Best quick brew for your buck? Consumer NZ finds price doesn’t always equate to quality when it comes to instant coffee
Consumer staff have blind-taste tested nine instant coffee brands and found that higher price doesn't necessarily mean better taste – with a supermarket budget brand providing New Zealanders with the best at-home instant brew for their buck.
An important finding, as while it may be surprising to coffee connoisseurs, nearly half of New Zealanders are happy to opt for a cup of instant over a barista-made brew.
Filtering the results from best to worst
Robert Harris Colombian Blend took the top spot, thanks to its “chocolatey aroma” and the fact it “tastes like coffee”.
In second place was Nescafe Gold Original, which was described as having a “coffee-style whiff” and “inoffensive coffee taste”.
Coming in third was Pam’s Café Roast Instant Coffee, which, although tasting like quality coffee, was also described as having the unique aroma of “muddy football boots”.
“Our results show that rating a brand of instant coffee on its coffee-ness might seem silly on a surface level, but you can’t take it for granted,” said Ruairi O’Shea, Consumer NZ investigative writer.
“The remaining instant coffees that Consumer staff tasted were variously described as ‘bitter’ and ‘burnt’, ‘doesn’t taste like coffee’ and ‘more like coffee than the others’.”
A bitter truth
Costing $76.14 per 100g, the most expensive instant coffee was produced by the iconic Kiwi company Coffee Supreme – yet out of the nine coffees tasted, it ranked only sixth.
Classic Medium Roast by internationally known brand Moconna was $14 per 100g, yet ranked in seventh place.
"You can’t trust that a higher price, or a fancy brand, will give you a better quality product," said O'Shea.
“If you’re looking for a budget-friendly brew, then Pam’s Café Roast Instant Coffee could be the way to go. Although some panelists found the aroma questionable, it’s about four times cheaper than first and second place -which only scored marginally higher anyway”
The cost of a coffee has risen 11% over the past 2 years - its steepest price increase in a decade.
“It’s fair to say that I was expecting a panel of coffee-spoiled Wellingtonians to be tough on taste, though some of the results surprised even them,” said O'Shea.
Read Consumer’s complete instant coffee taste test results here.