Founded in 1980, Cafe Altura was the first organic coffee company in the United States. They run a small operation in Santa Paula, CA, working with organic, Fair-Trade coffee suppliers internationally.
They recently launched a new Organic Instant Coffee, which I was excited about. I travel about ten months a year, and not every destination has a coffee brewing setup or a nearby coffeehouse.
While I am considering buying an aeropress for travel, having high-quality instant coffee nearby is almost a necessity. And always buying the organic option has become mandatory for my wife and myself.
The packaging is elegant. A squared glass jar with rounded corners is topped by an easy to open lid with a Non-GMO Project sticker. Inside is a vacuum seal, under which are the familiar instant coffee granules.
I only have tablespoons in my current abode, so I eyeballed about a teaspoon and a half based on the recommendation of 1-2 teaspoons.
The coffee is an enjoyable surprise. It is not as full-bodied as a drip coffee, and dissolving coffee in water is noticeably different than brewing a fresh cup. But the flavor is remarkable, low in acidity, with notes of caramel and fig. As it cools, there is almost no bitterness, and as of this writing, it sits gently in the stomach.
While instant coffee generally has less caffeine per cup, this has plenty – I can feel a bit of the rush without any jitters.
I drink coffee black, no sugar. I could imagine that anyone who gussies up their joe with milk, sweetener or liquor would find this instant coffee indistinguishable from the real deal.
Frankly, I’m impressed. There’s a place for instant coffee when it’s organic and good. It will never replace a pour-over at Intelligentsia. But it will do the job without complaint and with a smile.
(photo credit: author, iPhone. disclaimer: I have done some web development and consulting work with Cafe Altura. This review was unsolicited, uncompensated and the product for review was purchased by me.)