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Those of you that are regular readers of this coffee blog will already know I’m not a strong advocate for instant coffee. Sure, instant coffee has carved out its corner in the food chain, and there’s nothing wrong with using a packet of instant for a cooking recipe or when you’re stranded on a desert island and there’s nothing else to drink!
But, my dislike for instant all changed last month when I was sent a sample pack of Sudden Coffee. Yes, this is an instant coffee – but it’s not like any other instant I’ve tried before; it tastes pretty damn decent!
I’ll admit, I wouldn’t have given Sudden Coffee a second glance prior to sampling the product. I had blanket labeled all instant coffee as tasteless, processed coffee that should be avoided by all means necessary.
It’s changed my thinking so much about how instant coffee can taste that I decided to write a full review. I know for a fact that there are many of you reading this who dislike instant coffee as much as I do – but take a few minutes to read through this review, and if you’re still on the fence, order a sample pack and try it out for yourself.
About Sudden Coffee
If you spend a few minutes over on the Sudden Coffee website, you’ll discover that Sudden was born in 2015 and was invented by a top-ranking barista Kalle Freese (1), and culinary-obsessed geek Josh Zloof (2).
The story goes that Kalle was drinking a tasteless cup of coffee on an airplane trip and started to think if there was a better way to make instant coffee that was on-par with regular gourmet coffee.
Tapping into Kalle’s vast barista pool of knowledge and after years of experimenting with traditional brewing methods mixed with modern-day science, the duo eventually came up with their secret instant recipe – “Sudden Coffee”.
How Is Sudden Coffee Made And What Makes It Different?
What differentiates Sudden from other instant coffee brands is how it’s made, I have done a bit of research, and this is the process based on my understanding and what I could unearth from the web.
The foundation of any batch of Sudden Coffee is good-quality whole coffee beans. These whole premium beans are single-origin coffees from all over the world and come packed with natural sweetness, intense aroma, and smooth flavor. From what I can find out, the whole beans are carefully roasted by half a dozen or so skilled roasters in California (Bay Area, CA).
Now it’s worth pointing out that most of the other popular instant coffee brands will use robusta coffee or a combination of Arabica and Robusta; they often use Robusta because of its cheaper cost.
Sudden Coffee does things differently. They only source premium whole beans that someone would use for regular manually brewed coffee, the same stuff you’ll find at any high-end coffee shop.
Simply put: It’s instant coffee on a small scale – NOT massed produced like other big instant coffee brands.
No, really, it is.
Each batch of coffee is hand-brewed by a skilled barista before it’s then freeze-dried, packaged, and sent to the customer’s mailbox in small compostable tubes.
Typically, big instant coffee brands will opt for a spray drying processing technique that uses heat which also contributes to the bitter, chalky taste often associated with instant coffee.
Sudden Coffee, however, uses a freeze-drying process that helps to lock in the richness and aromas found in the single-origin whole beans.
What Does Sudden Coffee Taste Like?
To be honest, I was skeptical at first. But, after brewing up a tube of Sudden, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, my only comparison is a dusty, stale packet of Nescafe Instant I had foraged at the back of a friend’s cupboard many moons ago – but, Sudden really does live up to the hype in the taste department.
The coffee I received had a chocolatey aroma, slightly floral flavor, gentle acidity, and pleasant caramel sweetness.
Texture, the Sudden Coffee I sampled, had a silky, buttery-like smoothness and a medium body similar to an Americano.
Sudden rotate their single-origin coffee batches periodically (every few months, I believe), so you’ll get to experience really interesting flavors, and you’ll most likely not be sent the same origin of coffee twice in a row!
Sudden Coffee doesn’t have any unwanted additives, sugar, sweeteners – nothing! It’s pure black coffee, which is what I would normally drink.
Would I say Sudden tastes just like a freshly brewed pot of manual pour-over or something similar? No, but it’s pretty damn close.
What’s The Verdict?
If someone gave me a cup of Sudden instant coffee and I wasn’t told what I was drinking, I could be quite easily be fooled into thinking I was drinking a regular cup of coffee from a high street coffee chain.
I’ll be frank. Sudden isn’t something I would drink on a daily basis. However, I would definitely throw a few tubes in my bag next time I’m hitting the road – it’s leaps and bounds better than any other instant coffee I’ve tasted.
Compared to other instant coffee brands, Sudden can seem a bit pricey, coming in at roughly $2.50 per cup. I agree that it isn’t the cheapest instant coffee you can find. But I feel that the premium single-origin coffee beans and the unique process Sudden performs to turn those gourmet whole beans into instant coffee is worthy of such a price.
Bottom-line: It tastes pretty darn good… for an instant coffee, and you won’t beat the convenience at this level of quality – It’s the best instant coffee I have tried, that’s for sure!
Where Can You Buy Sudden Coffee?
If I have sparked your interest in Sudden Coffee and you want to give this instant a try, head on over to their website, where you can buy Sudden Coffee after choosing from one of their different plans ranging from an 8-cup package all the way up to a 48-cup bundle – or you can ask for a free sample pack.