Ever wondered to whom you should be thankful because in the morning you can prepare the tasty cup of coffee in less than 30 seconds? Let us mention some of the people that developed and contributed the recipe of modern day instant coffee.
By some information, the first version of instant coffee was invented back in 1771 in Great Britain. In America, this product was developed in 1853. The product that officially became instant coffee that we drink today was the work of a man called David Strang, from New Zeland, back in 1890. He was the founder of a company called Strange Coffee. He patented his invention, but also he patented the process which he used in order to develop this revolutionary coffee. The process was called dry hot-air and it is said that the process was first designed by the scientist from Japan Satori Kato. After this, some others coffee companies also developed their own instant coffee because the popularity of this beverage grown every day and very quickly reached millions of consumers on the everyday basis. Maybe one of the most popular brands in the coffee world gains its popularity with the help of this coffee. We are talking about Nescafe (we all heard about 2 in 1 and 3 in 1).
There are two methods in the process of production when we talk about instant coffee. The first and earlier method was the one mentioned above called dry hot-air process and this one included that the liquid coffee is sprayed as the fine mist through the hot dry air. In this process, the coffee droplets are dried into a powder.
The other process is more common in today’s production of instant coffee so let us take a peek at what is happening behind the closed door of the coffee factory.
The process of preparation
Before we start we should mention that every day we drink about 2,2 billion cups of coffee. So for the true coffee lovers, if the process of production in these factories collapsed even for one day it would be… well, let’s say it would ruin their day.
Directly from South America, the fresh coffee beans are brought in front of the factory. The raw beans are filtered into the large ovens where they are roasted. They are steered constantly to make sure that they are evenly roasted. From the oven, they are directed into the industrial mill where they are ground into a powder. From there, the powder takes a trip to the next section of production. The powder is now into the coffee machine (the name is very original) where the flavor is forced out by a hot steam and pressure. The coffee is heated until it is condensed into an extract and the mash is spread out on the conveyor belt which will take it away to the next station – the freezing hole, the room in which the temperature is -50 degrees Celsius.
The extract on the conveyer belt is frozen solid and fast in order not to lose the extract. At the end of the conveyer belt, it is broken into granules. The frozen granules still contain water which needs to get rid of, so the granules are kept at the low pressure for five hours. The challenge is to extract the water without coffee becoming liquid again because this would release the aromas. So the process is following – the granules are heated to 60 degrees Celsius in a strong vacuum. Under pressure, the water vaporizes and turns straight into steam. The process is called sublimation. When the granules came out of the vacuum they have been freeze dried. The aromas have been locked in and they will stay solid in the room temperature. After that comes the packaging part and that is it.
Good or bad for you
Well if consumed in high dosage every day it can be harmful, like any other food or drink, so it would not be smart if you exaggerate with the everyday use of the instant coffee.
A lot of people agreed about 3 good and 3 bad things about instant coffee.
The 3 good things are – it is very quick and easy to prepare. Just add hot water to the coffee, stir up a little bit and it Is done! There is no waste in the process of preparation, so there is no need to dispose of the leftover coffee grounds. And also there are a lot of recipes which include the instant coffee, so the choice is yours. So for example, beside the basic instant coffee you can make iced instant coffee (by adding ice cubes, the little milk or cream and cocoa or vanilla), blended instant coffee (the same ingredients like iced instant coffee, but with the fine touch of chocolate syrup), instant latte (with hot milk).
The 3 bad reasons that will turn you back from drinking this coffee are quite silly, but for some, they are good enough reason. The first one is that for some consumers the limited mouthfeel cannot get close in comparison to fresh coffee tastes. Also, in the process of preparation (which is very fast), there is no romance or connection. You know that feeling when you are preparing a meal or a drink that takes your precious time in order to prepare it. You commit your energy in order to come to the finish line and take a zip which is more tasteful just because it took your time in the process of preparation. Well with instant coffee you don’t have this. You just pour a spoon of coffee, some sugar, add a hot water and you are done. There are also health hazards such as malabsorption (it is proven that instant coffee decreases the iron absorption in your organism) and carcinogenicity (the consumers of instant coffee are at a higher risk of getting bladder cancer). So, because of this, in modern countries, there are strict regulations for the instant coffee producers which include the species of coffee used in the preparation, their origin, year of production, a level of caffeine etc.
So the choice is yours. Either you are for the conventional cup of coffee or for a quick modern one.