Here is your guide to the best Korean Instant Coffee!
- Here is your guide to the best Korean Instant Coffee!
- Why is Korean Coffee So Popular?
- Korea’s Coffee Culture Explained
- Paving the way for Korean Instant Coffee
- Is Korean Instant Coffee Bad For You?
- How to Make Instant Coffee
- How To Drink Instant Coffee
- The Best Korean Instant Coffee Brands To Buy
- Maxim coffee
- Namyang French coffee
- Ediya Coffee
- Kanu Instant Coffee
- Final Verdict
Coffee, particularly instant coffee, is woven into the social fabric of Korean life. Since the early 2000’s the coffee culture in Korea has exploded and shaped the social life of the average Korean. The nation’s obsession with coffee is best illustrated by the number of coffee shops.
In Stark contrast to the UK, which has a population of 66 million and 24,000 coffee shops; Korea’s population of 51 million has around 70,000 with 14,000 more shops opening every year! It’s no wonder the nation transformed from one of the poorest to one of the richest in only one generation.
In fact, Koreans continue to embrace the coffee culture by opening bold and unique cafes such as poop and raccoon cafés, which you can find all over Seoul.
Before the emergence of the giant franchises like Starbucks, which sell an endless selection of coffee, you might wonder what coffee Koreans liked to drink.
As you might have guessed already; It wasn’t the succulent Mocha Frappuccinos with extra cream, but:
Why is Korean Coffee So Popular?
Instant coffee has a long history in Korea. You only need to look around to see how it dripped its way into the work culture.
Just like a heroin addict craving his next fix, Koreans, not all of course, but a large majority need that shot of coffee. The taxi driver you see on the side of the road aren’t drinking cups of lemonade, diet coke, or soju. Hopefully, it’s not soju, the Korean spirit which is ingrained into the daily lives of Koreans, but coffee-namely instant coffee.
Taxi drivers love it. Not to mention the bus drivers, company workers, shopkeepers, and schoolteachers.
Everyone’s on it!
The convenience of being relatively cheap and easy to make makes instant coffee irresistible.
The sachets are freely available in school staff rooms and company board rooms; restaurants and homes up and down the country.
Korea’s Coffee Culture Explained
So you might ask, how and why did coffee come to the Korean peninsular?
Coffee has become deep-rooted in Korean culture. But this hasn’t always been the case.
Coffee has only been part of South Korea’s culture since the late-19th century when King Gojong became the first Korean to try coffee.
In 1896 Antoinette Sontag, the sister-in-law of the Russian ambassador presented the king with the iconic beverage. It seemed the King gained a liking to coffee because he would seal coffee bean with his royal approval that same year.
After the king’s rubber stamp, only the upper classes could afford it. Coffee would later become a symbol of modernization in Korea; it would become a powerful symbol for the wealthy elite.
Paving the way for Korean Instant Coffee
Coffee shops called Dabangs emerged in 1927, particularly in and around Myeongdong Seoul.
Inside Debangs locals could enjoy eating savory cakes with western cutlery, such as knives and forks, and drink coffee from cups, instead of the traditional soup bowls. A culinary revolution had begun.
Not long after the Debangs opened, cafes gained traction around 1970. Exclusive coffee shops began opening around Seoul, which catered for the businessmen, professionals, and students. With the surge in cafes and coffee; instant coffee then hit the scene in 1976!
Dongsun Foods was the first company to introduce instant coffee to the country by selling instant coffee mix packs in 1976. (Maxim coffee sticks)
Alongside Instant coffee, a transformation happened!
Coffee no longer had to be enjoyed in exclusive cafes, it could now be drunk in the homes and offices of ordinary citizens.
A new wave of enjoying coffee had begun.
By the end of 1990, South Korea had become the largest consumer of instant coffee in the world. Not only was it trendy, but it was cheap, had a long shelf life, and was very convenient.
Is Korean Instant Coffee Bad For You?
After tearing the sachet and pouring the coffee it into the cup, you might peer in and look at the mass of coffee waiting to be stirred.
No doubt you’ve probably questioned yourself after drinking the grainy powder. I’ve sometimes asked myself:
“Is this maxium instant coffee going to give me cancer?”
Well, thankfully it’s not going to kill you, and unlikely to give you cancer.
There’s even evidence to suggest it has a host of benefits for you health:
- It has generally the same, and even in some brands, more antioxidants than filtered coffee.
- Instant coffee also has less caffeine. With a standard cup having a range of between 30-90mg of caffeine compared to a brewed coffee with 70-140mg.
- Clinical observations have also observed that it can enhance brain function and reduce the risk of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.
- It will also give your metabolism a boost to help you burn that unwanted fat.
However, instant coffee contains twice as much acrylamide.
Acrylamide is a potentially harmful chemical that is formed when the coffee beans are roasted.
Although, the amount of Acrylamide you’re exposed to in coffee and your diet is way below the amount that has been shown to be harmful. Therefore, drinking instant coffee shouldn’t cause concern regarding Acrylamide.
Now, let’s move onto what you’ve been waiting for.
How to Make Instant Coffee
- First, get your coffee packet and tear it along the top where it says “easy cut.”
- Pour the contents of the sachet into a cup and wait for the kettle to boil.
- Once the kettle bottles, pour the water into the cup and stir.
- Last but not least, stir and then sip until you need your next fix!
*Also with the Maxim sticks, you can control the amount of sugar you want in your cup.
Where it says Easy to cut, tear it along the dotted lines but hold the other side firmly with your fingers. With this in mind, you can control the amount of sugar that goes into your cup.
How To Drink Instant Coffee
Koreans usually drink instant coffee with 4oz of water to one instant coffee stick. However, for me, i usually use two sticks with 8oz of water.
Give it a try!
The Best Korean Instant Coffee Brands To Buy
Okay, I will start with the best Korean instant coffee brands and instant coffee; maybe this is the nation’s choice too.
1. Maxim White Gold
2. Maxim Mocha Gold
Maxim also sells a wide variety of instant coffees that you might prefer.
These include Maxim Mocha light, original and Maxim Decaffeinated.
Namyang French coffee
3. Namyang French Cafe Mix
Namyang also sells a lot of different instant coffees. Another great one to try is the French Cafe Arabica.
4. Ediya Cafe Beanist: Original Americano
Ediya also sells a range of instant coffees including Mild Americano and Dark Americano.
Kanu Instant Coffee
5. Kanu Dark Roast Americano.
It also has a wide range of instant coffees including Sweet, Decaffeinated, and Americano
Maxim coffee is the most famous instant coffee in Korea, so if you want an authentic drink, buy maxim! Nevertheless, there are many other brands to choose from which all have a variety of flavours to choose from.
As stated above, my personal favorite is Maxim White Gold, and I think this is one of the best coffee mixes you can buy.
If you have a favorite, tell me what you think by commenting below.
Enjoy Korean coffee!