Homemade Instant Coffee Mix

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.

instant coffee mix ingredients
Photo: Casey Barber

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.)

They would have been my salvation, but each tiny package called for only 4-6 fluid ounces of water. That’s only 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, for those of you who aren’t fluent in conversions like I am.

making homemade instanf coffee
Photo: Casey Barber

And that is simply not enough coffee for this girl. I’m a self-employed small business-owning boss lady hustler, for pete’s sake! Don’t you know we’re all fueled by coffee and angst?

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.

coffee and French toast
Photo: Casey Barber

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. Homemade instant coffee mix was the only way to go here.

This is where it comes in handy to read labels: the last ingredient on the Trader Joe’s packet is “mocha flavor,” and it’s a brilliant addition on Trader Joe’s part.

homemade instant coffee mix
Photo: Casey Barber

The mocha cuts the instant coffee’s bitterness and adds a fuller, rounder, roastier flavor to an otherwise subpar cup. Adding a little cocoa to the blend does the trick at home.

The following homemade instant coffee mix recipe is so versatile that it can work for any way you like to store and serve your emergency coffee.

  • Still have coffee in the house? Just make the creamer portion of the recipe.
  • Want to keep a stash on hand? Make a big batch of the mix with instant coffee added in.
  • Need single servings for road trips to motels or campgrounds? Follow my portioning instructions for the mix.
homemade instant coffee mix
Photo: Casey Barber

Is it the world’s best cup of coffee? Well, it’s instant coffee, so that will always be a stretch. But in a pinch, this will save your groggy butt.

Here’s to happier mornings with homemade instant coffee mix.

homemade instant coffee mix
making homemade instanf coffee

Homemade Instant Coffee Mix

Yield: 10 cups of coffee
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Homemade instant coffee mix can be made in minutes and keeps in the pantry almost indefinitely. Make a batch and never run out of coffee or milk!


  • 2/3 cup (57 grams) dry milk powder—whole or nonfat
  • 8 tablespoons (57 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 10 tablespoons (50 grams) instant coffee


To make the creamer blend:

  1. In a small food processor, pulse the milk powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and coconut oil until combined into a fine powder.
  2. Alternatively, you can stir the milk powder, confectioner's sugar, and cocoa powder through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl to remove any hard lumps, then add the coconut oil and whisk until any clumps disappear.
  3. You can stop here and store the creamer blend in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.If you don't want to store your creamer separately but want to make an integrated coffee mix, continue on with the instructions.

To make the coffee mix:

  1. Stir the creamer blend with the instant coffee.
  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry location.

To make a 12-ounce cup of coffee:

  1. Scoop a scant 3 tablespoons instant coffee mix into your mug.
  2. Stir in 1 1/4 cups (12 ounces) boiling water to fully dissolve the dry ingredients.
  3. Drink immediately.

For single servings a la carte:

  1. To make one 12-ounce cup of coffee, mix 1 tablespoon instant coffee and 2 tablespoons creamer mix and stir in 1 1/4 cups (12 fluid ounces) boiling water.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 13mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.

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