Instant coffee is pretty simple: Spoon some powder into a mug and add hot water. But to many coffee fans (or coffee snobs), it’s pretty much treason to be caught with such a basic, unfancy drink. However, instant coffee has several benefits: it’s quick, cheap and does the trick (aka has enough caffeine to wake you up). 

But if you make your typical Costco-brand instant coffee (I use Nescafé’s Taster’s Choice House Blend) according to the instructions of just adding water, the results are pretty bland. Sure, you have coffee, but it’s more like dark, soupy water that’s bitter and only good when piping hot. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are two easy ways to jazz up your instant coffee game!

Christine Tu / Daily Nexus

1) Instant Coffee Latte

This summer, the TikTok trend of dalgona coffee blew up and had everyone and their mother trying out this instant coffee recipe. But for those who don’t have the time to get those famous stiff peaks whipped, here’s an easy hack to get that same latte effect. 

  1. Mix together 3 tablespoons of your preferred instant coffee with 1 tablespoon of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar. 
  2. Using a chopstick or the handle of a spoon, vigorously mix this together until it is totally combined and no lumps remain.
  3. Start adding your preferred milk (I personally like to use soy) in 1/2 cup increments, mixing thoroughly each time. In total, I like to add 1 1/2 cups of milk. 

2) Nutella coffee

For those who are totally obsessed with this sweet topping and can eat it straight from the jar, consider adding it to your daily coffee! The sugar is perfect for countering the natural bitterness of instant coffee, and the nutty chocolate flavor makes it so much more delicious. 

  1. Mix together 3 tablespoons of your preferred instant coffee with 2 tablespoons of hot water and 2 tablespoons of Nutella. 
  2. Repeat steps 2 and 3 of the previous recipe.
  3. For added decoration, spoon Nutella onto the rim of your cup (optional). 

There are also several fun variations that you could use for both recipes. For example, instead of Nutella, chocolate powder or peanut butter make great substitutes. In the end, instant coffee may get a bad rap for being bitter and, well, instant. But making these simple changes can make it seem like you’re drinking freshly made Starbucks for a fraction of the price!


Christine Tu
Christine Tu is an opinion staff writer and economics major. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and making snazzy to-do lists.