Instant Coffee vs K-cups: what is the real difference?

Being a coffee lover, I have always gone for the kind that will take me less time to brew a cup of Coffee, as I have to be at my working station early in the morning. As a result of these, I settled on instant Coffee and k-cups. I only use these two kinds to make my Coffee, as they both take a few seconds. However, I sometimes need guidance on which to use, as they have become my favorite. In this post, I will compare these two coffees so that you can settle for what suits you best. Enjoy!

What are the differences between Instant Coffee vs K-cups?


Instant Coffee


What it is made of (ingredients)

Robusta coffee beans that have been grounded to powder form

Sugar, creamer, Nonfat dry milk, sodium polyphosphate, natural and artificial flavors, salt, instant tea and modified food starch

Taste profile

It has a slightly sour taste

It has a sweet taste depending on the flavor used

Caffeine content/ nutritional value

An 8 ounce of instant Coffee contains 96 milligrams of caffeine

-An 8 ounce of instant Coffee has 0.05 grams of total fat, two calories, 5 milligrams of sodium, 0.09 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.28 grams of protein.

An 8-ounce cup contains 75 to 150 milligrams of caffeine.

-An 8-ounce coffee has 60 calories, one gram of protein, 11 grams of total carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of fat.


This Coffee is available in almost all the stores.

This Coffee is available in major stores and on the websites of different brands.


Instant coffee is a little cheaper compared to the cost of k-cup

K-cup Coffee is more expensive than instant coffee.

Production process

Two main processes are used to produce instant Coffee: spray drying and freeze drying.

K-cup Coffee is made by mixing ground coffee with water. The Coffee is then stored in a k-cup, ready for use.

Roast level

Instant coffee is usually dark roasted

The roast level of the k-cup coffee will vary depending on the quality of the coffee. Different k-cups have been light, medium or dark roasted.

Instant Coffee vs K-cups – How They Compare

Instant Coffee vs K-cups
Starbucks instant Coffee. Image source: Starbucks Coffee

What’s it made of (ingredients)

Instant Coffee only includes a few ingredients, as it is just Robusta coffee beans that have been roasted, ground and then passed through several stages to make them Instant. On the other hand, the Coffee found in k-cups usually consists of different ingredients combined to give it a sweet taste and rich flavors. The ingredients found in k-cup Coffee include creamer, sugar, sodium polyphosphate, nonfat dry milk, natural and artificial flavors and salt.

Since instant Coffee only has the original flavor and no other additional ingredients, we like it less. We like k-cup Coffee more because of its wide variety of ingredients.

Taste profile

We have already seen that instant Coffee is usually prepared from Robusta coffee beans, which may be considered low-quality. Robusta beans are a bit bitter and have a sour taste. Since no additives or additional ingredients are added to the instant Coffee, it leaves this Coffee a bit sour to the mouth when taken.

On the other hand, K-cup coffee has a very rich and sweet taste, thanks to the extra ingredients added during its production. The sweet taste of the k-cup Coffee can also be credited to the Arabica beans used to make this Coffee, as they usually have a sweet and chocolatey taste.

K-cup Coffee wins when it comes to the taste profile, as it gives you a wide option of flavors to choose from besides having a sweet taste.

Caffeine content/nutritional value

Both instant Coffee and k-cup Coffee have moderate amounts below what we are expected to consume daily. When it comes to instant Coffee, an eight-ounce coffee has 96 milligrams of caffeine, about 21% of the caffeine we are advised to drink daily. Additionally, there are only two calories, 0.05 grams of total fat, 0.005 grams of saturated fat, five milligrams of sodium, 0.09 grams of total carbohydrates and 0.28 grams of protein.

Similarly, an eight-ounce k-cup coffee contains 60 calories, 11 grams of total carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugars and one gram of dietary fibre. This Coffee also has 2.5 grams of total fat, two grams of saturated fat and one gram of protein. K-cup coffee can be seen as having 58 more calories than instant Coffee.

Although both of these coffees have a close nutritional value, instant Coffee has fewer calories, so we settled on it. Instant Coffee also has low amounts of fat, which is excellent.

Availability/ Accessibility

Instant Coffee is a famous kind found in any store you walk in. This Coffee is usually sold in sachets, bottles or cans and goes for a relatively low price depending on the quantity you are buying. K-cup Coffee has also become popular among coffee lovers and can be found anywhere near you. Different brands produce this Coffee, and you can purchase it from their official websites.

