Is Espresso Powder The Same as Instant Coffee?

What is Espresso Powder?

What is espresso powder, and is espresso powder the same as instant coffee? Espresso powder and instant coffee are different. Espresso powder is darkly roasted coffee beans that are ground, brewed, dried, and crushed to a thin powder. Espresso powder is strong and more concentrated than instant coffee, which is dehydrated.

espresso powder

What Can it be Used For?

Espresso powder has a darker flavor that you can use to:

Vegan Lattes

With espresso powder, hot water, and granules, you can make vegan lattes, almond milk mochas, soy lattes, and any hot or iced latte you choose.

Make Chocolate Sauces and Frostings

Adding some espresso powder to chocolate sauces gives them a rich and nuanced flavor. You can also use espresso powder on sweet dessert sauces, marinades, and vegan mole sauces.

Bake Chocolate Cake

Stirring a teaspoon of espresso powder into any cake you are baking; brownies, chocolate cookies, chocolate cake, or chocolate soufflé batter gives them an intensified chocolate flavor.

Sprinkle on Ice Cream

Sprinkling a couple of scoops of espresso powder on a chocolate or vanilla ice cream adds a great taste.

Stir Into Chili

Adding one or two tablespoons of espresso powder to a simmering or a vegetarian chili which most lack complexity, adds an incredible depth and rich flavor.

Make a Rub for Meat

Combining espresso powder and savory spices such as cayenne, chipotle powder, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and garlic powder makes a perfect dry rub for ribs and steaks.

Espresso Powder vs. Instant Coffee – Differences and Similarities

Differences Between Expresso Powder vs. Instant Coffee


Espresso powder and instant coffee have different tastes. Instant coffee taste is for people on the run who don’t want to spend time fermenting their coffee, while espresso shots are a concentrated liquid with a pungent taste.

Caffeine Content

Espresso powder gives the best caffeine content and flexibility, which most coffee lovers like.

A shot of espresso has approximately 0.002 to 0.0039 oz (58 to 112 mg) of caffeine, and it is not rare for people to have a couple of espresso shots.

Instant coffee caffeine content is fixed during the procession process and is not controllable by the consumer.

A cup of instant coffee has between 0.0028 to 0.0042 oz (80 to 120 mg) of caffeine, and you have to drink more.

Bean Selection

Espresso powder is from Arabic beans, which are better, reserved, highly cultivated, and grow in excellent conditions for high-end coffee.

Instant coffee is a product of robusta beans that is not high quality like Arabic beans and are cheap and harsher.


Espresso powder is a dark roasted bean that is ground finely to a dissolvable powder and is more concentrated. The primary purpose of espresso powder is baking. 

Instant coffee is a dehydrated and ground bean, less concentrated, and is mixed with hot water to make ordinary brewed coffee.


Arabica beans are expensive, making the espresso powder costly, while robusta beans are cheap, making instant coffee economical.

Similarities of Expresso Powder and Instant Coffee

  • Both have the same procession process.
  • Both powders are dry to their various concentrated coffee form.
  • The freezing and drying manufacturing process make instant coffee and espresso powder.
  • Making respective coffee drinks for espresso powder and instant coffee is easy. You only need hot water and coffee powder.
  • They dissolve in water, which is satisfying, unlike ground coffee, which has leftovers after dissolving.
  • Instant coffee is from robusta beans; sometimes, you can get espresso powder from the robusta beans.
Prepare espresso powder

Where to Find Espresso Powder

You can find espresso in a grocery store, in the coffee aisle, international aisle, and in the baking aisle.

Grocery stores where you can find espresso powder are:


Amazon has a lot of options, such as Anthony espresso powder, King Arthur espresso powder, and various imported espresso products.


Walmart’s online and physical stores have espresso powder products such as DeLallo Instant Espresso Powder, and you can use the store locator to know the available products. 


Kroger grocery has espresso powder in their coffee aisle.

Whole Foods 

The whole food coffee section has DeLallo and other espresso powder products.


