The Nescafé Instant Coffee Flavor You Really Shouldn't Drink

Love it or loathe it — instant coffee is a big market for food giant Nestlé. While the number of U.S. coffee drinkers buying a cup of coffee at their local shop or popping a capsule in a single-cup brewing machine at home has grown exponentially, many people still like the low cost and convenience of the powdered stuff. Naturally, just like with any coffee, some instant coffee varieties are better than others, and when it comes to Nescafé, we've done the work that might save you the mistake of bringing home a clunker.

At the very bottom of our ranked list of Nescafé instant coffees is hazelnut-flavored Taster's Choice. The powdered coffee is sweetened with both sugar and the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium. Our taster thought it had a strong artificial aroma and flavor. Unfortunately, there's no actual hazelnut to be found in the packet, only chemical flavors. If you want hazelnut coffee, we agree with our taster that you'd be better off with a plain instant coffee and one of our favorite coffee syrup flavors. At least you can control the sweetness that way.

Low quality beans make for bitter instant coffee

Nescafé's Taster's Choice box doesn't specifically state the type of bean used to make this powdered coffee, but if they used high-quality Arabica beans, we're sure it would rate a mention. Most instant coffees use lower-quality Robusta beans, which are known to have a bitter, burnt aftertaste. That background flavor might have contributed to the poor rating of the hazelnut-flavored instant brand — it certainly would not have helped. The extra flavors and sugar are not enough to overcome a bad basic bean.

Interestingly, the package ingredients also list caramel coloring. Our taster also noted that the directions call for more water (8 oz) than some of the other Nescafé instant products. Could it be that the extra water makes for a more dilute coffee flavor that needs some color enhancement? Let's leave that a mystery — skip this jar if you love the flavor of coffee. You'll find some winners on the list that will make your tastebuds much happier.