Instant coffee: advantages and disadvantages of the popular drink

Instant coffee has two indisputable advantages: low price compared to custard coffee, and ease of preparation. That is why the popularity of this drink is increasing every year. However, is instant coffee beneficial? Or is it just another marketing gimmick, addictive product? offers to understand this issue.

What is instant coffee?

There are several varieties of instant coffee. / Photo:

This is a drink made from the beans of the coffee tree. Thanks to the use of special technical processes, in the course of processing the grains turn into powder or granules, which dissolve in water. During the production of instant coffee beans are roasted, ground and thermally treated with hot water. As a result, a concentrated mixture is obtained, which is dried in different ways. They define the type of instant coffee. There are three of them:

• Freeze-dried – the mixture is first frozen and then dehydrated and dried under vacuum. This coffee has a very rich taste, and it contains a large amount of nutrients. However, there is one significant drawback about the freeze-dried drink – the high price, which is not affordable for everyone.

• Granular – the coffee extract powder undergoes a steam treatment, due to which the particles combine with each other and form granules. According to statistics, this type of instant coffee is preferred by almost half of the inhabitants of Russia, due to the optimal ratio of price and quality.

• Powder – the concentrated mixture is sprayed with hot air, dries quickly and becomes a powder. This coffee is the cheapest, perhaps because its taste is not pronounced.

Powdered coffee has the most unsaturated taste. / Photo:

If we compare instant coffee with natural coffee, then we can distinguish both a number of advantages and a number of disadvantages. The first type of drink has a high speed of preparation, a low price, and a long shelf life. At the same time, instant coffee contains less caffeine and is not so rich in taste and olfactory properties.

The history of the emergence of instant coffee

The first package of the famous NESCAFE instant coffee. / Photo:

For instant coffee, we should be grateful to the American scientist of Japanese origin Satori Kato. First, he invented the technology for the production of instant tea, and then, by analogy, he devised a method for making coffee. In 1906, British chemist George Constant Washington, who lived in Guatemala, began developing the first instant coffee that was suitable for mass production. Three years later, the first commercially produced instant coffee hit the market, which Washington called “Red E Coffee.”

However, this drink was not much like the one we used to drink. In its classic form, instant coffee appeared only in 1938, thanks to the Swiss chemist of the Nestle company Max Morgenstaller. The scientist used the Brazilian way of preserving surplus coffee beans in order to save them. The convenient disposal method proved to be so practical and effective that after a while more of the coffee produced was used to make an instant analogue. This is how the famous NESCAFE coffee appeared, which has not lost its position in the world market for many years.

The main features of instant coffee

The caffeine content of different types of coffee. / Photo:

• The presence of antioxidants and nutrients – scientists say that instant coffee contains a large amount of valuable antioxidants, useful macro- and microelements. So, among its components are calcium (7.2 mg), phosphorus (5.4), potassium (53.7 mg), sodium (7.2 mg), magnesium (7.2 mg), etc. All these trace elements are very important for the proper functioning of the whole organism. Among their advantages are the following: regulation of metabolic processes, prevention of premature aging and malignant transformation of cells. Also, instant coffee, according to a study by employees of the University of Auvergne, contains chlorogenic acid, which normalizes blood glucose levels, lowers blood pressure, and prevents the development of arterial atherosclerosis.

• Caffeine content – Instant coffee contains about 30-40% less caffeine than natural coffee. The final caffeine concentration depends on the type of beans and how they are processed. On average, it ranges from 30 to 90 mg in instant coffee, and from 70 to 140 mg in natural coffee. That is, the instant drink does not have such a strong stimulating effect on the central nervous system. However, if for health reasons, a person is contraindicated to consume large amounts of caffeine, an instant drink can be an excellent way out. The recommended dose of caffeine for adults with no contraindications is 400 mg of caffeine per day – that’s six teaspoons of instant coffee and four of natural coffee.

• Acrylamide Concentration – During the roasting process of coffee beans, a harmful chemical compound called acrylamide is formed. According to American experts, the excessive effect of this substance on the nervous system can lead to the appearance and development of pathologies, and stimulate the growth of malignant neoplasms. In addition, acrylamide can impair brain activity and reduce fertility. According to the results of studies of Polish scientists, it is most of all contained in instant coffee (358 μg / kg), but in natural coffee it is half as much. However, these indicators are still extremely low in order to cause any harm to health.

• Strengthening the action of drugs – after drinking coffee, the acidity in the stomach increases, which is why medicines are absorbed faster. Also, an invigorating drink should be discarded if there are any problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Its use is especially harmful for people with chronic gastrointestinal diseases.

The positive properties of instant coffee

Coffee provides a boost of vivacity for the whole day. / Photo:

Among the main advantages of an invigorating drink for human health are the following:

• Increases concentration and mental activity, improves memory, attention, and invigorates.

• Improves metabolism and thus helps to reduce body weight. This becomes possible due to the caffeine, which is part of the composition, which increases metabolism, suppresses appetite, and accelerates the breakdown of adipose tissue.

• Prevents the risk of developing diabetes mellitus by 14%, provided that you consume one cup of coffee a day.

• Reduces the likelihood of stones in the gallbladder, as it has a positive effect on the secretion of bile acids, increases the tone and motility of the digestive organ, due to which early excretion of stones occurs.

Negative properties of instant coffee

Instant coffee raises blood pressure. / Photo:

Also, the drink can have an adverse effect on the general condition of the body:

• Causes addiction – when drinking more than three cups of coffee a day, the body gets used to it and after a while “refuses” to wake up and work without an invigorating drink. This problem is especially common in people who drink coffee early in the morning, as it suppresses the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which promotes quick awakening.

• Increases blood pressure – most people complain of heart palpitations and dizziness, provided they drink several cups of pure coffee a day. So there is a risk of developing diseases of the cardiovascular system. You can reduce the negative effects of coffee by adding sugar and cream / milk to it.

• Affects the increase in acidity – abuse of coffee on an empty stomach increases the risk of gastrointestinal diseases, as there is a disruption of the enzymes of gastric juice. An increase in acidity can lead to ulcers and other problems with the digestive system.

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