New in Japan: Blue Bottle Coffee, Instantly
Our new instant coffee redefines the category
When it comes to delicious coffee, for years the last thing we thought about was speed. Our pour overs take about five minutes, but we’ve always liked that—both the ritual and the chance to slow down.
But modern life is busy. It doesn’t always afford the time or space for even a five-minute ritual, whether due to travel or the simple demands of daily life.
While we’ve since pioneered small-batch ready-to-pour coffee and ready-to-drink cold brews, we never thought a Blue Bottle Coffee–quality pour over could be achieved instantly. So you can imagine the slack-jawed looks of astonishment on the faces of Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman and Director of Quality Benjamin Brewer when our partners at Nestlé showed them they had pulled it off.
Instant coffee has lately undergone something of a craft revival, as the coffee world has discovered that dehydrating good coffee actually yields pretty decent results. But pretty decent doesn’t work for us. To capture Blue Bottle quality, Nestlé knew they needed to develop an entirely new method of freeze-drying.
That’s why James and Ben at first had no idea what they were looking at when they were shown these beautiful, large, uneven, chocolate-brown flakes, almost resembling fleur de sel with their mineral sheen and beveled edges. They looked like something you might sprinkle on vanilla ice cream—nothing like ordinary powdered or crystallized instant.
Then the hot water flowed in, and the unmistakable scents of our classic Giant Steps blend floated up. “It tasted exactly like a Blue Bottle pour over—and not just any pour over, but among the best I’ve had,” Benjamin recalled.
“Am I being rather too high minded to make the claim that I enjoy being proven wrong where matters of coffee are concerned—but don’t often get the chance?” James asked in a recent email. “I approached this soluble coffee project with customary good-natured skepticism, never thinking that we could meet our standards for cup clarity, vibrancy, and depth.
“Lo and behold, after many months of intense development, we have a product which not only exceeds the aforementioned standards, it is also so delicious that it has me leaving my grinder, dripper, scale and kettle in my checked luggage so that I can enjoy a delicious coffee on the plane with so little effort that it almost feels like a transgression against the last sixteen years of deeply-held beliefs about how difficult making a delicious coffee needs to be.”