A Which? blind taste test has revealed the best everyday instant coffee, pitting the big brands Kenco and Nescafé against supermarket own brands costing a quarter of the price.
Based on our tests, we discovered paying more certainly nets you the best instant cup of instant coffee – one of the two big, pricier brands topped our test.
However, price and quality aren’t necessarily related, with the other big brand achieving a taste test score only good enough for the mid-table.
Not a fan of instant? Check out the best coffee machines for a professional brew at home
The top scorer, (the score took into account taste and aroma as well as texture and appearance) was praised by our panel of regular consumers as having a rich and robust coffee flavour, which is exactly what you want from your first drink of the day.
Comments from our panel included praise for its rich flavour, lovely aroma and strong aftertaste.
To see the full test results read our guide to the best instant coffee.
What’s on test
All the big supermarket brands plus the two biggest non-supermarket coffee products.
- Aldi Alcafé Classic Rich Roast, 74p per 100g
- Asda Rich Roast, 84p per 100g
- Co-op Fairtrade Rich Roast, £1.90 per 100g
- Kenco Rich, £3.25 per 100g
- Lidl Bellarom Rich Roast, 75p per 100g
- M&S Rich Roast, £1.50 per 100g
- Morrisons Classic Full Roast, £1.00 per 100g
- Nescafé Original, £2 per 100g
- Sainsbury’s Rich Roast, £1.00 per 100g
- Tesco Classic, £1.00 per 100g
- Waitrose Essential Rich Roast, £1.50 per 100g
Best instant coffee on a budget
Aside from Kenco and Nescafé, most instant coffee is priced at between £1 and £1.50 per 100g.
However, if you really want to cut down on spending for your everyday essentials, three brands managed to nip in at less than £1 per 100g.
German discounters Aldi and Lidl (74p and 75p respectively) along with Asda (85p) all make their instant more affordable than the other supermarkets.
One of those three cheap options managed a close second position in our taste test, just a couple of percentage points lower than the big-brand alternative that cost more than four times as much, with some members of the panel praising its smoothness and the balance between bitter and mellow flavours.
However, we also found one of these cheap options propping up the bottom of the table with a disappointing coffee that really showed its budget origins.
How we tested
- Each coffee was tested blind by 60 consumers who regularly buy and drink instant coffee.
- The test was conducted in lab conditions, and the participants weren’t allowed to discuss their thoughts with the other drinkers.
- Each participant received the different coffees in a different order.
- They were allowed to make it to their taste, with or without sugar and milk.