Let’s get this out of the way, first. I’m not a coffee snob.
But I do like like good-tasting coffee. That can be a freshly brewed mug at IHOP, a latte my friend makes me with her Breville, or just some coffee I whipped up with a French press if I’m feeling fancy. Instant coffee really doesn’t fall into the category of “good-tasting coffee.” In fact, the last time I had instant coffee was when I was little and my grandma was making me “coffee milk” with Instant Folgers and whole milk. (It was the ’90s and kids consumed things like Tang and shelf-stable tacos in a plastic box, okay?) To me, instant coffee tastes like coffee flavor — like candy, or the essence of coffee. Not coffee-coffee.
Until I made an impulse purchase on Amazon one night. I’m really not sure what compelled me to buy two huge bags of instant coffee packets online (#risky), but the packaging intrigued me, and the reviews were fantastic. And I was running out of coffee.
Vinacafe is a pre-sweetened instant coffee mix that you can generally find in international markets (I’ve seen it before at Ranch 99, an Asian grocery franchise that’s mainly located on the West Coast, but you can find a few locations in the Northeast and Texas). It’s convenient, perfectly caffeinated, and it’s not overly sweetened or tastes like chemicals. It really does taste like you brewed yourself the perfect cup of diner coffee.
What’s awesome is that it comes in a pre-portioned packet so you don’t have to wonder if you’re “doing it right.”
You just pour the contents into your mug of choice.
And then add hot water. Boom. Perfect cup of coffee.
“This is just a comfort coffee. I don’t know why other cafe con leche mixes don’t match up, but this little cup of comfort has just the right blend of coffee, milk, and sugar. It dissolves evenly and quickly. Travels well too so I can avoid nasty hotel in-room coffee. I have been loving on this coffee for years,” one person reviewed on Amazon.
Another wrote, “I love this coffee! Wow was I surprised that an instant coffee could taste like it was freshly brewed. I’m the coffee drinker that grinds my own beans and use a French press. The packaging is fantastic for traveling a simple hot cup of water is all you need. I just returned from Las Vegas where they don’t supply coffee makers in the hotel rooms. This is so the can charge you $6 a cup at their coffee shops. Having Vinacafe saved me well over $100.”
For under $11, you get 40 packets, which is 40 cups of coffee. Not a bad deal. This will be my caffeinated beverage of choice probably until they figured out how to make cheap Pistachio Lattes from Starbucks.