Best Korean Instant Coffee brands | Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

There’s probably no better way to start a new day than with a delicious, single-origin cup of coffee. A lot of times we don’t have the time to get that special coffee, so we settle for a quick cup before heading to work. Instant coffee, it is well known all over the world. But in South Korea, the Korean instant coffee is taken to another level! Read on to learn more about the best Korean instant coffee brands!

In Korea you can walk into any business or company and find instant coffee sachets available. Korean instant coffee is also offered in almost any restaurant and in homes across the country. In train, bus or gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores and even along the streets Korean coffee mix is sold from vending machines in small paper cups.

Most Koreans grew up with instant coffee, especially with the brand Maxim, which is known all over the country and even abroad for being one of the best Korean instant coffee brands.

Best Korean Instant Coffee Brands

History Of Instant Coffee In Korea

Coffee was introduced in Korea though the last king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Gojong. The King had to go into hiding at the Russian legation in Seoul while the Japanese army was invading Korea. At the Russian legation the King first learned to drink coffee in 1896.

After the Korean war, the coffee industry started to take off, with exclusive coffee shops opening all around the capital. This was a place for businessmen, students and artists to gather.

Dongsuh Foods was the company in Korea which introduced instant coffee to the country by selling mix sticks (coffee, sugar and cream) in 1976. This moved coffee from the expensive coffee shops to the homes and offices.

By the end of the 1990s, South Korea became the largest consumer of instant coffee in the world with approximately 75% of the Korean population was drinking instant coffee on a regular basis as it was very affordable and readily available.

How Is Instant Coffee Made?

When the coffee is first brewed, the water needs to be removed from the coffee extract. This can be done in three ways. First, the brewed coffee is spinned around in some kind of centrifuge, because of the forces, the heavy coffee powder is left behind. Second, the water is evaporated from the hot coffee. Third, water is removed from the coffee extract when it is frozen and turned to ice.

After the water is removed and the coffee extract has been concentrated. This must then be dried and turned into a powder form, which can be done by spray drying or freeze drying. Find more info here.

The Best Korean Instant Coffee Brands

South Korea is renowned for its vibrant coffee culture, with a strong emphasis on quality and innovation. Instant coffee has become a popular choice among coffee lovers who are looking for a quick and convenient way to enjoy their daily caffeine fix.

In recent years, Korean instant coffee brands have gained a significant following around the world, thanks to their exceptional taste and unique blends.

From bold and strong flavors to sweet and creamy notes, Korean instant coffee brands offer a wide variety of options to suit every palate. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee drinker or a newbie, these brands are sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more.

One of the major brands being Maxim coffee, but this is not the only brand, listed below are the best Korean coffee packets brands.

1. Maxim Coffee

Maxim is the most famous Korean coffee brand in South Korea and around the world. They have different flavours available but the Maxim Mocha Gold Mild is by far the most popular one.

The Maxim Mocha Gold Mild is a well-balanced instant coffee which is super convenient to use. The packets are convenient to store and to open. It is great to take with you when going on a day trip or even for long travels.

Not only is the perfect instant hot coffee when just waking up, but it’s also great when prepared as an ice coffee.

The taste of the coffee isn’t too strong, but it’s light and smooth. It is the perfect balance between the coffee, cream and sugar.

Pro: The Korean Maxim coffee is Halal friendly!

Con: There is only one con, the packets are quite small, so you might want to use 2 packets for one cup of coffee.

Rating: 4,8/5

Price: Check prices here

Other Flavours: Apart from the Mocha Gold Mild, Maxim also sells the Maxim Original Korean Coffee, Cappuccino Hazelnut and special instant ice coffee.

2. Namyang Coffee

Namyang is a Korean food company which sells all kinds of products from bread to a wide range of beverages. Their most know product abroad is definitely the instant coffee and especially their Namyang French Coffee.

Namyang sells lots of different flavours with the most popular ones:

  • Cafe au lait
  • Cappuccion
  • Hazelnut
  • Mocha Choco
  • Caramel Macchiato

Pro: This Korean instant coffee is strong enough and contains very little sweeteners. The balance coffee, cream and sugar is just right!

Con: This brand gets left behind quite often when thinking about Korean coffee as Maxim is more known that Namyang.

