This is why instant coffee is the best coffee for troops

Updated onMar 18, 2022
3 minute read
U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. John Hall.

U.S. Army photo by Lt. Col. John Hall.


Instant coffee has been in high demand since its invention due to its convenience and affordability. Not so many things can connect the different military eras as coffee does. It…

Instant coffee has been in high demand since its invention due to its convenience and affordability. Not so many things can connect the different military eras as coffee does. It is a drink that has been consumed by all military personnel throughout many military generations and was recognized by the US military during the revolution era. While instant coffee was not invented during that era, the military has appreciated it over the years for various reasons.

Although instant coffee may not be a go-to option for coffee enthusiasts, it fills the need for soldiers deployed on field missions. This is exactly why instant coffee was invented by the British in 1771. The technology got to the American Army in early 1850, where it was tested during the Civil War. This was one of the darkest moments in American history, and soldiers needed something to boost their energy, particularly since they only slept for a few hours or none at all. During this time, thousands of American soldiers developed a coffee addiction as they basically depended on coffee for functioning. Since its addiction was not as bad as hard drugs addiction, coffee was never banned in the military.

Close-up of instant coffee. (Public domain)

The invention of powder coffee was probably one of the biggest motivations for soldiers in WWI. It reminded the soldiers of home and kept them going. The instant coffee market became famous during these seasons as governments invested in numerous manufacturing orders for the military. The fact that the coffee could be packed in small sachets that could fit in pockets was also a plus. There was no added weight on the soldiers, and they could make the instant coffee anywhere and at any time as long as there was water and a cup.

Time saving

There is always something happening with the military, hence the need to manage time appropriately. As the name suggests, instant coffee is made through an instant process that involves dissolving the coffee in water and adding sugar directly. With instant coffee, the soldiers don’t have to wait for coffee to brew like when using coffee beans. Maybe the only thing that will consume some time when making instant coffee is the water-boiling process. Practically, this can take somewhere between 2-5 minutes, depending on the means being used to boil the water.

A freeze dryer used for instant coffee. (Public domain)


The military profession in itself is already complicated hence there is no need to make things more complex. Coffee is good, especially as it helps the soldiers stay active throughout the day and night, even with minimal sleep. Therefore, if instant coffee can make their work easier, it is definitely better than bean coffee. There is no need to use complex brewing machines to make the coffee as the manufacturers have simplified the difficult part. The fact that you can make instant coffee in seconds makes it so convenient and beneficial to soldiers and those at home.

Different technique, same results

While some people may argue that instant coffee is not as tasty as brewed coffee, research shows that the two only differ in their brewing process. Whether you consume instant or brewed coffee, you will still get the same benefits. If you are looking to get a sleepless night, warm up your body, or just rejuvenate your systems, instant coffee will do this. The nutrients found in instant coffee are similar to those in brewed coffee. If that is the case, field soldiers can use instant coffee for the same benefits as brewed coffee. In the end, whether your instant coffee is coming out of an MRE or you’re trying Gunny’s rot gut in a canteen cup, coffee is a must have on the battlefield. When I was brand new, boot private on fire watch, the only thing that mattered was that it was hot.