Instant Coffee Has Been Around A Lot Longer Than You Might Think

Instant coffee is one of those items that we probably all have somewhere in the back of our cabinets. Whether it's for one of those last-minute caffeine kicks when you're working late at night or have to get up in the morning and don't have enough time to make normal coffee, it's a quick and easy choice. It's also great for camping, road trips, or just a quick cup of java, and it's the key ingredient in Dalgona coffee

While it might not be the most popular option in North America, 75% of coffee that's made in Australia and New Zealand is of the instant variety and it accounts for 34% of all coffee that's brewed globally (via Coffee Detective). Instant coffee is "manufactured by either freeze-drying or spray drying methods, after which rehydrated before use" and has been around for much longer than we would have guessed, according to the History of Coffee.

Instant coffee has been around since the 1700s

It might come as a surprise to discover that the first iteration of instant coffee was called a "coffee compound" and invented in Britain in 1771 and had a patent granted by the British government (via History of Coffee). New Zealander, David Strang, later invented and patented "instant or soluble coffee" in 1890, but he was not necessarily the one to perfect the style. According to the outlet, "the first successful method of creating a stable soluble coffee powder was invented by Japanese-American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago in 1901." 

Instant coffee grew in popularity during the various wars when it was given to soldiers as part of their rations. Different versions of instant coffee were produced over the years, with people trying to perfect the drying method and improve the taste. Nestle scientist Max Morgenthaler invented Nescafe, trying several different drying methods before finally landing on freeze-drying, which lent to a better taste overall. Today, we still consume quite a bit of Nescafe, "5,500 cups are consumed every second, one-fifth of the coffee served around the world" according to Forbes. That's a ton of instant coffee!