Instant coffee gets a bad rap. But like it or not, instant coffee---a freeze-dried, powdered concentrated form of coffee---is coffee. And like other types of coffee, it is full of antioxidants. The obvious downside for many people, however, is that instant coffee has a different flavor profile than traditionally brewed coffee. But that does not mean that it can’t be good. In fact, there are now second- and third-generation instant coffees that have gained a following.
However, this post is NOT about the most au courant instant coffees. This post is about an old-school, first-generation instant coffee. Specifically, Juan Valdez Café instant coffee (which I recently received as a gift from good friends).
The Juan Valdez Café brand represents coffee produced by Colombian Coffee Farmers---500,000 strong, who are devoted to continuing a coffee-growing tradition that many say produces the best coffee in the world. Amazon reviewers tend to rate Juan Valdez Café coffee with 4.5 to 5 stars (out of a 5-star rating system), describing it as “smooth and bold, yet balanced”; “the best coffee, period”; and “chocolatey, smooth, and creamy.” And when it comes to instant coffee, ratings are largely 5 out of 5.
Who is/was Juan Valdez?
I always assumed that Juan Valdez was a real person; however, he is not ONE person, but rather a composite prototype of the male Colombian coffee farmer. The character of Juan Valdez was created at a NYC-based ad agency, DDB, in the late 1950’s for its client---the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia. Over the years, he has been portrayed by various actors, as a proud, productive coffee farmer, with a cheerful and focused demeanor, devoted to maintaining the high standard of growing and harvesting Colombian coffee beans.
Colombia is the third largest exporter of coffee after Brazil (#1) and Vietnam (#2). Though much of the fanfare around Colombian coffee is driven by good marketing, Colombian coffee is actually very good. Colombia has the ideal geography for coffee production, with respect to elevation (1200 to 1800 meters---3900 to 5900 ft); mean rainfall (80 inches per year); temperature (46 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit---with temps never dipping below freezing); and soil (volcanic—the best soil for growing coffee).
I was really excited about receiving Juan Valdez instant coffee—this was literally the first time I tried it. Juan Valdez coffee is sold in countries throughout Central and South America, as well as Kuwait, Spain, Germany, and in some places in the US. I personally have never had a chance to try it---so I honestly am totally ok with an instant brewing experience.
Enjoy a good cup of coffee, says Juan Valdez
I took the Juan Valdez coffee tagline, “Disfrute de un buen café” or “Enjoy a good cup of coffee” to heart. I boiled water, put two heaping tablespoons of coffee in a cup and added lactaid whole milk—and then poured the steaming water on top. Was it good? YES. Could I tell it was instant? Also, yes.
Overall the instant Juan Valdez coffee was amazing. Very bold, very strong, flavored with vanilla and still potent beyond belief—and still smooth. The reviews were right. I plan on enjoying this coffee throughout the fall and buying more online when it runs out. If you’re open to trying a freeze-dried instant coffee, definitely try Juan Valdez.