Posted in Kafevend Blog
A quick search for instant coffee will bring up either: a range of choices for low, low prices at your favourite supermarket, or a great number of forum topics where folk ask others for the best type of instant. Opinions and responses vary- they range from suggesting this brand or that brand, to the typically more bileful response from those who have ascended to the lofty heights of buying whole beans and grinding their own. Despite my aversion to folks who acquire some sort of high ground via the acquisition of coffee beans, they do have a point- why is instant coffee so popular if the taste is meant to be so inferior?
The most obvious point is the sheer ease of making coffee using instant- small granules that dissolve, funnily enough, instantly, can leave you with a cup of coffee made in about a minute, depending on how good your kettle is. Compare that to the five to ten minutes of carefully measuring out a certain amount of ground coffee per cup, making sure the water is just off the boil and then leaving it to stew in a cafetiere or drip away through a filter. Not exactly an optimum process for the fellow in a hurry!
Developed over several years and by different individuals and groups (David Strang in 1890, Sartori Kato in 1901 to name a couple of the more influential contributors), instant coffee became popular due to the convenience it represented. It was also a big hit amongst troops in both of the world wars. In 1910 George Washington (no relation) began mass production of instant coffee in America, and a cup of George was a comfort to American soldiers in the trenches during WW1. During WW2, Nescafe had to ramp up production to meet the increased demand.