Safeway has espresso powder products such as Delallo or Medaglia d’Oro on their coffee aisle.


Target grocery may not have espresso powder but instant espresso granules.


Publix doesn’t have espresso powder but has instant espresso granules.

Spice Shops 

Spice shops usually sell spices but often have espresso powder in the store.

Gourmet Food Stores

Gourmet is specifically a food store, but they also have espresso powder in their stores.

Italian Markets

Most Italian markets have espresso powder, whole beans, and ground espresso.

How to Make Espresso Powder at Home

Spread the Espresso Grounds on a Baking Sheet

The first step to making espresso powder at home is to spread the grounds into a thin layer on a baking sheet. It is optimal to grind the coffee finely but use only some beans. You must break it up if you choose to use a puck from a portafilter.

Bake at Low Heat for an Hour

Heat the oven to around 200° F (93.33 °C), put the baking sheet in the middle, and allow it to bake for an hour. When they are ready, the grounds will be toasted and fully dried.

If the grounds are damp, you may need to heat them a little longer. The reason for baking them in the oven is to dry them.

Allow the Ground to Cool and Gring Them Finely

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the grounds to cool. Once they cool, grind the batches you need finely in a spice or coffee grinder.

If you don’t own a grinder, you can use a food processor, blender, mortar, or pestle.

Store in an Airtight Container

Store the espresso powder in an airtight container for the best flavor. The powder may lose its flavor when in contact with oxygen, like most spices. The flavor of espresso powder can last for up to six months.

Does Espresso Powder Have Caffeine?

Does espresso powder have caffeine? Espresso powder has high caffeine content that ranges from 0.001 to 0.0028 oz (30 to 80 mg) per 0.007 oz (200 mg) teaspoon powder. According to USDA, the caffeine content is similar to 0.0022 oz (63 mg) per shot.

The caffeine content in an espresso powder is a powerful stimulant that helps clear any bad mood you may have and give a brighter direction, boosts brain activity, stimulates the spirit, takes away exhaustion, and helps with depression.

Benefits of Drinking Espresso

Strengthens Long-Term Memory

Drinking espresso helps with memory, aids brain retention of stored information, and helps recall.

For example, if you study for an exam and take espresso powder, you are more likely to remember the details.

Improves Concentration

Espresso boosts your energy and makes it easy for the brain to focus. If you are slow, the best way to kick the exhaustion is to take a cup of espresso. Espresso also kicks the dopamine in your brain and helps in concentration.

High in Antioxidants

Coffee contains a wide variety of antioxidants, like a nasty package of well-concentrated antioxidants.

Espresso contains cafestol which is anti-inflammatory. Hydrocinnamic acids neutralize free radicals, such as UV rays, smoking hazards, and air pollution. Espresso also contains polyphenol, which prevents diseases.

Boosts Physical Activity

Drinking espresso before any physical activity, like a sporting event or daily workout, increases performance. It also enhances strength and speed to perform more efficiently and go longer. Still, taking proper breaks throughout your physical exertion is always a good idea.

It also helps to prevent muscle soreness that comes with a tougher workout.

Improves Digestion

If you have trouble digestion, a cup of espresso helps your digestive cycle move alongside you. But due to the inflammation in the espresso powder, you may feel bloated or sick after a meal.

Reduces the Chance of Diabetes and Stroke

Espresso helps reduce the risk of diabetes; it is not a must to add ream or sugars; you can take it as it is. You can enjoy your espresso drink without worrying about excessive calorie intake. It is much healthier than most coffees, although it depends on what you pair it with.

Research shows that espresso reduces the risk of women’s stroke. Overall, espresso is beneficial to your health.

What is a Good Substitute for Espresso Powder?

What is a good substitute for espresso powder? If you don’t have espresso powder, you can use the following replacements.

Instant Coffee

The first substitute for espresso powder is instant coffee: their flavors are very similar and give a water-soluble coffee powder. Instant coffee does not have leftovers or a chalky taste in the espresso powder. Instant coffee is an excellent substitute for baking chocolate desserts. Still, you need to use a double portion to have a strong flavor and the best result, similar to espresso powder.

