I recently had the opportunity to drink two of DOMA’s current offerings of instant craft coffee—the Carmela’s blend and small batch Rwanda—produced in collaboration with Swift Cup Coffee, a specialty instant coffee company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While instant coffee will always have a slight freeze-dried-esque flavor edge to it, both of these coffees brewed true to their whole bean origins.
The ambition to brew a quickly soluble coffee drink is as old as the trenches of the American Civil War. Then, in 1881, a Frenchman named Alphonse Allais invented and patented the first instant coffee, followed by a long line of inventors who developed new processes for producing instant coffee. In 1965, Nestlé launched their freeze-dried version, NESCAFÉ, and the instant coffee industry grew dramatically.
Today, Folger’s Instant, released in 1953, is the top-selling instant coffee in the US, but the style has gained a negatively “cheap” reputation. In 2015, a few people within the “third wave” coffee industry began asking, “Does instant coffee really have to be bad?”
Thus, three major specialty instant coffee companies were born: Swift Cup Coffee, Sudden Coffee and Voilà. These three have made it possible for roasters around the country, like DOMA Coffee Roasting Company based in Post Falls, Idaho, to offer their core blends and rotating single origin roasts in instant form that you can take anywhere and enjoy immediately.
The Rwanda was complex with some sweetness and distinctive citrus notes. Carmela’s is all caramel and chocolate and is well complimented by a little cream. DOMA also currently offers Jackie Oh decaf and DEEP Guatemala as “instant craft coffee” at the roastery, but they have other coffees in their hopper from the past and for the future. A box of 6 packs is $16, and single packs, when available, are $2.75. I found that one pack brewed a fairly viscous 8-ounce cup, but 12 ounces drew out more of the flavors and complexity of both brews.
Visit the roastery in Post Falls or its website to purchase, and try it out for yourself on the trail, the slopes, the road, or a snowy morning at home.
To read more of S. Michal Bennett’s Provisions food and beverage recommendations and reviews, visit her contributor archives.