Espresso Powder VS. Instant Coffee: 9 Key Differences

Is espresso powder the same as instant coffee? This is a question that many people have asked, but the truth is they are not the same thing at all. In this article, we will explore the differences between espresso powder and instant coffee, and we will also discuss how to make each drink.

Bewilderment is a common word in the coffee world. Do not feel fluctuated to ask silly questions about Espresso powder vs. Instant coffee. People sometimes use instant coffee in cooking as a replacement for espresso powder. But, that does not make those the same product.

Here is the explanation of Espresso powder vs. Instant coffee to know the details. It helps you righteously use things.

Espresso Powder VS. Instant Coffee

Espresso powder directly comes from the coffee beans. It is finely ground and darkly roasted. On the other side, instant coffee is a soluble crystal or concentrate. It can prepare coffee in no time. Nevertheless, it seems similar but still different from each other. Let’s check what differences these have.

Espresso PowderInstant Coffee
Product TypeCoffee bean powderSoluble crystals
Bean TypeArabica & RobustaRobusta
Degree of RoastDarker than espressoMedium
TasteAlmost similarNear to regular coffee
CaffeineLess than espressoLower
PreparationBoth home & commercial Industry manufacture
Shelf LifeLimited6 months-2 years
UsesEnhance flavors of baked goodsCoffee drinks

Illustration Of Comparisons

Product Type

Espresso powder directly comes from the coffee beans. It is a finer grind than the espresso needs.

Instant coffee is a soluble crystal. It produces from the brewed coffee ground and then dehydrated.

Bean Type

There are 2 bean varieties of coffee beans, Arabica and Robusta. Both varieties use to create espresso powder. Sometimes uses a blend of both or only Arabica.

Usually, Robusta beans use for instant coffee. It loses its maximum strength since dehydration happens in the making process.

Degree Of Roast

The ascertained roasting profile for espresso drinks is dark. Since the brewed ground uses to make espresso powder, it becomes darker than espresso.

The roasting profile for instant coffee is medium or medium-dark.


The taste of espresso powder is a bit bland compared to espresso grounds. After the first brewing, it roasted again as a part of powder making process. It puts into baked goods a little amount to make a significant change. It will lack taste if you use espresso powder for a coffee drink.

The taste of instant coffee is near to that of regular coffee drinks. But, you need to put lots of granules if you need a strong one.

Caffeine Content

Espresso contains 63.6 mg of caffeine per serving. After the first brew, the grounds contain 50-70% caffeine. So, espresso powder contains around 32-45 mg.

Instant coffee has less caffeine compared to all types of coffee drinks. It contains 26 mg of caffeine per 100g of instant coffee.


Espresso or espresso powder is not soluble in water or any other liquids. It left sediment at the bottom of the cups.

Instant coffee can effortlessly liquefy into hot water. Even the result is the same for hot milk.


Espresso powder can prepare both at home and industrially. People create a small amount of fresh powder at home according to their needs. But, the industry goes for mass production. Also, it’s easy to grab a container from stores.

On the other side, Instant coffee prepares in the industry. There are 2 ways of preparation: spray-drying and freeze-drying. You can never produce it in the home arrangement.

Shelf Life

The shelf life of espresso powder is not so long. It could work for 2-3 weeks if stored in an airtight container and dry place. After that, it loses its flavor.

But, instant coffee has a longer shelf life than any other coffee beans and grounds. It can stay well 6 months up to 2 years.


Espresso powder uses in bakeries for baking goods such as cookies, cakes, and brownies. If you use it a little, it works as an intensifier in chocolate desserts. Sometimes, it mixes with spices to rub meats for marinating. It can also make strong drinks if you scoop 1-2 teaspoons into regular coffee.

Instant coffee uses for quickly making coffee in the urgent need for caffeine. Some also suggest using instant coffee as a substitute for espresso powder in baking goods.

How To Make Espresso Powder

espresso powder vs. instant coffee

Espresso powder is an inexpensive ingredient in the baking section. Yes, good news for espresso drinks. You do not need to spend a single penny on the espresso powder. Here, learn how to make espresso powder at home.


  • Brewed espresso ground
  • A baking sheet
  • Coffee or spice grinder
  • An airtight jar


  • Collect your brewed espresso ground after brewing your espresso. Usually, we throw it away right after the brewing. But preserving those is the wise decision for baking and saving your purse
  • Spread the wet espresso ground over a baking sheet
  • Place the sheet in the oven and set the temperature to 200 °F (93 °C). Now, let it bake for 1 hour
  • After 1 hour, bring the baking sheet out. Let it cool down to room temperature
  • Now, grind the roasted espresso ground again. You can use a bean or spice grinder to make those finer further
  • Store this espresso powder in an airtight jar. So, you can scoop in your recipes as you need

Can You Make Coffee With Espresso Powder?

Usually, we do not make coffee or espresso drinks with espresso powder. It is already brewed once for espresso drinks. So, it will make a tasteless coffee if you brew it again. Espresso powder is only used to enhance the taste of cookies, cakes, and brownies. Use only a small amount, such as 1-2 teaspoons of espresso powder. It will not be bitter but can intensify the flavor of chocolate cakes and similar items.

You can use espresso powder to enhance the taste of weaker coffee drinks. But making coffee using it is not a great idea at all.

Alternative Way Of Making Espresso Powder

You can make espresso powder directly from the coffee beans even if you do not drink espresso. Check the below steps.


  • Whole green espresso beans
  • A baking sheet
  • Coffee or spice grinder
  • An airtight jar


  • Buy green coffee beans and roast them darkly. Follow the dark home roasting process of espresso
  • Cool down and grind those beans using a grinder
  • Grind beans in small batch so that it becomes more refined like flour
  • Store the finer grounds in an airtight container to use in baking recipes

Since you did not brew this time, remember to put a small amount in the baking goods. Excessive use will make the baking goods taste bitter.


How to make espresso from instant coffee?

First, take one and a half spoons of instant coffee in a demitasse cup. Then, pour 30ml of hot water into it. Stir it well to dissolve the coffee. Your single-shot instant espresso is ready to serve anytime and anywhere.

How to make a good cup of instant coffee straight from the jar?

Take instant coffee in a cup as the taste and strength you prefer. Put a little amount of hot water and stir until liquefy granules. Now, add the rest of the water and mix it gently. Your perfect cup of coffee is ready.

How many espresso powders per cup?

Though it is espresso powder, it is not for making espresso or coffee. It is already brewed fine powder that helps to enhance the taste of bakery goods. Sometimes, you can scoop 1 or 2 in your weak coffees to strengthen them.

How hot should the milk be?

Except for cold brew, the milk should be hot if you want to add it with espresso or coffee. The perfect temperature should be around 70-82 °C (158-180 °F). You can use cold milk for cold brew.

How much instant coffee per cup?

In general, use 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee per cup. The amount of instant coffee per cup varies according to beverage type. Also, it may increase or decrease depending on your taste preferences.


Finally, we can say, espresso powder and instant coffee are not the same. Neither the preparation process nor the purpose of the uses is the same. Sometimes, instant coffee may use as a substitute for espresso powder in bakeries. But, instant coffee intends to make a pick-me-up in case of no coffeemaker. Espresso powder is not for making coffee but enhances the flavor of baking goods.

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