Homemade Instant Coffee Mix: You Can Do It in Your Sleep

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on April 14, 2014

For someone who goes to the grocery store as often as I do, this is an embarrassing admission. But on a shockingly regular basis, I run out of not just coffee but milk for my coffee. Sometimes it’s coffee, sometimes it’s milk. Sometimes it’s both. It’s like a mental block that only becomes painfully clear at the bleary-eyed crack of dawn.

After hearing me whine one too many times about my sad state of affairs, my partner in crime Andrea Lynn turned me on to her emergency caffeination secret: Trader Joe’s instant coffee packets. (She did write the book on this kind of thing, so I trust her judgment.) And they would have been my salvation, but each tiny package called for only 4-6 fl. oz. of water—that’s 1/2 cup-3/4 cup, for those of you who aren’t fluent in fluid ounce to cup conversions like I am. And that is simply not enough coffee for this girl. I’m a freelance writer, for pete’s sake! Don’t you know we’re all fueled by coffee and angst?

homemade instant coffee mix, via goodfoodstories.com
Clearly some DIY deconstruction had to be done. Otherwise I’d burn through the instant packets too quickly and be in a worse situation than ever: no coffee, no milk and no faux milk either. The simplest solution would be to grab a jar of instant coffee and a canister of powdered non-dairy creamer, which would be fine for the majority of the population. But not for me.

This is where it comes in handy to read labels: the last ingredient on the Trader Joe’s packet is “mocha flavor,” meaning this recipe for homemade coffee creamer fits the bill perfectly. The mocha is a brilliant addition on Trader Joe’s part: it cuts the instant coffee’s bitterness and adds a fuller, rounder, roastier flavor to an otherwise subpar cup. I’ve drastically reduced the quantities from the original in the recipe below since I don’t need to store or use 5 whole cups of powdered coffee creamer at any given moment, but your mileage may vary.

homemade instant coffee mix, via goodfoodstories.com
No matter how you like to store and serve your emergency coffee—just creamer for those mornings when you’ve still got beans to grind in the house, a pre-made mix for super-desperate days, or single servings to take to motels, campgrounds, beach houses, or other places where neither fresh coffee nor milk can be found—I’ve got a solution for you below.

Here’s to happier mornings.

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