Instant Coffee Versus Ground Coffee: A Cost Comparison (2024)

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Approximately 34% of the population worldwide opts for instant coffee over ground coffee. However, when comparing costs, which is more economical – instant or ground coffee?
Instant coffee proves to be significantly more cost-effective than ground coffee. The average cost per cup of instant coffee stands at $0.07, while ground coffee averages at $0.37 per cup. Additionally, the expense of brewing ground coffee is heightened by the necessity for specialized equipment.
Given the cost efficiency of instant coffee, why doesn’t it enjoy greater popularity? Let’s delve into the reasons behind ground coffee’s prevailing popularity.
Comparison of Prices: Instant Coffee vs. Ground Coffee
By analyzing the prices of 97 different instant and ground coffees on one of the world’s largest supermarket websites, I’ve gathered data to highlight the true cost differences. Here are the average prices:
Instant coffee price per 100g: $2.18
Ground coffee price per 100g: $4.07
Instant coffee price per ounce: $0.62
Ground coffee price per ounce: $1.15
While this might suggest that instant coffee is more expensive, it’s crucial to consider the coffee quantity used for each serving. Let’s compare the price for a 250ml (8.5fl oz) cup of brewed coffee:
250ml cup of instant coffee: $0.07
250ml cup of ground coffee: $0.37
Clearly, there’s a significant price gap between instant and ground coffee per serving, attributed to the fact that instant coffee requires only a fraction of the amount to make the same cup size. For most people, one rounded teaspoon weighing 1.8g is sufficient for a 250ml cup, equivalent to 55.5 servings per 100g. On the other hand, to brew the same 250ml cup using ground coffee.

Why is instant coffee cheaper?

Upon initial observation, the inexpensiveness of instant coffee may appear peculiar considering the considerable efforts invested by companies like Nestlé in its production. Why then is instant coffee more budget-friendly than ground coffee?
Primarily, to minimize expenses, producers of instant coffee predominantly utilize the lower-grade and more economical robusta coffee variety. Additionally, they often incorporate previous year’s coffee harvests, which have depreciated in quality, thereby reducing procurement costs significantly. Moreover, the reduced usage of instant coffee results in lower packaging expenses.
It is noteworthy that over 98 percent of the global coffee supply originates from two main varieties, namely arabica and robusta. Robusta, distinguished by its harsh and bitter flavor, is notably less costly than its superior counterpart, arabica. This economic advantage is attributed to robusta’s simpler cultivation process, higher yield capacity, and consequently reduced production expenses.
Although there are instant coffee options exclusively composed of 100 percent arabica beans, their cost per cup remains lower than even the most economical ground coffee varieties. Investing in 100 percent arabica instant coffee, like the renowned Percol Colombia brand, promises an exceptional enhancement to your daily coffee indulgence due to its markedly superior taste.
For a firsthand experience of this premium quality, you can acquire my preferred 100 percent arabica instant coffee from Amazon. The widespread popularity of instant coffee can be attributed to its unparalleled convenience – a mere necessity of hot water and a cup facilitates the enjoyment of a steaming cup of coffee, unlike the more intricate process required for ground coffee preparation, which leads to higher per-cup costs.
While instant coffee often faces criticism, with some advocating solely for ground coffee consumption, the question remains – why the preference for the seemingly pricier choice?

Which is better: instant coffee or ground coffee?

When you step into a reputable coffee shop, you’ll notice they use freshly ground coffee to craft their delightful drinks. The debate arises: is ground coffee superior to instant?
Freshly ground, untreated coffee excels in taste and flavor compared to instant coffee. Instant, due to its intensive production process, lacks the rich aroma and flavor found in freshly ground coffee. Moreover, instant coffee contains fewer antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and potassium.
The process of turning fresh coffee beans into instant coffee strips away numerous flavor and aroma compounds present in the beans. Instant coffee, essentially recycled coffee, lacks the freshness of ground coffee as it has been brewed before.
Unlike ground coffee, many instant coffees are solely robusta. Ground coffee, typically a blend of arabica and robusta beans, offers a more flavorful filter coffee cup. Arabica in ground coffee has fewer bitter compounds, higher sugar and oil content, resulting in a balanced and aromatic brew.
Freshness is crucial in coffee, with whole beans holding more aroma than pre-ground coffee. Ground coffee loses aroma quickly once ground due to exposure to air. Coffee shops prioritize freshly ground coffee for their beverages, especially when mixed with milk, creating popular coffee drinks.
Investing a bit more in ground coffee pays off, and brewing it doesn’t have to break the bank with affordable equipment like the AeroPress. Such coffee makers are budget-friendly and durable for home use.

Ground coffee brewing setup on a budget

My top choices for coffee makers, valued for their simplicity and affordability, are the AeroPress and the Clever Dripper.


The AeroPress, known as the international symbol of excellent coffee, offers swift brewing that rivals instant coffee, delivering a cup in just a minute. It excels in creating espresso-like coffee that pairs beautifully with milk. Cleaning up is a breeze – simply dispose of the affordable paper filter and rinse the AeroPress.

Clever Dripper

For those seeking the easiest coffee brewer with hassle-free cleanup, consider the Clever Dripper. This coffee maker functions like the iconic French press, but the paper filter delivers a cleaner cup with distinct flavors. In my view, the Clever Dripper is a top choice for beginners, made of non-toxic BPA-free plastic for durability. Explore the current pricing of the Clever Dripper, and elevate your coffee experience. If you’re ready to enjoy ground coffee benefits, discover high-quality coffees online. Additionally, find a curated list of top coffee roasters worldwide to explore.