The Best Espresso Powders (2020 Reviews & Buying Guide)

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Did you know that instant espresso powder can be used for baking and cooking recipes? The best espresso powders are not just for preparing delicious, dark coffee at home. Their use in the kitchen also is becoming more and more common these days.

And why wouldn’t it when espresso powder has a somewhat bitter and incredibly rich coffee flavor. The kind that adds a more delightful taste to your savory dishes. And it highlights the character of chocolate even more.

The flavor of espresso powder is not like instant coffee, mind you. It’s much more concentrated, richer, and stronger. At the same time, it’s also not as harsh and sour as instant coffee.

If you have to use instant coffee instead of espresso powder, then you might end up adding 50-percent more of the former in order to get the exact flavor of the latter. That’s the difference between the two. So now let’s get to the top reviews

Top Choice: Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Instant Coffee

Medaglia D’Oro Espresso Instant Coffee

If you really want to hear about an unusually rich, delicious, and aromatic instant espresso coffee powder, then here it is. Medaglia D’Oro is double roasted and very easy to prepare, no two ways about that.

No more having to go through the tedious process of brewing coffee just to devour a rich and smooth cup. And that’s not even the best part, the most enticing aspect is that the espresso here doesn’t bother the tummy. Thanks to the low acidity.

That means you can use it in your dessert recipes how much ever you like to boost the rich, complex flavors of chocolate. It’s a super convenient way of preparing espresso at home to energize your senses without feeling jittery.

The powder dissolves instantly and gives a great-tasting, freshly-brewed flavor. An ideal option for those who don’t want to give up drinking dark instant coffee even when they’re camping, hiking, or traveling.

Medaglia D’Oro Key Features

  • Double-roasted and unusually rich and aromatic
  • Minimal acidity, thus easy on the stomach
  • Perfect for baking and outdoor adventurers

Runner-Up Choice: King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder

King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder

You’ve found the perfect secret ingredient for all your chocolate recipes. This espresso powder is made using the highest quality coffee beans. Just a pinch is bound to make chocolate taste more intense and richer. And just so you know, it doesn’t add any amount of coffee flavor by itself.

With an espresso powder like this, your baking recipes are certainly going to taste better. The thing is ground, then brewed, and then dried from only specially selected premium coffee beans.

All you need to do is add between half and two teaspoons for enhancing the sumptuous flavors of chocolate. To make things healthier, the product is non-GMO. Meaning free of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors.

Let me make it very clear though that this is not an espresso substitute. It’s specifically designed for enhancing the flavor of chocolate. And it does that job pretty well, without any complaints. Even the container mouth is wide enough for making way for your measuring spoon.

King Arthur Flour Key Features

  • Made with specially selected, high-quality coffee beans
  • No standout coffee flavor
  • Perfect for chocolate desserts and recipes

Budget-Friendly Choice: Espresso Powder by Java & Co.

JAVA Co Espresso Power

When pure Arabica coffee beans are freshly roasted, you can expect a deep and rich flavor. That’s exactly the kind of espresso experience you’d be getting with this espresso powder. It’s the best for frostings, brownies, cakes, cookies, ice cream, and more.

The most delicious baking ingredient lends a rich and deep flavor to just about everything you add it to. No amount of preservatives, fillers, and anti-caking agents are used. This alternative is 100% natural and fresh. But it’s not instant espresso, keep that in mind.

All you need is a little bit for truly enhancing the deeper flavors of chocolate. So it’s not such a bad thing that the espresso powder comes in a tiny bottle. The jar is small because you don’t require more than just a pinch for any recipe. And it has a pretty tight seal too for preserving all the delicious freshness, aroma, and flavors.

Java & Co Key Features

  • Made from freshly roasted Arabica coffee beans
  • Perfect for preparing chocolate treats
  • The powder has a very strong coffee flavor

Best Instant Espresso Powder: Nescafe Espresso Instant Coffee

Nescafe Espresso Instant Coffee

Flavorful and strong espresso blessed with the perfect crema; this is the most appropriate way to describe Nescafe Espresso. 100-percent Arabica beans packed with antioxidants, low in calories, and with caffeine ideal for helping you stay focused and alert.

At Koobies, Nescafe Espresso has a reputation of tasting richer than most instant coffees out there. The crema is much like the one you get with Barista-quality espresso drinks. You don’t need a fancy espresso machine anymore just to devour rich, dark coffee at home.

The powder blends very easily with hot water. And my advice to you; don’t even think of drinking a full cup of this unless you’re planning on climbing a mountain. That’s how strong and awakening it is!

This should be your answer to, where to find espresso powder in grocery store?

Nescafe Key Features

  • Instant espresso made from Arabica
  • Barista-like strong and flavorful with rich crema
  • High caffeine kick without a burnt or bitter taste

Best Espresso Powder for Baking: DeLallo Baking Powder Espresso

Delallo Baking Powder Espresso

What is a good substitute for espresso powder? The most straightforward answer to this is DeLallo. What you’re looking at here is rich espresso baking powder that has that perfect roasty coffee flavor minus the bitterness.

