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The 8 Best Instant Coffees of 2021

A new gang of coffee makers are re-defining what it means to be instant, and it’s about time you tried some.

instant coffee gear patrol lead full
Henry Phillips

Confined to hiking expeditions, road trips without stops and particularly lazy mornings, instant coffee has, historically, had a tough go of it. Well, not anymore. The third wave coffee movement has now infiltrated even the most derided of coffee types, and with it, brought about a shift in what is and isn’t instant. From traditional freeze-dried granules to disposable pour-over contraptions, these eight coffees are mobile, quick to make and relatively cheap. Most importantly, however: They taste pretty darn good, too.

Allawake Coffee

Hauling a pour-over coffee setup around isn't light work. Allwake simplifies the process by making single-use pour-over coffee drippers so you don't have to miss out on your favorite style of brewing while you're on the road. Its Indonesian coffee is sweet and smooth, with a full body and low acidity. Place the contraption over a mug, pour over hot water and get your cup of coffee in no time.

Price: $14 for 5 cups

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Cometeer

These coffee pods aren't fitted with crappy ground coffee. Cometeer partners with renowned coffee roasters, like Counter Culture and George Howell, and brews and freezes their coffee with liquid nitrogen. The result is a frozen coffee disk housed in a 100-percent aluminum pod — which makes it recyclable — that you can melt with hot water to make a cup of delicious coffee or turn into an iced latte or espresso martini.

Price: $64 for 32 cups

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Dripkit

Dripkit employs a disposable one-time use pourover similar to Kuju, but instead of sitting in the cup, sits on top of it. Each batch of Dripkit’s current roast — La Basa No. 5, sourced from a family farm in Guatemala — is ground, roasted and package up at their Brooklyn HQ.

Price: $15-$35 for 5 cups

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Equator Instant Coffee

This is easily one of the best-tasting instant coffees around. Forget Folger's or whatever supermarket brand of freeze-dried granules there are because Equator is just as easy to "brew" and, as the brand so boldly claims, "tastes like a pour over." Pour over quality without the pour over work? Sign yourself up.

Price: $15 for 5 cups

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Jot Ultra Coffee

Jot Ultra coffee is a sleek little bottle filled with coffee concentrate. Add water or milk, and get a cafe-quality cup of joe wherever you are. It even comes with a tablespoon so you know exactly how much of each liquid to use.

Price: $24 for 14 cups

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Kuju Coffee

The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Kuju Coffee was founded by two brothers aiming to bring better coffee to your outdoor activities. Kuju employs single cup, one-time use packets of coffee grinds that fit in your pocket. Each one — available in traditional light, medium and dark roasts — has two “legs” that hook over the edges of your mug or cup, so you need only pour water and wait 120 seconds for some elevated trail coffee when you need it most.

Price: $30 for 10 cups

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Swift Cup Coffee

Swift Cup is like your classic instant coffee — dump in cup, pour water, stir, drink. However, the Pennsylvannia-based company uses a proprietary method to roast, brew and slowly freeze-dry their product. Swift Cup comes in varieties from the likes of Kenya, Ethiopia, Brazil and Colombia.

Price: $14-$25 for 6 cups

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Voilà Coffee

When Voilà opened up shop online in November of 2017, they sold through their entire stock so quickly they had to disable the “shop” tab on their website. After a couple months of re-stocking, they reopened for business in January, with each individually portioned pack of instant coffee aiming to highlight the particular region each roast is sourced from.

Price: $15 for 5 cups

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