‘We sampled supermarket instant coffee and a £2.95 jar beat major brands’

Branded instant coffee costs close to £10 a jar in many shops with popular brands like Nescafe fetching around £6 for their most basic products.

When it comes to premium offerings, such as those with a finely milled, powder-like texture, it’s impossible to get them at a low price without an active supermarket deal.

While many supermarkets use clever branding to mimic upper-crust products, it’s not easy to tell if the coffee actually tastes the same, which is why Express.co.uk have put them to the test.

We sampled more than 10 kinds of instant coffee from major supermarkets to determine which ones are worth waking up to, and whether they’re really on par with their luxurious counterparts.

To our surprise, not one but two blends in particular were deemed an affordable alternative to branded products, and even rivalled takeaway Americanos from major cafes.

Best supermarket instant coffee overall

Supermarket own-label products also come in standard and premium ranges, with Asda’s Extra Special range rivalling Tesco Finest in this case.

The Asda Extra Special Italian style Instant Coffee (Strength 4), earned the highest rating among taste-testers for its delicious flavour and texture. As a medium-strong roast, this is a great one for coffee lovers, especially those who forgo milk and sugar.

Asda’s promise of a “deep, full bodied flavour’” lived up to expectations, and one taste tester noted that it has a “subtle fruitiness with earthy undertones”.

Taste testers who enjoyed it with milk noted that it created a “professional barista-style coffee” and was strong in flavour, unlike other products sampled. Express reporters agreed that the instant coffee was a “great alternative” to premium brands, with one even swapping their Nescafe Azera Americano for this budget blend.

While one taste-tester claimed that the coffee was “a bit weak” and didn’t like the “lingering aftertaste”, the bargain price tag is hard to beat. At £2.95 for a 100g jar, the product is a must-have for coffee snobs seeking a cheap, instant blend to take on the go. And with the “upmarket” look of the packaging, it feels like a real treat.

Best basic supermarket instant coffee

Asda may have won the best overall coffee with its rich Italian-style blend, but out of the classic instant coffee products sampled, Waitrose was crowned the winner with its Essential Rich Roast Coffee.

This Fairtrade product ranked highly for several reasons – namely its taste, smooth texture and incredibly low price.

While some people may not think to shop at the supermarket for essentials, Waitrose beats typically cheaper supermarkets on price, at just £1.30 for a generously sized jar.

Some supermarkets sell their version of basic instant coffee for a price point of £2.25, which is true for Asda Rich Roast and Tesco Classic Instant Coffee, both of which were rated a measly four out of 10 by taste testers.

Express reporters agreed that as far as very basic instant coffee goes, it boasts a “full bodied flavour” and is “silky” in texture when drunk black and with milk. It did however let itself down for lacking that trademark frothy top that is synonymous with takeaway coffee, and some of the fine-mill brands like Nescafe Azera Americano (£6 for 90g in Tesco).

Best gold roast instant coffee

Waitrose stole the show again with their Gold Roast (strength 3) Instant Coffee (200g), which seems to be a close dupe for the Nescafe Gold Blend (200g, £5.99 at Tesco).

The Amazon, Tesco and Asda alternatives sampled were rated as bog-standard supermarket coffee, lacking in flavour and erring on the more bitter side. One thing taste testers noted about the gold roast coffees was the large freeze-dried granules which were hard to dissolve into a nice smooth drink, with some getting stuck in clumps on the side of the mug.

This was not an issue with the Waitrose gold blend, however, and it delivered on flavour too.

Given an impressive 9/10 average rating, the coffee was a hit with those who drink it black, praised for its “full-bodied and smooth, lingering taste” and was said to “taste as good as Americano takeaway coffee”.

Others enjoyed the “punchy” and “strong” flavour, agreeing that it dissolves well to make a well-balanced brew.

At £5.50 for 200g, it’s not the cheapest supermarket coffee, but it is a great Fairtrade product to have at home. And of course, works out infinitely cheaper than buying takeaway coffees every week.

Best gold roast instant coffee

Waitrose stole the show again with their Gold Roast (strength 3) Instant Coffee (200g), which seems to be a close dupe for the Nescafe Gold Blend (200g, £5.99 at Tesco).

The Amazon, Tesco and Asda alternatives sampled were rated as bog-standard supermarket coffee, lacking in flavour and erring on the more bitter side. One thing taste testers noted about the gold roast coffees was the large freeze-dried granules which were hard to dissolve into a nice smooth drink, with some getting stuck in clumps on the side of the mug.

This was not an issue with the Waitrose gold blend, however, and it delivered on flavour too.

Given an impressive 9/10 average rating, the coffee was a hit with those who drink it black, praised for its “full-bodied and smooth, lingering taste” and was said to “taste as good as Americano takeaway coffee”.

Others enjoyed the “punchy” and “strong” flavour, agreeing that it dissolves well to make well-balanced brew.

At £5.50 for 200g, it’s not the cheapest supermarket coffee, but it is a great Fairtrade product to have at home. And of course, works out infinitely cheaper than buying takeaway coffees on a weekly basis.

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