Here Are A Few Great Tasting Organic Instant Coffee Options
When you’re away from civilization, whether it’s camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, or backpacking, coffee isn’t as easy as it is back home. Out there, making a cup of coffee means having to either get creative or make sacrifices. With that in mind, while we would normally be loath to even make mention of the idea of instant coffee, there comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and do what you have to do if you want your Joe.
We know that normal instant coffee is awful, it tastes like recycled motor oil, it’s weak, it’s usually processed with all kinds of chemical compounds, and with some brands no matter how much you mix or how hot the weather is, it just never quite seems to dissolve fully. But we are not talking about regular instants here. There are actually some really great premium organic coffees around, and to be honest, you might not be able to tell the difference between them and your regular Java.
If you’re in a hurry all these coffees are probably good enough when you’re home. They taste fine and you don’t need any fancy gear to make it. But where they really shine is when you have them out in the wild. Organic instant coffees usually add a lot of value to that taste vs. weight compromise when you’re shedding ounces for a backpacking trip. Unfortunately, not a lot of companies have made the organic coffee and instant-backpacking-coffee connection yet, so there aren’t a lot of single-use organic options out there. There are always alternative containers you can use to parcel coffee into yourself for your next trip into the woods, but most of them are tough weight compromises.
Now let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the best all-natural, premium instant coffees on the market that are ideal for taking with you when you are roughing it.
Death Wish Coffee Co.
Everything about this company seems geared toward high-energy survival. They pride themselves on making incredibly strong coffee that still tastes good. They’ve been around since about 2012, and have established themselves as the company that makes coffee you drink more on a dare than anything. They’re considered a high-grade specialty blend, though, and for those who think regular coffee isn’t cutting it anymore, Death Wish is a guaranteed upgrade in caffeine intake.
Death Wish Instant Coffee
- Bean Type: Arabica and Robusta blend
- Size: 8 packets / box, 4.9g / packet.
Death Wish came onto the instant coffee scene pretty dramatically. Turns out they were actually approached to make an instant coffee for astronauts on the ISS (turns out one of the company founders is a big space nerd and likes talking to astronauts). Their first instant coffee packets left Earth back in 2018, and they’ve been selling a slightly stronger version to the rest of us ever since.
Just for context, the average Starbucks VIA packet contains a little over 100 mg of caffeine. Death Wish packets have 300 mg.
Anthony’s Organic Coffee
Anthony’s Goods makes all kinds of organic food stuffs. They got into the organic business with almond flour, but they’re making a pretty decent name for themselves with coffee. They can be pricey, but that’s one of the pitfalls of organic food. They do have a pretty consistently high quality, though.
The real problem for backpackers is that they don’t sell single-serve packets. You get a big bag of coffee grounds and then you have to figure out how to fit that in your bag yourself. This isn’t because they dislike the outdoors, it’s just that the company is very focused on baking. So much so that their listing on Amazon actually has a couple recipes that use their instant coffee. It’s good stuff, though, if you can figure out how to pack it.
Anthony’s Organic Batch Tested Gluten Free Ultra Fine Instant Coffee
- Bean Type: Arabica
- Size: 14 oz
You might have noticed the “ultra-fine” in the name. They aren’t just saying that. They grind this coffee down good. You can actually dissolve it in cold water pretty easily. The Arabica beans they use have a strong flavor (possibly to make it better for baking), so depending on your taste it might not take as many spoons to get the flavor you want. The bag itself probably won’t travel too well on your next camping trip, so if you want to try it out in the wilderness, it would be best to carry it in your own bag or container.
Mount Hagen Organic Freeze Dried Instant Coffee
Mount Hagen has been around for awhile, and for good reason. They are one of the best all-natural instants on the market. The best part of their product line is that you can choose from traditional coffee or decaf, and you still get the same robust taste that you expect. The company uses 100% Highland Arabica, which is certified as both fair trade, Kosher, and organically grown and processed. It makes an equally good cold brew, but that is best done at least an hour before drinking, and heavy shaking will be needed to fully dissolve the large granules.
One thing that does need to be said about Mount Hagen is that their freeze-drying process creates a powder that is a bit more substantial than most others. This, of course, is good in the fact that it imparts richer flavor to the cup, but it also means that you will need to let the cup sit for a few minutes longer to get a full dissolve, and you will need to stir a bit more aggressively.
Mount Hagen Jars
Bean Type: Arabica
Size: 3.53oz / 1 Jar
It comes in break-resistant and waterproof glass jars with an oversized, easy-open lid. Usually you can get a 6 pack of these jars for between $50 – 60 with about 60 cups in each jar. This means that you have a 6 months’ supply on hand if you make 2 cups a day, which is a great value for such an impeccable coffee experience.
