Food & Drink

I'm a Coffee Snob, but I Love Instant Coffee

Hand dropping coffee grounds into mug of coffee
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

I love instant coffee and I would get down on one damn knee and propose to it if the world were the kind of place that allowed human/coffee marriages. And I want to tell you why. But first, let’s get a couple crucial facts out of the way before you spend the next five to ten minutes (depending on how much you like reading) learning about how much I adore soluble wake-up juice.

1. I’m a coffee snob in the sense that I love, appreciate, and seek out good coffee.
2. That being said, I’m not the most knowledgeable coffee nerd out there; I just like what I like and dislike what I dislike.
3. The instant coffee in question refers to one brand and one brand alone: Café Bustelo.

So, now that that's settled, onto my reasons!

Hand cutting lines of coffee, Cafe Bustelo instant coffee
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Instant coffee isn’t the same as coffee, and that’s the appeal

I think of it like this: a delicious burger from Burger King can’t be compared to a Michelin Star burger prepared by someone with a French-sounding name in one of those tall paper hats. A burger from Burger King is, by all accounts, a Burger King burger: cheap, easy, and tasty in its own way. Café Bustelo instant coffee isn’t coffee, it’s Café Bustelo.

Instant coffee simply cannot compare to an expensive Americano made from those beans that little Indonesian cats poop out. They're fundamentally different things.

I love it, because it tastes sublime

Going back to the burger analogy, not all fast food meals taste good… Café Bustelo tastes amazing. It’s thick, syrupy, rich, and strong. It’s a taste that continuously wines and dines my taste buds and buys them a taxi the morning after.

You can drink it black, with milk, or -- how I like it -- with a little bit of condensed milk. Don’t trust my preferences, though; I’d drink a tall glass of condensed milk every single day if it was socially acceptable.

And, damn it, why shouldn’t you love something because it tastes good?!

Glasses of Cafe Bustelo instant coffee
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Instant coffee is hugely dependable

As I previously stated, I’m a coffee snob and -- as a coffee snob -- I’m always tasting new cups all over New York. I’ve had good coffee and I’ve had coffee that makes me wonder if the beans were plucked out of a back alley dumpster. With instant coffee, there is no trial and error, no sense of worry that you won't be satisfied with the money you just spent.

You throw two scoops of the stuff into a mug, add boiling hot water, dress it up with milk and sugar (or sweet, sweet forbidden condensed milk) and drink it. It’s almost like being married: you wake up with the same person every single day and can guarantee they won’t wake up one morning and be like: “Let’s open this relationship and spend $300 on Governor’s Ball!”

It’s cheap as dirt! Delicious, delicious dirt.

To further preface the way I buy and spend, I am of the chosen people who tend to be… uh, relatively thrifty? I’m a Jew with a capital J for “Just don’t like spending excess cash.” But since I love eating and drinking, when I do spend, my money goes towards restaurants and frothy drinks.

One thing (real unit of measurement) of Café Bustelo costs $6. The number of cups that can be procured from that one thing? Maybe two dozen. I ain’t no mathematician, but that’s a pretty cost efficient way to sip your morning Joe.

Prove me wrong, math!

Spilled cafe bustelo and cup of coffee
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

It’s easy on the soul

I’m not a perfectionist -- if fact, I think I’m an imperfectionist. Ask any of my editors, they’ll vouch for me. So imagine how I feel when I wake up every morning and make a cup of coffee that I know I’ll love. There’s no fiddling around, no weighing beans, no measuring water, no patiently waiting. There is no art to instant coffee and that’s what keeps me going every day.

If you don’t believe me, buy yourself some Café Bustelo for yourself and make some coffee.

And hey: tell ‘em Jeremy sent ya.

Just kidding, there’s no one to tell. Also, don’t use my name.
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and really hopes Café Bustelo sees this and sends him free coffee.