When You're Short On Espresso Powder, Reach For Instant Coffee

Our love affair with coffee doesn't just stop at specialty coffee brews — people have been adding the wonderful scent and nutty coffee flavor to their food, sweets, and baked goods for ages. And when it comes to adding that rich coffee note to anything, you can hardly beat powdered espresso when it comes to robustness. But if you suddenly find yourself without any espresso powder ... don't panic! Your mocha brownies can still be rescued with instant coffee.

Instant coffee may not be as strong as espresso powder, but it can still get the job done just fine. It doesn't matter if you use instant coffee or powdered espresso, the flavor that they both impart will still be distinctly "coffee-ish." The only thing you need to watch out for is that instant coffee has a milder taste, so you'll want to use twice as much as you would with powdered espresso to achieve the same level of intensity.

One last bit of good news: the texture of instant coffee is just like powdered espresso, so there's no need to grind or process it any further. Just sprinkle it in as you would with powdered espresso, and you're good to go!

Add coffee to these recipes for a treat!

You can easily switch out instant coffee for powdered espresso in any recipe. Apart from the slight difference in strength, they'll give your dishes pretty much the same flavor and aroma (if you use the right amount). A fun way to try this out is by making coffee-infused chocolate chip cookies. Just mix it into the cookie dough before baking, and you'll have a fresh batch in about 10 to 15 minutes. This trick also works great for other baking recipes, like brownies, where even a small amount of coffee can make the chocolate taste richer.

Coffee powder can also be a great help in bread-making. Instead of adding it directly, brew your chosen coffee powder in hot water and then let it cool. Replace this cooled-down coffee with the water in your dough. It not only adds moisture to the dough, but also gives it a subtle acidic twist.

Lastly, here's a homemade coffee ice cream tip from Tasting Table's own Simone Gerber that starts right away with instant coffee — you can try this out if you want to see firsthand how instant coffee tastes in a recipe. The milder taste compared to espresso powder makes it a slightly better choice for sweet ice cream.