Mount Hagen Single Serve Packets
- Bean Type: Arabica
- Size: 25 packets / 1 Box, roughly 2 grams / 1 packet
You can also get a 25 count of ready to use single serve packets that will fit into your gear easily for less than 8 bucks. Although, these are usually sold in packages of 4 boxes that’ll come out to more like $25. Either way, you’re paying around a quarter a cup for pretty decent instant coffee. And the box is designed more or less to be easy to carry and reseal on the trail. It’s still probably easier to put the individual packets in your own container to fit in, but it’s a nice thought either way.
Without a doubt, one of the best instants on the market is Café Bustelo, but there are those who prefer to not drink this amazing brew for various reasons that they feel very strongly about. The biggest reason why it is not listed here is the fact that we only wanted to talk about organically certified instants this time, and they don’t technically qualify.
That being said, the folks at Café Altura saw a need to fill the niche market that Café Bustelo was leaving open and developed their own rival brand that gives you everything that you are looking for in a premium instant. Organically certified, Kosher, fair trade, sustainable practices, and of course high quality. Café Altura is also one of the first instants to be verified as non-GMO. Made with 100% pure Arabica and Columbian beans blended expertly into a flavorful and bold offering this instant will make you immediately forget that it’s an instant.
- Bean type: Arabica
- Size: 3.53 oz / 1 Jar
You can usually get a 2 pack of this coffee for around $20, and unfortunately this is the only form they sell it in so far. No news of a single serve pack down the road, but for now it’s a decent coffee if you’ve been looking for an organic alternative to Bustelo. They’ve ground it to dissolve in cold or hot water, and while it won’t dissolve as easily as the Anthony’s Goods stuff, it still packs a punch.
These guys are comparatively small-time, and the price reflects that a little, but they’re on the craft side of things. They’re a roaster and cafe based in Oregon that rotate through some single origin roasts. They’re big on getting hands on with the farms they source from and have a weird obsession with roasting as a sort of art form.
If you’re really interested in supporting a smaller business, Stoked Roasters is probably your best option in terms of quality and sourcing practices. They make a big deal about making sure they source their beans seasonally, which means their getting their crops from places where the beans are growing best according to the weather rather than by what the profit margin demands. That’s not to say they aren’t business minded, just that they’re more aware of how they source than your average instant coffee maker.
Stoked Roasters Single Use Organic Instant Coffee
- Bean Type: Arabica (Medium or Dark Roast)
- Size: 8 packets / 1 Box
One of the really unique things about Stoked Roasters is that they offer medium and dark roasts for their instant coffees. That seems to be an unprecedented level of choice in the organic instant coffee niche. As for the taste, most people agree it’s on par with Starbucks VIA. But where you’re probably paying maybe 90 cents a packet for a 13 pack of VIA, with Stoked Roasters you’re paying a little over a dollar per cup. Whether that 20 – 30 cent difference in price is worth the Organic certification is your business. We’re just here to tell you what’s out there.
Tips on Making Instant Coffee Outdoors
These are just a few of the incredible premium organic instants that are on the market. These are not your dad’s “emergency” instant that came in that weird glass jar with the orange lid that was impossible to open. Of course, it’s also important that you make your premium all-natural instant correctly to ensure the best possible taste and drinking experience.
1) Always use fresh, cool, clear water.
2) Use a clean container to collect water if you are using water from local natural sources such as springs, lakes, creeks, Wells, etc.
3) Always purify your water if needed before using it.
4) Always use a clean heating vessel to heat up the water you will be using to make your coffee.
5) Ensure that the water gets to a full rolling boil before using it.
6) Use the water to make your coffee as soon as it reaches a rolling boil.
7) Use a clean coffee mug that is able to withstand the temperature of boiling water.
8) Add as much coffee as indicated on the package, adjusting to preferred strength.
9) Add the coffee powder to the mug first, then the water.
10) Mix the coffee well.
11) Allow the coffee to sit for at least five minutes to come down to a safe drinking temperature, as well as to give the any stubborn granules of the coffee powder more time to fully deserve as well as to give the coffee additional time to develop a full rich flavor.
12) Enjoy an amazing cup of coffee.
Now you’re ready to take along a great premium fully organic instant next time you are out on your travels, as well as when you are at home or at work and just want a quick cup of wonderful coffee without the fuss and hassle of traditional brewing methods. Of course, the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to any coffee, premium instant organics included is to enjoy!