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The 9 Best Instant Coffee Brands in Kenya

New to instant coffee, or just want to find the best brand for your taste? This post is for you. Finding the most appropriate instant coffee for your preferences can be pretty confusing as the selection of brands and types is wide. This post features the 9 common ones with each distinct character discussed.

Most instant coffee drinkers go for whatever is cheapest. However, a handful care about taste, which is why all the featured coffees are ranked from the worst to the best overall.

It is obvious that good coffee is the one that is freshly ground and brewed, but that is not the most convenient coffee solution if you are on a budget or have a busy schedule and need to make coffee at home.

This is a personal opinionated article, not affiliated with or sponsored by any of the brands. So whatever brand you decide to go with, I recommend the small 50g tins, avoid bigger jars even though they are economical.

The reason is, that bigger jars last longer and thus constituent coffee will degrade and lose freshness over time, or even worse, dry up or clump when moisture enters.

This list is based on general and personal opinions, so take it how you will.

Instant Coffee Brands in Kenya
 Instant Coffee Brands in Kenya

9. Kenya Highlands

Kenya Highlands Instant Coffee
Kenya Highlands  Instant Coffee

Kenya Highlands is a good brand of instant coffee from only one perspective; the coffee strength. Everything else is just a joke honestly.

You would expect a coffee brand with the name Kenya to be the real deal, but it is actually ironic.

This is the most bitter instant coffee I have ever tried, it is so bad, especially in the aftertaste, the bitterness really sticks on your tongue and really lasts. 

Plus it tastes like herbs more than coffee, the grind is fine like a powder almost, and really hard to properly mix. 

Sometimes you will drink ball lumps of coffee that form when you don’t thoroughly mix, adding to the bitterness experience. Aroma is also non-existent. 

Kenya Highlands is undoubtedly one of the worst instant coffee brands, not very homogeneous and consistent in the flavor profile, the first sip and the next sip taste just conflicting.

8. Nescafe Classic

Nescafe Classic 100g
 Nescafe Classic 100g

 Nescafe Classic is the most popular brand of instant coffee not just in Kenya, but worldwide. So it is actually surprising to see it on the near bottom of the list, remember, popular doesn’t actually mean, good. 

Nescafe Classic according to me is just flat and underwhelming; not only in terms of flavor, and taste but also aroma. 

Nescafe Classic is just mild, and if you love strong instant coffee, this isn’t it, in terms of strength, Kenya Highlands at the last position is actually stronger and punchier. 

I feel like Nescafe Classic is for those who really don’t care about coffee.

The only reason it is popular is its strong availability, (no kiosk doesn’t sell  Nescafe Classic ) and in small economical sachets for those on a budget and for as cheap as KSh 10. 

The other reason would be its clean taste and no bitterness like some instant coffees.  Nescafe says that the beans are slow-roasted, and that ensures the resultant coffee grind doesn’t taste bitter.

While it is still okay to like and enjoy Nescafe Classic,( although I wouldn’t recommend it) there are better coffees in this list some for even cheaper than Nescafe.

7. Africafe

Africafe Instant Coffee 100g
 Africafe Instant Coffee 100g

Africafe is a coffee brand from Tanzania. People who use it swear by it, but upon trying it, my expectations of it fell short.

This coffee is just like  Nescafe in terms of flavor, it is mild, but better than Nescafe in the aroma scene. 

It is one of the most aromatic instant coffee with a sweet smell. If you are all about aromatic coffee then  Africafe it is.

The taste is clean with a mild aftertaste and coffee breath, the profile is flat, bitterness is non-existent, and no sweet notes either.

6. Mac Coffee Original

Mac Coffee Original 100g
Mac  Coffee Original 100g

In terms of popularity,  Mac Coffee comes second after Nescafe. Whoever doesn’t like Nescafe will opt for this, it is like the next popular option. 

Being popular means availability is good and you won’t have to worry about where you can find it.

Honestly doesn’t really stand out characterwise, just a decent coffee brand.

5. Cafe Pele

Cafe Pele Tin 50g
Cafe Pele Tin 50g

I personally love Cafe Pele. Once you try it, you will not think of going back to  Nescafe again. Same coarse grind as  Nescafe Classic but is more flavorful, stronger, and balanced in all aspects you will want in an instant coffee.

The only downer for recommending Cafe Pele is availability. It is a Brazilian brand imported to Kenya, so availability is not the best, but whenever you encounter it on the supermarket aisle, unlike your crush, please give it a chance. 

It is also cheaper so why not?

4. Dormans

Dormans Instant Coffee 50g
Dormans  Instant Coffee Coffee 50g

Slightly on the bitter side and is normally darker roasted than most brands, you can feel it in its taste and smoky aroma. Dormans is just like Kenya Highlands in fine grind, and texture. 

It is much punchier than  Nescafe, if you want a stronger and aromatic coffee than  Nescafe but don’t mind a little bitterness then Dormans it is, and it is cheaper than Nescafe too.

3. Cafe Pele Gold (Freeze Dried)

Cafe Pele Gold 50g
Cafe Pele Gold 50g

This is not on top of the list but is my personal favorite and go-to brand type of instant coffee. This is what lives in my pantry.

It is as good as the Cafe Pele in a tin above, but better. It is freeze-dried which is why it has giant crystals. Before you ask, yes it is 100% soluble and doesn’t leave a residue when mixed with hot water!

In freeze-drying, coffee is first frozen till solid then under low pressure in a vacuum setting water is vaporized and expelled leaving solid coffee residue behind.

Freeze drying does not involve using high heat which would expel aroma and degrade the resulting delicate coffee flavor.

2. Jacobs Kronung

Jacobs Krönung Instant Coffee
Jacobs Krönung Instant Coffee

Germans like their coffee and  Jacobs is an internationally well-known and popular German brand. It began in 1895 when Johann  Jacobs opened a coffee shop in Bremen.

Relatively inexpensive for the quality and you can get it everywhere, Jacobs Kronung is a mild dark roast.

Of course, there will always be some snobs connoisseurs for whom it’s not good enough, but generally, it’s the brand that’s generally agreed on to be good.

it’s much richer and fresher tasting than many of the premium ground brands, especially for the price.

1. Nescafe Gold

Nescafe Gold Decaf
 Nescafe Gold Decaf

With strong flavor and refreshing taste, this is the best instant coffee available in Kenya, and also a top recommended brand type internationally. But it comes at a price tag 5x the  Nescafe Classic of the same weight.

Nescafe Gold is expensive yes, but totally worth it if you can afford it, you get your money back. 

But I feel like if you can afford this, then you can afford coffee beans, a grinder, and a coffee machine to brew fresh coffee which is usually better. 

But if you are all about convenience and not affordability, then I would say  Nescafe Gold is the best instant coffee you can buy in Kenya.


Instant Coffee: Is It That Bad?

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