Instant Coffee wins under this category because it can be found in different quantities and in almost all stores.


Regarding instant Coffee’s cost, most people find it a little cheaper as you can get a smaller quantity with a few cents while the bigger quantity with a few dollars. On the other hand, k-cup Coffee is a little expensive as you will have to part with a few dollars for a pack of them.

Instant Coffee wins regarding the cost, as it is relatively cheap.

Roast Level

Regarding the roast level, instant coffee is usually roasted to dark to give it a bold, bitter taste and flavor. This coffee is best if you are okay with a strong coffee, as it can be overwhelming. On the other side, K-cup coffees are roasted differently to give every customer what they love. You can find a k-cup coffee that has been dark, medium or light roasted.

K-cup coffee wins in this category as it gives us coffee with different roast levels.

Production process

There are two major ways in which instant Coffee is produced. The first way is through spray drying. Robusta coffee beans are roasted during this production process and ground into powder form. Then they are brewed to remove any water content in them. They are spray-dried by cooking the coffee powder into frozen slabs, turning it into ice. The coffee slabs are broken and sent to a drying vacuum, where the ice automatically vaporizes, leaving the coffee granules ready to be packed.

Another second way in which instant Coffee is produced is by spray drying. This is done by sparing the instant Coffee in liquid form at a higher temperature of about 248 degrees Celsius. The water in the Coffee will evaporate, and only the coffee powder will hit the ground. Instant Coffee undergoes difficult production processes to make it last for a long time.

K-cup Coffee is usually produced by roasting and finely grounding arabica beans. Extra ingredients are added to the coffee grinds and packed in K-cups. Nitrogen is also put in the coffee pod to ensure it maintains the flavor and does not go bad easily.

Instant Coffee wins under the production process, and too lengthy steps are followed to produce its high quality.

Instant Coffee vs K-cups: A comparison overview

K-cups – Overview

Instant Coffee vs K-cups -what is the real difference?
K-cups. Image source: Amazon

Since I started using instant Coffee, I minimized my calorie intake in the morning as this Coffee only has two calories. At first, I was not used to this Coffee’s slightly bitter taste, but I came to love it after a few weeks. One thing about this Coffee is that it is very healthy and has less caffeine, which I usually go for when I take less Coffee.

What I liked;

  • Has fewer calories
  • The caffeine amount is moderate

What I didn’t like;

  • Has a slightly sour taste.

Who is best suited for

  • Best suited for a person looking for a less sweet coffee with a few calories.

Instant Coffee- Overview

Instant Coffee vs K-cups
Instant Coffee. Image source: Pinterest

I love the days I usually get to use my k-cup Coffee as it gives leaves a smooth and refreshing taste in my mouth. Additionally, k-cup Coffee tastes sweet because I do not have to add extra sugar. I also love that this Coffee has more caffeine to energize me when my working hours are crazy.

What I liked;

  • It has a smooth and sweet taste
  • It has a rich flavor

What I didn’t like;

  • The price is slightly high

Who its best suited for:

  • It is best suited for a person who doesn’t mind extra calories and sugar in their Coffee.

Final Verdict: So, which is Better? – Instant Coffee or K-cups?

Overall, k-cup Coffee is better than instant Coffee, as it is made from quality sweet and chocolatey Arabica beans. More ingredients are added to this Coffee, giving it a rich flavor not found in instant Coffee. The caffeine content in the k-cup is also great for that extra boost you may need. Although it is pretty expensive, k-cup Coffee is worth every coin.

FAQ Section

Which is stronger, K-cups and Instant Coffee?

K-cup is the strongest as it has more caffeine content.

Which one is bitterer between, K-cups and Instant Coffee?

Instant Coffee is bitter as it is made from Robusta coffee beans.

Which is darker, Instant Coffee or K-cups?

Instant Coffee is darker.

Is instant Coffee less healthy than K-cups?

Instant Coffee is healthier as it has few fats and calories.

Does instant Coffee taste better than K-cups?

Instant Coffee does not taste better than k-cups as it is slightly bitter.

Are K-Cups filled with instant Coffee?

No, K-cups are filled with their own coffee grinds.

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