Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee

You might be going through your favorite coffee sites (like ours) and notice the word ‘’espresso’’ repeatedly appearing in several topics. Only for you to see instant coffee being talked about, and you get even more confused. 

Is there any clear-cut difference between espresso and instant coffee? Can these terms be used interchangeably? Relax, as we can assure you that you are not the only one who asks these questions. Most people tend to mix up both words without knowing which is which.

This article will answer all questions revolving around espresso powder and instant coffee, from what espresso powder and instant coffee are, what beans are used in both to their respective caffeine content.

Hopefully, when you are done reading, you’ll have all your questions answered. Who knows, you might even get enough content from here to help you make more informed decisions when making your next order.

What Is Espresso Powder?

Going first, we’ve got espresso powder. It is almost impossible that you have not come across the word ‘’espresso’’ before. Be it during a random conversation with friends about coffee or on a Starbucks menu, the odds that you have not come across espresso are very low.

So what exactly is espresso powder? To answer that, we have to explain what espresso is before we get to the powder part. An espresso is a form of coffee that is full-flavored and concentrated. It is made by passing pressurized hot water through ground coffee beans using an espresso machine.

Espresso powder is what you get when you grind the brewed, and dried coffee beans. Often, espresso powder is also referred to as espresso crystals. Espresso powder has a somewhat high amount of caffeine, and not much is needed when making a cup of coffee.

Espresso powder is smooth while being rich in taste and flavor. It features as an ingredient in pastries such as brownies and cakes, thanks to how well it goes with chocolate.

What Beans Is Used in Espresso Powder? 

Espresso powder is made from coffee beans that have been ground, brewed, and dried. Arabica coffee beans tend to be a better selection than Robusta coffee beans when making espresso powder. 

Arabica coffee has an incredible flavor with subtle notes of berries and citrus. On the other hand, Robusta beans pack more caffeine and have a more bitter taste than their Arabica counterparts.

How Much Caffeine Is In Espresso Powder?

Espresso powder will contain the same amount of caffeine as espresso. Espresso is usually served in shots, with each shot consisting of 63mg per 1-1.75 ounce of coffee in caffeine content. 

Keep in mind that espresso powder is rarely used in coffee drinks. The taste is just too intense for some to bear.

What Is Instant Coffee?

Having said all there is to say about espresso powder, let us look at instant coffee. Instant coffee also goes by powdered coffee and is made by brewing ground coffee and eliminating the water, so powder is left. Spray-drying and freeze-drying are the most common drying methods used.

To brew instant coffee, all you need to do is put a portion (usually a tablespoon) into a cup of hot water and stir to mix. It is convenient to make and is an excellent option for individuals constantly on the move. There are also different flavors available, and you could add sugar and milk to your taste.

The majority of the coffee you see in glass jars at supermarkets and grocery stores are instant coffee. They are best stored in opaque glass containers in a refrigerated environment.

What Beans Is Used In Instant Coffee?

In contrast to espresso powder, Robusta coffee beans are more preferred to Arabica beans. The subtle notes of berry, sugar, and citrus are absent in Robusta beans, as it has a more intense and bitter taste. 

Robusta coffee beans are much easier to cultivate and produce compared to Arabica coffee beans, whose plants are prone to damage from insect attacks. This makes Arabica beans more expensive than Robusta coffee beans, affecting the overall cost of the end product.

How Much Caffeine Is In Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is a lot lower in caffeine than you would expect. An eight-ounce cup of instant coffee ranges between 27 to as high as 150mg of caffeine. Thankfully, you can dictate the caffeine levels depending on how much instant coffee you use.

Now you know what espresso powder and what instant coffee are, their caffeine levels, and even what coffee beans are used in both. You also understand that as great as espressos could taste, espresso powder is a no-no and that your favorite brownies might just have some espresso powder in them.

Important Differences Between Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee

  • 1. Instant coffee is made in a variety of flavors, unlike espresso powder.
  • 2. Instant coffee is great when taken as a drink, while pastry chefs prefer espresso
  • powder due to how it blends seamlessly with chocolate.
  • 3. Instant coffee is most likely going to be made from Robusta coffee beans, while Arabica coffee beans are preferred for espresso powder.
  • 4. Instant coffee has a richer taste compared to espresso powder.
  • 5. Instant coffee is cheaper than espresso powder.


Instant coffee is not as bad as most people portray it. Instant coffee is quick, easy to make, doesn’t require any special equipment, and cleaning up is easy. It is really great for those who need that quick shot of energy in the morning, with little time to spare. You also get instant coffee in a series of flavors, so you are never short of variety.

Espresso powder can also be drunk, but the price tag is on the high side, and the taste is intense, so let’s leave that to the chefs.

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