Most instant coffee does not compare to the taste of fresh coffee
I did try some Starbucks Via Columbia tubes that I really liked. I believe they are part ground coffee and part instant. Excellent flavor! It's all a matter of what each person likes.
I thought instant was super fine ground coffee
I'll have to google search.
Here is what I found:
As with regular coffee, the green coffee bean itself is first roasted to bring out flavour and aroma. Rotating cylinders containing the green beans and hot combustion gases are used in most roasting plants. When the bean temperature reaches 165 °C the roasting begins, accompanied by a popping sound similar to that produced by popcorn. These batch cylinders take about 8–15 minutes to complete roasting with about 25–75% efficiency. Coffee roasting using a fluidized bed only takes from thirty seconds to four minutes, and it operates at lower temperatures which allows greater retention of the coffee bean aroma and flavor.
The beans are then ground finely. Grinding reduces the beans to 0.5–1.1-millimetre (0.020–0.043 in) pieces in order to allow the coffee to be put in solution with water for the drying stage. Sets of scored rollers designed to crush rather than cut the bean are used.
Once roasted and ground, the coffee is dissolved in water. This stage is called extraction. Water is added in 5–10 percolation columns at temperatures of 155 to 180 °C; this concentrates the coffee solution to about 15–30% coffee by mass. After filtration, this may be further concentrated before the drying process begins by either vacuum evaporation or freeze concentration.
A freeze dryer
The basic principle of freeze drying is the removal of water by sublimation.
Since the mass production of instant coffee began in post-WWII America, freeze-drying has grown in popularity to become a common method. Although it is sometimes more expensive, it generally results in a higher-quality product.
1.Agglomerated wet coffee granules are rapidly frozen (slow freezing leads to large ice crystals and a porous product and can also affect the colour of the coffee granules).
2.Frozen coffee is placed in the drying chamber, often on metal trays.
3.A vacuum is created within the chamber. The strength of the vacuum is critical in the speed of the drying and therefore the quality of the product. Care must be taken to produce a vacuum of suitable strength.
4.The drying chamber is warmed, most commonly by radiation but conduction is used in some plants and convection has been proposed in some small pilot plants. A possible problem with convection is uneven drying rates within the chamber, which would give an inferior product.
5.Condensation — the previously frozen water in the coffee granules expands to ten times its previous volume. The removal of this water vapor from the chamber is vitally important, making the condenser the most critical and expensive component in a freeze-drying plant.
6.The freeze-dried granules are removed from the chamber and packaged.