma and flavor from coffee beans, before combining it with water. This concentrated liquid is then evaporated, spray-dried or freeze-dried in order to make the granulated powder that is instant coffee.
You can probably look up the entire process online if you’re interested, but what big companies won’t tell you about is the chemicals that get mixed into the coffee as the process carries on. The most prominent of these substances is acrylamide. This is formed in starchy foods when they are heated to and treated with high temperatures, and are found in high amounts in coffee especially. The chemical is a cumulative neurotoxin, which basically means that consuming these (accidentally) in high amounts could decrease fertility and cause damage to one’s central nervous system. Of course, we’re not saying you’ll drop dead after drinking instant coffee for a few months, but in the long run, this could be a concern to think about.
To make matters worse, there’s also the problem of how manufacturers often are not careful enough with the whole production process. Sometimes, dirt and other substances such as twigs and dust get mixed into the coffee as the process goes on. Obviously, this isn’t the best for your health either (not to mention gross).
If you’ve read till this point, thanks for sticking with us! We know it’s not easy to digest these long posts, but we hope they’ve proved insightful and helpful as you try to make your coffee better for yourself.
Or if you are not entirely convinced, do drop by our pop up at TANGS orchard, and have a cup of freshly brewed coffee on us. And we promise you, you will taste the difference.
Stay tuned for our next instalment! We promise it’ll be just as painless.
The Hook Team