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6 tasty instant coffee brands for when you need caffeine fast

·4 min read
These instant coffee options are barista-approved.
These instant coffee options are barista-approved.

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Whether you’re camping, staying in a hotel, getting on an airplane or just super busy, it can be hard to find the time to make a good cup of coffee. In situations like these, I reach for instant coffee, which typically gets a bad rap for being dull and papery. However, newer versions of this innovative caffeine boost are anything but boring.

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We put together a list of some of our favorite instant coffees for the next time you’re traveling (or just sleeping in).

1. Counter Culture Big Trouble Single Serve

Counter Culture offers one of the best coffee subscriptions we've tested.
Counter Culture offers one of the best coffee subscriptions we've tested.

It's no surprise that Counter Culture, maker of best coffee subscription we've tested, is also offering instant coffee among its diverse catalogue of coffee products. Counter Culture instant coffee comes in single-serve coffee pouches, which you brew by steeping and repeatedly dipping the bag into hot water.

The process does take a couple of minutes, much like brewing a cup of tea, so it might not be your top choice if you’re looking for an extra speedy cup. And definitely make sure you have an electric kettle or stovetop tea kettle on hand to make this instant coffee.

The Big Trouble blend instant coffee tastes almost as good as a freshly brewed cup, making your instant coffee efforts worthwhile. Counter Culture also offers its Forty-Six blend and Decaf as instant coffee.

Get the 5-pack of Counter Culture Big Trouble Medium Roast Coffee Single Serve at Target for $9.99

2. Chamberlain Coffee Steeped Bags

Chamberlain Coffee was founded by YouTube star Emma Chamberlain.
Chamberlain Coffee was founded by YouTube star Emma Chamberlain.

We tried YouTube star Emma Chamberlain’s instant coffee from her debut coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee. Chamberlain also uses the coffee bag format for its instant coffee and we love the packaging design just as much as the taste.

You can choose from five different instant coffee varieties from Chamberlain—we tried the Original Family Blend and definitely recommend, though it's a bit darker roast than the Counter Culture. Best to sip while watching YouTube... kidding of course!

Get the Family Blend Chamberlain Steeped Bags at Chamberlain Coffee for $20

3. Clevr Coffee SuperLatte

This instant latte is packed with superfoods and other healthful ingredients.
This instant latte is packed with superfoods and other healthful ingredients.

If you like your coffee sweet, creamy and packed with adaptogens, then Clevr's SuperLatte might be your thing. The SuperLatte mix tastes like coconut mixed with coffee and is also boosted with adaptogens (much like some of our favorite non-alcoholic sippers).

We think this blend would make a great addition to a smoothie or milkshake as opposed to a black coffee substitute. The SuperLatte powder is vegan and must be mixed with water or non-dairy milk to remain as such, though you could opt for traditional milk if you don't mind a little dairy.

Get the Clevr Coffee SuperLatte at Clevr Blends for $28

4. Copper Cow Single-Serve Pour-overs

These single-serve packets are ideal for quality coffee on-the-go.
These single-serve packets are ideal for quality coffee on-the-go.

The U.S. is late to the game when it comes to single-serve, disposable pour-overs, and boy have we been missing out. We tried Copper Cow’s instant Vietnamese coffee pour-over and couldn't love it more. To brew, you tear open the filter-bag and pull out tiny cardboard tabs that rest over the side of your cup. Then, pour hot water through the open filter bag just like as you would for traditional pour-over coffee—a gooseneck kettle really is best for the job here.

This instant coffee option is really fun to make, plus it'll make you feel like a pro. The only downside is that it does take a few extra minutes. Copper Cow also offers flavored creamers so you can make Vietnamese coffee at home.

Get the Copper Cow Best-Sellers Bundle for $44

5. Jot Ultra Coffee

Jot creates iced coffee with just a few simple drops.
Jot creates iced coffee with just a few simple drops.

Iced coffee lovers rejoice! Jot makes instant coffee in liquid form—it's essentially ultra-concentrated coffee that you enjoy by diluting it. This means you can use it to make iced coffee as well as iced lattes, or whip up delicious hot coffee by using hot water.

Each bottle contains 14 servings, which is more than most of the other instant coffee options on this list. Jot comes in original and dark and we recommend trying both to see which best suits your palate.

Get Jot Ultra Coffee for $24

6. Tandem Instant Coffee

Maine-based roaster Tandem Coffee is behind the single-serve instant coffee packets.
Maine-based roaster Tandem Coffee is behind the single-serve instant coffee packets.

Tandem’s whole bean coffee never disappoints, and neither do its instant options. Tandem’s instant coffee comes as a single-serving of instant powder in tiny paper packets, making them super easy to pack for a trip.

Byou just put the powder into a cup and pour 8oz of hot water over it! We loved their Time & Temperature blend and will definitely be buying it again next summer for camping trips. They also offer single origin, dark roast, and decaf as instant coffee.

Get Tandem's Time and Temperature Instant Coffee 6-pack for $15

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Instant coffee brands you can order online