In the age of longer nights and earlier mornings we’re all trying to maximise the most of the 24 hours given to us each day. For many, that means a cup of coffee close by to keep our eyes open and brains active. To say we love a morning coffee would be an understatement, but with more and more ways to get your fix, which really is the best? We’re going to break down the “best” based on cost, simplicity, satisfaction and time to produce. Grab a coffee as we dive in.

Instant Coffee

We recently caught wind of the new Nescafé Gold range and decided to sample five of them. It had been a long time since we took a teaspoon of the brown ground and added hot water. It was interesting to see the levels of intensity, the different levels of texture and course in the grind all amassing to slightly different coffee experiences in each jar. On the back of each Nescafé Gold jar is a tip and some suggestions on how it can be served based on the intensity and flavour. We also testing some coffee sachets from Natural Health Company that claim to make you skinny with the added ingredients, that’s helpful! We conducted a quick survey and it seems 30% of respondents still love an instant coffee so there are fans waiting out there for a quick fix.

Time to produce:Most kettles take 2:15 to 4 minutest to boil, so… that’s how long it takes to make instant coffee.

Simplicity:No training is required, the instructions aren’t even on the jars, just add a spoon into the mug with hot water.

Cost:$9.50 for 100g of Nescafé Gold, no equipment costs. Less than 20c per coffee

Satisfaction:This is coffee at it’s simplest and most basic, we’ll also admit that it tasted better than we remember instant coffee being like. It doesn’t allow many varieties of coffee to be produced and while the different range of flavours helps, it doesn’t have the silkiness and smooth texture of a machine made coffee. If you love a black coffee and time is off the essence though, this is hard to pass up.

Capsules or Pod Coffee

Since 2010 Nespresso has been selling capsules and machines to produce a coffee in what was an extremely unique way. Many other brands have since jumped on this trend which offers a barista style experience of extruding a coffee while taking away the grinding and tamping process. Just drop a pod and press a button. The range of machines that accept a Nespresso capsule can be extremely inexpensive and simple all the way up to bluetooth connected or with multiple functions beyond espresso or lungo.

Time to Produce:Depending on the machine a coffee can begin pouring from a Nespresso system in less than 30 seconds.

Simplicity:While loading the capsule is simple and pressing a single button is simple, you will need to know what an espresso is (in terms of size) for example to ensure you or your guests get the coffee you desire. With capsules, you have choice – choice of flavour and size, not just flavour.

Cost:A Nespresso machine can be in your kitchen for less than $200 and capsules can be purchased for 80c, they are single use.

Satisfaction:The ability to produce a coffee of varying size, different textures and different flavour profiles at the press of a button in your own home is a real treat. There is a very good reason why Nespresso has done so well with this product on the market and it isn’t just the face of George Clooney. At 80c a hit it is much cheaper than the real cafe experience but not quite the same as a barista made coffee.

Spill the beans!

Introduced in the 15th century, coffee originated from a long process to go from plant to cup. Whether you’re a barista in a café or consider yourself a coffee aficionado in the home then you’re likely working with a bag of beans. A good bag of Arabica beans or freshly roasted at your local bean monger is a journey in itself. There are tasting notes on the bag as though you’re reading a wine review. You take it home and pour it into your machine for grinding and a longer process begins. Some machines like ones from Jura are an all in one, they offer a Nespresso style experience using real beans, other alternatives provide a more manual experience where you do the grinding, the tamping, the fixation and have a larger selection of controls. Going the beans route allows you to experience coffee the way it was originally intended.

Time to Produce:Making coffee from beans is all about the experience, like an orchestra making music, you are the conductor, you are waving your hands across multiple devices, producing loud grinding noises all before the drip and flow of coffee enters your cup. This can take two minutes or more depending on your choice of machine(s).

Simplicity:This also depends on your machine of choice, with a Jura machine the experience is not much harder than a Nespresso coffee. If you’re really going to venture into coffee and giving beans the upmost respect then research is required, perhaps some training and more. It can be simple but it can certainly be complex if you want it to be.

Cost:A one kilo bag of coffee beans can cost anything between $12 to $50 and will produce around 140 shots of coffee.

Satisfaction:There is simply no other liquid, acceptable at 9am, that compares to a barista made coffee from freshly ground beans. The smell, the consistency, the texture, the crema, it all is so unique to a coffee made in this special way and this is why there are queues at cafés for it in the morning with people willing to pay $4 for the pleasure.