Truth be told I am not exactly a coffee expert.  It’s just that I, like many of you, sometimes need a kickstart in the morning.   Most days I don’t need liquid energy at all.  But some days if the baby has been up all night, I need to draw into the wellspring of life lest my co-workers suffer the horrific wrath of my lack of shut-eye.

Because I don’t have the time to wait in line on the way to work, I prefer to have my Joe instant.  I have hot water at work and like the convenience of throwing some magic happy-crystals in my cup and going about my day.  It’s also a cost effective way to avoid multiple manslaughter convictions.

In the last few weeks I have been to the store several times in the hopes of obtaining a blend that would suit my desires.  This is a review of those brands.  This is by no means a comprehensive nor scientific test.  It’s just me and a row of coffee mugs at 10pm at night in my office when nobody is around.   Excluded from this test is decaf, because the mere existence of such a heretical thing proves that the judgement of God is close at hand.

Maxwell House Dark Roast Blend

I’m not too familiar with the flavor of dark roast so this was a bit of a surprise.   Kind of like kissing your cousin by accident.  It’s not awful per se, just kind of weird and leaves a taste in your mouth you’d like to forget.  Yet at the same time once you start, you think you might as well try and enjoy it.

This brand is for those who probably want a very strong hit, but I’d like to add that it’s not necessarily a strong COFFEE flavor.   True, instant coffee often tastes artificial by nature.  But in this case it just seems a wee bit too much so.

Maxwell House Original Roast Blend

What. The. Hell?   Gaaack!!  It’s like licking an unwashed hobos feet.  My first sip of this instantly caused my tongue to decay like I was french kissing a zombie.  This is supposed to be coffee?  Without a doubt, this is the worst brand of the entire test.

In the end, all I can say is that if you buy a container for $2.99, you get what you pay for.   The aftertaste could best be described as having a hint of vinegar…which I can assure you has no place in any form of coffee.

Nescafe Rich Blend

Moving up the taste scale is Nescafe Rich which is a medium roast blend.  My first taste of this was during a camping trip which is not exactly a proper environment to have an unbiased test.  Seriously, when you get out of a tent in the morning after a crummy nights sleep, any discarded cup with a cigarette butt in it would taste like sucking on the nipple of an angel.

So I gave this one another go and am happy to report that this brand does indeed have a good taste to it.  Not too bold but none of the lingering after-burn so prevalent in Maxwell House.   This is a good brand to have in a pinch as it’s priced reasonably ( around $7 ).  It also comes in a glass jar with a good lid so freshness will probably be extended longer.

Tasters Choice Classic Gourmet Blend

Things are definitely moving in the right direction.  Safe to say that this should satisfy your need for an instant hit and not leave your mouth with the lingering aftertaste of a pirate’s armpit.  But keep in mind, it comes at the highest price of the bunch, $8.99.   Taster’s Choice Gourmet containers are also resilient plastic, and the lid seems to have a good seal design built into it to help prolong freshness.  This is good because mine lives in a desk drawer.  It should also be noted that Taster’s Choice is a sub-brand of Nescafe, so this would then be considered their premiere line.

Tasters Choice Columbian Gourmet Blend

Hey, whattayknow…it actually almost tastes like a real freaking cup of coffee.   As far as instant coffee goes, this is the best I’ve come across and actually passes for a legitimate cup of brew.   It’s the same price and packaging as it’s Classic flavour counterpart so it’s safe to say that the Gourmet line is the upper-crust of instant coffee’s and you would do well to spend the extra few bucks on something that is at least palatable.

In the end Taster’s Choice Columbian Blend was the clear and decisive winner of the test by a mile, with the Classic Blend a close runner up.  Nescafe Rich was an honourable third place.  Maxwell House Dark Roast is for those who want a “curious” experience when having their morning cup, and the Medium Roast Blend is probably best described as pouring a good cup of Joe on a dirty carpet and licking it up.  Whoever does the taste testing at Maxwell House should at the very least have his tongue shaved in the hopes of growing new taste buds.

The opinions stated are are those of the Dysfunctional Parrot only.  It should be noted that the DP has unique tastes and as such your preferences may vary.  There.  A nice and pretty disclaimer to keep the lawyers off my back.   Happy now?

© 2011 – 2016, John Paul Parrot. All rights reserved.

About Author

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

  • M. Patterson

    Yikes!  Comparing the flavors of instant coffee is like a couple of poor retired folks comparing the flavors of various dried dog foods.  You’re trying to find the best of the worst kind of coffee.  Don’t make me come over there!

    Actually, on a serious note, if you really want something to rant about, you should try Sanka instant coffee.  You’re a Canadian, so I know you’ve got the health coverage for it.  Better have a bottle of that pink bismuth on hand, also.

    • SANKA!!??? That be decaf! And I also think it’s some kind of artificial crystal and not coffee at all.

      Good news, our department may be pooling some dough to buy a Tassimo coffee maker! Salvation is near!

      • M. Patterson

        Pardon me for not realizing that Sanka is always decaf.  I just assumed it was a bad decaf version of a bad instant coffee.  I’ve never sought out the stuff, personally.  All I knew was that my in-laws offered it to me, once, and I learned to never, ever, accept it again.  They gave me that ,”but I thought you liked coffee,” line.  Yes, I do like coffee.  That isn’t coffee.

  • Seeker3261

    BTW – I saw a food channel program on coffee which related that instant coffee is pretty big in Europe and Nescafe is one of the big players in that niche. I’m a coffee purist, but have found that Starbucks VIA instant, although certainly more expensive, is quite satisfactory.

    P.S. Just stumbled on your blog via a search for a review of The Shack (gack). I’ll be visiting again.

    • I’ve logged more man hours debating and discussing “The Shack” than I ever intended on doing.   Makes me wish I never saw the book!

      My office just got a Tasimoo machine which makes a pretty impressive cup of brew.  Unfortunately most of the manufacturers are going to Keurig.  Either way, all I know is that my workplace is safer from my unrelenting wrath by having additional sources of coffee!

  • Pro Dios

    Hahaha hahaha I love your great sense of humor, enjoyable read! Thank you for the coffee reviews.