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 Coffee, one of the most famous Korean coffee brands, both domestically within South Korea and across the globe. Among its diverse range of flavors, the Maxim Mocha Gold Mild emerges as the uncontested favorite among aficionados.

Crafting the ultimate convenience in instant coffee, the Maxim Mocha Gold Mild offers an impeccable balance in its brew, ensuring ease from packet to cup. Its packaging is designed for effortless storage and opening, presenting an ideal coffee solution for those on the move, whether embarking on a short excursion or an extended journey.

This variant isn’t just a morning delight to kickstart your day; it seamlessly transitions into a refreshing iced coffee, catering to varied palates and occasions. With a taste that’s neither overpowering nor too mild, it masterfully combines coffee, cream, and sugar to deliver a brew that’s light, smooth, and perfectly balanced. Maxim Mocha Gold Mild is, without a doubt, a top contender for those seeking the finest Korean instant coffee experience.

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 has carved its niche in the vibrant tapestry of Korean culinary enterprises, offering an extensive array of products ranging from freshly baked bread to a diverse selection of beverages. Among its international acclaim, Namyang’s instant coffee selection shines the brightest, with the Namyang French Cafe instant coffee leading the forefront.

Esteemed for its sophisticated blend, the Namyang French Cafe instant coffee encapsulates the essence of a Parisian café experience in the comfort of your own home. It stands out in the crowded landscape of instant coffee options, bringing a touch of elegance and refinement to daily coffee rituals.

The allure of Namyang French Cafe lies not only in its rich, authentic flavor but also in its commitment to quality and convenience. Tailored for the discerning coffee lover, it promises an enchanting journey to the heart of French coffee culture with every sip. Namyang’s dedication to enriching life’s simple pleasures makes their French Cafe instant coffee a distinguished choice among Korean instant coffee selections.

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

Kanu instant coffee elevates the standard for premium instant coffee options, distinguishing itself not just by its quality but also through its lineage, as it shares ownership with the renowned Maxim brand. Yet, Kanu sets itself apart as a unique entity within the company’s portfolio, targeting aficionados with a palette for unadorned, pure coffee experiences.

The essence of Kanu instant coffee lies in its commitment to delivering a pristine black coffee experience, devoid of any added creamers or sweeteners. This decision to focus on the purity of coffee itself appeals to purists who seek the unaltered taste of finely brewed beans in a convenient instant form.

Beyond its superior taste and quality, Kanu invites coffee enthusiasts into a world of special offers that often include collectible merchandise like free mugs or tumblers with purchases. These added incentives not only enhance the brand’s appeal but also cultivate a community of collectors and connoisseurs who appreciate the finer things in life, including their coffee.

For those in pursuit of a premium instant coffee that prioritizes the rich, unmitigated flavor of black coffee, Kanu emerges as an exquisite choice. Its dedication to quality, coupled with the allure of collectible promotions, positions Kanu as a distinguished contender in the realm of Korean instant coffees.

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, a titan in the Korean coffee industry, is not only a ubiquitous presence with its coffee shop chain dotted across South Korea and even stretching its reach to Beijing but also a proud purveyor of instant coffee and coffee grounds. Boasting over 1000 stores within South Korea, Ediya has cemented its status as a beloved fixture in the daily lives of coffee enthusiasts.

Among its range of products, the ‘Beanist’ instant coffee emerges as a standout offering. Available in a selection of flavors, the most celebrated among them are the Original and Mild American. Both options cater to those who prefer their coffee black and unsweetened, showcasing Ediya’s dedication to providing quality coffee experiences in both its cafes and at-home products.

The Beanist instant coffee epitomizes Ediya’s commitment to excellence and accessibility in the world of coffee. Whether you’re a fan of a robust, full-bodied Original or prefer the gentler, smoother touch of Mild American, Ediya’s instant coffee selection brings the essence of a finely brewed cup into the comfort of your home.

For coffee lovers seeking the convenience of instant coffee without compromising on taste and quality, Ediya’s Beanist range stands out as a testament to the coffee chain’s expertise and passion for coffee. It’s a reflection of Ediya’s larger mission to spread the joy and culture of Korean coffee far and wide, one cup at a time.

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

Lotte Coffee brings a distinct approach to the bustling world of Korean coffee, offering an experience that transcends the traditional instant coffee paradigm with its premium drip coffee sachets. These meticulously crafted offerings cater to the connoisseur whose preference leans towards an elevated coffee experience, setting a benchmark for quality and refinement.

Diverging from the norm of instant coffee, Lotte’s ready-made sachets command a higher price point, a testament to their premium positioning in the market. This commitment to quality appeals to those who seek out the luxury of a finely crafted cup of coffee, bridging the gap between convenience and excellence.

The crown jewel of Lotte Coffee’s selection is the singular yet exquisite Blue Mountain blend, catering to aficionados with a preference for dark, Americano-style coffee. This choice reflects Lotte’s dedication to simplicity and quality, focusing on perfecting a blend that delivers a sophisticated, rich flavor profile reminiscent of the renowned coffee-growing regions of the Blue Mountains.

For those discerning coffee lovers searching for an experience that mirrors the ritual and richness of traditional drip coffee with the convenience of a sachet, Lotte Coffee’s Blue Mountain blend stands out as an emblem of luxury in the Korean coffee market. It represents a refined choice for those who wish to indulge in a premium coffee experience, ensuring that every cup is a moment of pleasure and distinction.

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.
      facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhalalwatchkorea%2Fposts%2F2031726610395742

  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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