We're a country of coffee lovers, from cafes in our laneways to tuck-shops at the oval, but rising cost-of-living has pushed Australians to brew at home.
In 2022 Australians spent $1.548 billion on coffee products at the supermarket. Instant coffee, a pantry staple, proved to be as popular as beans and pods.
A panel of experts from Choice blind-tasted 18 supermarket instant coffee brands including Aldi, Coles, Nescafe, Moccona and Lavazza. They also assessed claims around sustainability and caffeination.
The experts were looking for floral, fruity and spicy aromas and flavours as well as sweetness and high acidity.
"Although plenty of instant coffees scored highly for taste, a recurring comment across all the products we tested was that the acidity was on the medium to low side," Choice said.
"This seems to be one of the main negative characteristics of instant coffee, as higher acidity is associated with higher quality."
The experts gave Bushells Classic Gourmet instant coffee the highest rating at 83 per cent.
The coffee was "well balanced" with "sweet dark chocolate aroma, good flavour, nice undertone, mild to medium acidity, good body".
Robert Timms Full-Bodied granulated coffee was awarded 81 per cent based on the "fruity aroma, fairly robust flavour". The experts considered the coffee smooth with "some sweetness".
Coles Classic Smooth and Bold was very cost effective with "good flavour" and a sweet and nutty aroma winning the coffee 80 per cent.
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Vittoria's Mountain Grown Arabica also scored 80 per cent but was more than six times as expensive as Coles Classic.
The panel of experts at Choice said the coffee had a "nice well-balanced flavour" with mild sweetness and acidity.
The average Australian is paying $5.40 for a latte. At three coffees per week, Choice calculates a yearly expenditure of $840.
"If we compare this to instant coffee, the average cost per serve based on our review is a minuscule 14 cents (not including milk)," Choice said.
"Even if you upped your intake to one a day, it would still cost you just 98 cents per week, which adds up to $51 a year."
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