Trader Joe’s 10 Instant Coffee Packets

Trader Joe's Instant Coffee Packets

In this case, your coffee cup is Troy.

What flattering box design. Trader Joe’s 10 Instant Coffee Packets couldn’t look more charmingly mid-century if it was in the center of a Wes Anderson set piece. If only that charm and level of care had extended to the actual coffee packaged inside. What we have here is a classic Trojan Horse situation – only the box is filled with sub-par coffee instead of vengeful Athenians.

Ranking: 1 star 1 star rating

Recommended? Nope.
Buy It Again? Nope.
Final Synopsis Finally, you can have bad coffee anywhere!

In theory, this is a pretty good idea. Trader Joe’s cutely states that their packets of instant coffee are “all dressed up with creamer and sugar”- perfect for when you’re on the go, getting on a plane, etc. Why not mix the sugar and creamer into the instant coffee right off the bat to let you get on with your hectic schedule? Unfortunately, their execution leaves much to be desired. The problem, it turns out, is two prong.

One – this isn’t actual cream we’re talking about, but “creamer” – that ubiquitous white powder passed off in break rooms around the country as a suitable replacement for real cream. It isn’t, of course, isn’t anywhere close. Instead of a dairy product, it’s a combination of corn syrup, oil, whey powder, potassium phosphate and sodium caseinate. You know, all your favorites! And while powdered creamer can get you by in a pinch, it can also comes with a particular aftertaste of something slightly chalky and unsatisfying.

Two, and much more problematic, is the powedered coffee itself. Though Trader Joe’s boasts of the “100% Brazillian Arabica coffee beans” that go into the mix, this is not good coffee. A cup of this stuff comes out not bitter, but sour. While acidity is sought out by many coffee connoisseurs in their good java, it’s usually sought after for lending a “brightness” or “snappiness” to the cup. This is not that. The sour, cheap, aftertaste of the coffee, combined with the already less than great aftertaste of the creamer, makes for a truly unsatisfying cup of coffee.

Trader Joe's Instant Coffee Packets 2

“Now wait a minute,” you might be saying, “This is a packet of instant coffee we’re talking about, not the damn Mona Lisa, aren’t you being a little hard on it?”

The thing is, sitting right next to me right now I have a little pouch from Starbucks that contains 3 single-serving packets of instant coffee that are not just drinkable, but actually enjoyable. It’s not necessarily coffee to write poetry about, but it is good. Good enough, certainly, to kick Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee Pakcets from here to Timbuktu and back.

I could be more forgiving if I thought Trader Joe’s didn’t know what good coffee was – but Trader Joe’s does some great coffee. They did their own cold-brew coffee concentrate, for crying out loud, and that was so good it actually made me go back and redact my original snarky post.

The only thing Trader Joe’s can be proud about here is the original notion of combining creamer and sugar with their instant coffee, and that doesn’t strike me as quite the life-saver they make it out to be. If you really don’t have the time to find the cream for your coffee, then just take it black – know what I mean? I can’t imagine leaving the artificial creamer out of this instant coffee would make it any worse than including it actually does.

Long story short – there are way better on-the-go coffee solutions out there. Don’t settle for something gross just because the packaging is cute. A lesson we may apply to our love life as well as our coffee.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: No, I would not. Pick up one of the Starbucks versions instead.

Would I Buy It Again: I’m actually going to throw this box out.

Final Synopsis: Finally, a way to experience really bad coffee anywhere!

Trader Joe's Instant Coffee Packets - Nutritional Facts

Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee Packets – Nutritional Facts


9 Comments on “Trader Joe’s 10 Instant Coffee Packets”

  1. Mara says:

    Your posts just crack me up. Thank you for the “Trojan Horse” imagery and for saving me from letting these evil, sour little packets into my home.

  2. dominiquecc says:

    Don’t throw it out. Bring it back to the store. They take everything back even if you’ve used it.

  3. TJsFan says:

    I come from Asia and instant coffees with creamer and sugar in the packet is the norm nowadays. Google “3 in 1 coffee” and it should give you an extensive list of brands that does it. They’re not that good but for the price, it’s okay… especially if you’re dunking the local bread in it. A quick breakfast that one can afford everyday.

  4. […] I’m not saying don’t drink hot cups of spiced coffee over the winter, I’m saying you can do better than this. Hell, you can do better than this in your own kitchen with some coffee, whole milk and cinnamon-sugar. Or just go to Starbucks, if you don’t care about the calories. That Starbucks coffee is pretty good – and it’s waaaaaaay better than lame excuse for a pick-me-up. Even the Trader Joe’s instant powdered coffee stuff is way better (As we’ve talked about before with Trader Joe’s powered coffee packets). […]

  5. Taryn says:

    I agree with TJsFan. I lived in Korea for several years and the local teachers would exchange these little instant packets like cigarettes! lol

    It’s an acquired taste for sure but I quite missed it when I moved back to the States…until I found these at Trader Joes. They’re actually made in Korea! 😀

  6. MaryBelleOs says:

    Are you CrAzY?!?!?! I LOOOOVE coffee….and these are BY FAR one of my favs!!!!!! The taste is amazing!!!!!! I’ve never made a bad cup….and as a busy momma and babysitter…it’s quick and easy!!!!!

  7. emily says:

    As I sit here thinking this is the best cup of hot coffee I’ve ever had! (Does it count that I added Dunkin Donuts “Extra Extra Creamer” to it?! 😉

  8. Anonymous says:

    I thought these were pretty good. I like them for a little pick me up at work after lunch.

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