• Matthew Johnson

Why I Eat Instant Coffee

As it turns out, there is no actual need to mix instant coffee powder with water. There’s nothing stopping you from taking a spoonful of the dry, solid stuff and eating it directly. So, from time to time, when the occasion is right and I need some energy, I eat instant coffee. Going about my day, I will often carry around a spoon and a small glass jar of the stuff, just in case.

Now, I imagine that hearing this is either mortifying or fascinating, particularly to anyone who is scrolling through the blog section of Crackin Coffee. Let me clarify a few things right off the bat. First, when I say instant coffee, I do NOT mean coffee grounds; the grounds themselves not meant to be eaten. The water-soluble instant coffee powder, on the other hand, is fully meant to be consumed. Second, eating instant coffee has never been and will never be the ideal. It is done merely out of convenience, and in any circumstance where a quality cup of freshly-ground brew is easily accessible, that is far preferable. That said, I argue that there are times when eating instant coffee is perfectly reasonable.

I first began eating instant coffee in college, the semester when I studied abroad in Paris. Yes, as if it weren’t sacrilegious enough, I had to choose a city known worldwide for its cuisine and cafés. I was fully aware that there’s a place to get coffee on every street corner. As I would go about my day with classes, I would often get tired and be in desperate need of caffeine, multiple times a day. Being both a cheap and busy individual, I had neither the time to spend at a café nor the willingness to cough up money to do so either. It gets expensive very quickly! So, I instead got a little container of instant coffee at the local grocery mart, only to realize that I had another problem; I seldom had access to the ability to heat up water. If I were at my apartment or perhaps working in an office, this wouldn’t have been a problem, but they don’t exactly keep kettles lying around the classroom. As such, my options were limited. I had but a spoon and the will to do what was necessary.

Not that this should surprise you, but instant coffee tastes absolutely horrendous. I usually follow a spoonful with a swig of water in a frail attempt to flush the taste of out my mouth. I view the process as being similar to taking a shot of espresso, albeit with the ingredients consumed in completely the wrong manner. I do gain a sense of pride in being able to say “I am the espresso machine”, however. While not pleasant, eating instant coffee works wonder. The first time I did it, it felt like what I imagine a superhero feels when they first get their powers. I swear I could see the very air molecules in front of my eyes vibrating. I stayed awake in class, to say the very least.

(As a side note, for health reasons, I would strongly caution against eating instant coffee for anyone who does not have at least a moderate caffeine tolerance. I do not claim to know the health risks involved in my activities, as it appears that scientific research into the matter is oddly limited.)

Eating instant coffee is normal, even mundane to me nowadays. What can I say? It works. I do prefer the taste of properly brewed coffee, but that’s not always so readily available like my jar of powder. So, the next time you find yourself tired and in a pinch, I recommend giving the unthinkable a try. Just take a spoonful of the concentrated abomination and see what it does for you!

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