Blue Bottle has built its brand on the idea that good coffee is worth waiting for. If you’ve ever set foot in one of their cafes, you’ll likely have to wait as they meticulously prepare a cup of pour-over coffee or espresso. That’s why it might come as a bit of a surprise that the brand’s latest venture isn’t an espresso blend or a single-origin, but a jar of instant coffee. Three years in the making, Blue Bottle’s new Craft Instant Coffee is a wholly new take on instant coffee.
Unlike most jarred instant coffee, Blue Bottle’s Craft Instant emulates espresso, rather than drip coffee. It’s also specifically designed to be brewed as a latte, and it can be consumed either hot or iced. The jar has enough instant coffee for 12 servings, and it’s available as of today for $25.
There are other ways to make espresso without an espresso machine, such as using an Aeropress or moka pot, but Blue Bottle’s Instant Craft Espresso has to be one of the easiest. It’s suited for any time of year, too, because it can be brewed hot or iced.
In order to make an iced latte, add 1 teaspoon of instant and 1 ounce of hot water. Then, add ice and 6 to 8 ounces of milk or dairy alternative. Blue Bottle’s Instant Craft Espresso can also be brewed hot. Add 1 teaspoon of coffee, then add 6 to 8 ounces of milk or milk alternative.
I had a chance to test Blue Bottle’s Craft Instant Espresso to see if Blue Bottle could pull off the impossible and make great instant coffee. The verdict: it’s good, but it’s not an espresso machine killer. The main catch with Blue Bottle’s instant espresso is that it’s not quite instant and not quite espresso.
In order to enjoy it hot, you’ll have to heat up the milk. I tried it hot with oat milk, which I heated up on the stove. The recommended temperature is 155 F, which I used a thermometer to achieve. It was more convenient than many other brewing methods, but heating milk on the stove and measuring it with a thermometer isn’t quite as simple as just dumping boiling water into a cup. That said, brewing iced will be easier since you only need to heat water.
Without the pressure of an espresso machine, you won’t get the same boldness or the rich crema with Blue Bottle’s Instant that you would with true espresso, though the same can be said of any alternate espresso method like a moka pot.
Despite the drawbacks, Blue Bottle’s Craft Instant Espresso is easily the best instant coffee I’ve had. The resulting latte was rich yet smooth, without any of the burnt flavors that are typical with instant coffee. If you want great espresso without having to splurge on an expensive machine, this is one of the easiest ways to enjoy lattes. It’s a great, convenient option, and it’s fair to say Blue Bottle has changed the instant coffee game.