Rating: 4,2/5

Price: Check prices here

Other Flavours: The green tea coffee latte is a must try for anyone who likes flavoured coffees.

3. Kanu Instant Coffee

The Kanu instant coffee is a more premium brand that the ones mentioned above. It is also owned by the same company as Maxim, but it is considered as a different brand/product.

Unlike the other instant coffees, the original Kanu coffee is pure black coffee without any cream or sweeteners.

Kanu has always special offers on with free mugs or tumblers included when buying their coffee packets. So make sure to browse around if you’re into collecting these.

Pro: It has a rich and dark flavour

Rating: 4,9/5

Price: Check prices here

Other Flavours: Depending on the season Kanu offers special seasonal blends, like the special spring blend. You can also find products like ice coffee or even decaffeinated instant coffee.

4. Ediya Coffee

Ediya is a Korean coffee shop chain which can be found all over the country. It has over 1000 stores in South Korea and even one in Beijing. Apart from being a coffee shop, Ediya also sells instant coffee and coffee ground.

The ‘Beanist’ instant coffee is sold in a couple of flavours, but the most known ones are the Original and Mild American, which are both black, unsweetened, coffees.

Pro: Different flavours of Americano, nutty/chocolate or floral/smooth

Con: No mix or special flavoured coffees

Rating: 4,7/5

Price: Check prices here

Other Flavours: Apart from the original flavour, Ediya also sells a mild americano flavour.

5. Lotte Coffee

The lotte instant coffee is not really considered as an instant coffee but as drip coffee. They sell ready made sachets that are more expensive than the other instant coffees. It is regarded as being a very premium coffee.

Only one flavour is available, namely the Blue Mountain blend which is a dark americano style coffee.

Pro: Great intense flavour, luxurious feel and premium packaging.

Con: Only for house or office use, quite hard to use when traveling.

Rating: 4,1/5

Price: Check prices here

Maxim is the most popular Korean instant coffee mix available on the market. Every Korean knows and drinks it, so if you want to experience instant coffee like a true Korean, Maxim coffee is the way to go.

Want some special flavour to your coffee, like green tea, then go for the Namyang French coffee. Do you just want to prepare an easy and quick americano, then the best option in Kanu instant coffee or Ediya Coffee. Having guests at your house of company and looking to impress with a fancy instant coffee, try the Lotte drip coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the best Korean instant coffee brands?

Some of the best Korean instant coffee brands include Maxim, Nescafe, and Taster’s Choice. These brands are known for their rich flavor and smooth texture.

What is the difference between Korean instant coffee and regular instant coffee?

Korean instant coffee is typically made with high-quality Arabica beans and is known for its rich, smooth flavor. Regular instant coffee, on the other hand, is often made with lower-quality Robusta beans and may have a more bitter taste.

Can I find Korean instant coffee in my local grocery store?

It depends on where you live. Korean instant coffee brands are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, so it’s possible that your local grocery store may carry them. If not, you can usually find them online through retailers like Amazon or Korean food markets.

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Have you tried any of these Korean coffee brands? Have any questions about the best Korean instant coffee brands? Other Korean coffee packets which should be added to the list? Let me know in the comment section below!

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8 Responses

  1. Davis jones says:

    I have not tried this but I do like the instant coffee which is very similar. I do not drink it daily but on the road or a little cup at night. I like it.

  2. Na Na says:

    How about Maxim Kanu Latte? I bought it last week but wonder on the halal status?

  3. Madina says:

    Hello, thank you for the helpful article!
    Maxim coffees are halal according to what you wrote. May I please ask how you got this info? Is it certified? Or did you contact the manufacturer? Thank you.

    • Marie says:

      I got this info from the KMF. You can also find info on this link.

  4. Manaf says:

    I’m not a coffee person but when I was traveling in Korea I started drinking the instant coffee and really enjoyed it. I like the unique taste and aroma, especially the Maxim White Gold. I was told it’s halal friendly as many South Korean brands now making their products halal friendly. I think Muslims find it more convenient to travel around key cities in Korea due to the availability of halal food and the locals understand halal very well.

  5. Noa Jakubowski says:

    Hi! I’m looking for the company that makes the Kanu and Maxim coffee but can’t find it! Do you know where to look?
    Great post, thanks!

  6. Iman Jappie says:

    hello is lets be coffee halal

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