Instant Coffee

Starbucks VIAIf you only use your boat occasionally — or rarely drink coffee — instant coffee can be a good solution for the times when you do want it.  As long as you can heat water and have something to drink it from, you can have a cup of coffee pretty quickly.

Most boats actually carry some instant coffee onboard as a backup method for times when it’s just too rough (or there’s no electricity) for making coffee any other way.  For use underway, boil water in a tea kettle to reduce the chances of hot water sloshing out of the pan, put (or wedge) mugs in the sink, then pour the water into them.

Pros:  Can make any number of cups, fast, very low space required, no electricity needed, no glass involved, easy to make underway

Cons:  Most people just don’t like it as well as brewed coffee

Keeping it hot:  Put hot water in a good Thermos or airpot and make more as needed

Cost:  very low – can use any pan you already have, although a tea kettle is safer for handling boiling water.

By far the best instant I’ve tried is Starbucks VIA, which other reviewers also say is way above other instant coffees, but can’t compete with fresh-ground premium coffee.

It comes in single-serving packets, ready to mix with 8 ounces of boiling water, in a variety of roasts and flavors. Most supermarkets have one or two varieties, Starbucks shops usually have a good selection, or you can buy online:

Note that most mugs hold 12 to 16 ounces of coffee, so either adjust the amount of coffee you’re using or don’t fill your mug full of water.

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  • Chuck Burns
    Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

    I also discovered Folgers coffee bags, which are more like brewed coffee…

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

      I haven’t had them in 10+ years! I was never wild on them as the coffee always seemed weak, but I’m sure the technology has changed . . . maybe I should try again!

      • Kathy Steveson
        Posted at 19 February 2017 Reply

        We race Hobie cats, and are often at regattas camping in cool foggy mornings. 2 coffee bags per 10 oz cup is delicious. We stock up on Folgers bags. We are reading your website as we are planning on cruising in a few years. Very, very helpful!

    • Bonnie West-Goodrum
      Posted at 16 December 2013 Reply

      We also use these…. love them on the boat!!

  • John Huft
    Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

    I wish I could get those Nescafe packs with coffee, cream, and sugar in them like you can get in Europe.

  • Allan Cobb
    Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

    I think this is a pretty good instant. It is an expresso but it is easy to adjust the amount added to the hot water.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

      Thanks! I’ve never seen it, much less tried it. Going to have to get a jar.

    • Allan Cobb
      Posted at 13 December 2013 Reply

      I get it at my local grocery store but the first time I had it, I bought it in Thailand.

  • jennifer miller
    Posted at 04 August 2014 Reply

    My Husband andI love Cafe Bustillo instand, soo good!

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