Natural Cocoa Powder

Natural cocoa powder acts as a great substitute for espresso powder. Natura cocoa powder is acidic and bitter, giving a fruit cocoa bean flavor if you use large portions; be careful. Natural cocoa heightens a chocolate dessert, a sweet or a good-baked recipe that needs an espresso flavor. You can use a ratio of 1:1 natural cocoa powder to espresso powder.

Brewed Coffee

If you don’t have espresso powder and have a recipe that requires liquid brewed coffee, it is the perfect substitute to use and adds a pinch. The brewed coffee used to replace the espresso should be very strong. When making coffee, use less water than usual to get a similar result as the espresso powder.

Brewed Espresso

Brewed espresso process is the same as brewed coffee. Mix the brewed espresso with water; it is essential to use less for the recipe to get the best result. Add it to recipes that require liquids easily, such as brownies and cakes.

Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Dutch-processed cocoa powder is also an alternative substitute for espresso powder. It is acidic and has a more bitter taste than natural cocoa powder. So, be careful with dutch processed cocoa; it can give a high intensity and a deeper flavor to the recipe.

Ground Espresso

Ground espresso has a coarse texture and is more robust than espresso powder. If you use ground espresso as a substitute, crush them in a spice grinder and use small portions.

What is Instant Coffee?

What’s instant coffee? Instant coffee is brewed, dried, and ground robusta beans. Instant takes more time and work to process. There are two processes to make instant coffee: 

Spray-drying: Spray coffee extract into hot air; it dries the grounds and turns them into small pieces or fine powder.

Freeze-drying: Freeze the coffee extract, cut them into small pieces, and dry them at a low temperature under void conditions.

You only need hot water and coffee to make an instant drink. Instant coffee tastes bitter, and you can add milk or sugar.

Instant coffee is manufactured in bulk quantities, is a popular choice for most people, has less caffeine, and is cheaper than fresh and regular coffee.

instant coffee

Health Benefits of Instant Coffee

  • Instant coffee improves brain function.
  • Boost metabolism and helps to burn excess fat.
  • Instant coffee reduces health risks such as two diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and liver diseases such as liver cancer and cirrhosis.
  • Instant coffee improves mental health, such as depression and suicide.

Deciding Which One is Right for You

Which one is right for you, espresso vs. instant coffee? Your choice of coffee will depend on the equipment and preferences for preparing coffee espresso powder and instant coffee. You can use both espresso powder and instant coffee if you want a quick caffeine boost.

Instant Coffee

  • You can control how strong you want your coffee to be.
  • Easy to make.
  • Economical.
  • Less caffeine.
  • Instant coffee dissolves quickly in water.

Espresso Powder

  • It only dissolves slowly; you will need a machine with a portafilter and tamper to make the puck.
  • More caffeine.
  • Expensive.
  • Strong and darker flavor.

Whichever you choose, enjoy the coffee.

Can You Make Coffee With Espresso Powder and Vice Versa?

You can make espresso shots from instant coffee, but it will be better than the original. Put 30ml of water and two tsp of instant coffee, mix them at the desired temperature, and you will have your espresso shot.

You can make instant coffee with espresso powder, but the drink will be more concentrated, and you need to add more water to be similar to instant coffee.

Which One is Stronger?

Espresso powder has a strong and darker flavor, is more concentrated, and has high caffeine content compared to instant coffee.

Final Recommendation

Espresso powder and instant espresso are the same but different from instant coffee. If you are baking, espresso powder is the best to use, while instant coffee is best for drinking.

Instant espresso powder and instant coffee are quick fixes than regular coffee. Espresso powder is the strongest and has a quick boost of caffeine. 

Both instant coffee and espresso powder are good for mental health: they prevent depression and suicide but are great for overall health benefits. Espresso powder and instant coffee have the same manufacturing process and similar looks but different tastes, aromas, and bean selections.