The baking ingredient is indispensable as it heightens the intrinsically rich flavors of chocolate. And chocolate, as you already know, is a very big part of baking, isn’t it? You don’t even have to worry about the espresso powder leaving any distinct coffee flavor.

The product is gluten-free, which means good for your digestive health, cholesterol levels, and energy levels. The rich coffee flavor it adds to homemade caffeine-infused recipes is also another a very tempting quality.

But it’s mainly used for baking purposes no matter what you’re preparing in your kitchen.

DeLallo Baking Key Features

  • Rich coffee flavor with zero bitterness
  • Allergy-friendly and gluten-free
  • Dissolves very easily

Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso

Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso

Black Cat Classic Espresso; now doesn’t that sound like the most delicious at-home espresso experience? And it truly is. All thanks to the delectable tones of ripe cherry, dark chocolate, and brown sugar. Think of it as your homemade scone or donut’s perfect companion.

The taste is sweet and aroma is just pure joy. The rich dark chocolate, caramel flavor doesn’t taste burnt at all. You can prepare your favorite traditional cappuccino also with this classic version. The balanced flavor and rich crema stand out to offer life’s simplest pleasures.

Key Features

  • Sweet, complex medium-roast classic espresso
  • The best for double and triple shots
  • Fair Trade Certified

Old Chicago Coffee Flour Espresso Powder

Flour Espresso Powder

Your espresso powder recipes are truly going to get an upgrade with this option right here. The grinds are a bit heavier and larger in comparison to coffee powder. You’re free to use this flour espresso to enhance the chocolate flavors in your desserts.

Regular instant coffee powder isn’t pre-brewed. But this espresso powder certainly is, which explains why it has a reduced coffee flavor. It’s brewed as well as dried before packing. The perfect ingredient to have at your disposal to be able to bake delicious recipes.

Key Features

  • The best for preparing chocolate cake and frosting
  • Very rich flavor and aroma
  • No preservatives and additives

Lavazza Caffe Espresso Ground Coffee

Lavazza Caffe Espresso

100-percent, highest-quality Arabica coffee beans go into making Lavazza Espresso Ground Coffee. These beans have been selected very carefully and roasted evenly for providing that tempting aroma and smooth flavor.

The flavor is way better in comparison to just about any grocery-bought brand. When using with espresso-making machines, the ground coffee solves the common issue of inconsistency. It’s also the best espresso powder for lattes and cappuccinos, no doubt.

Key Features

  • Strong black coffee, minus the unpleasant intensity
  • Smooth flavor and tempting aroma
  • Minimal acidity

Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder

Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder

If you have a baker or cook living inside you, then that person might want you to befriend Civilized Coffee. The rich espresso flavored coffee powder doesn’t contain any non-caking chemicals. Only the best Colombian coffee is used.

You can add this to your coffee drinks, smoothies, power shakes, and even desserts of course. It enhances the richness and depth of chocolate, even dark chocolate and vanilla flavors. Needless to say, it adds a bold character but without any bitterness.

Key Features

  • High-quality Colombian espresso coffee
  • Allergen-free and non-GMO
  • Easy to dissolve

Ferrera Instant Espresso Coffee

Ferrara Instant Espresso Coffee

First and foremost, don’t expect this instant espresso coffee to be as tasty or satisfying as original espresso. However, definitely expect it to bring out all the goodness and all that’s delicious and flavorful in your baking and cooking recipes.

For chocolate cakes and puddings, this espresso powder is the best to use. Just a pinch has the ability to add extra dimension to the dish. Be it for desserts or roast pork chops, beef, etc.

The rich, deep flavor is the reason why I highly recommend this instant espresso coffee.

Key Features

  • Strong, aromatic, and flavorful
  • Not excessively dark roast nor weak and acidic
  • Great for baking and camping

Homemade Baking Organic Espresso Powder

Homemade Baking Organic Espresso

To support your organic lifestyle, here’s the organic version of the popular for baking espresso powder. So you can enhance the delicious flavors of your favorite chocolate desserts the organic way now.

Just add anywhere between half to two teaspoons and your recipe is good to go. The grounds are ultra-fine to dissolve easily in both cold and hot water. This means you can make this secret ingredient a part of smoothies and beverages too.

Key Features

  • 100-percent organic Arabica coffee beans used
  • Packed in re-sealable containers
  • Ideal for camping, road trips, travel, etc.

Espresso Powder: What Is It Really?

Espresso Powder In Spoon

Instant espresso powder or espresso powder is a more concentrated, darker version of instant coffee. You don’t necessarily use it for preparing espresso or for brewing coffee at home. Because if you do, the result is inevitably going to be weak-tasting coffee.

The process of making espresso powder is much like the process of making regular instant coffee. Coffee beans used for brewing espresso are ground into a fine size, brewed, and then dried. These dried grounds are further crushed for creating a finer powder.

Finally, this finer ground powder serves as a very delicious ingredient for baked goods.

Espresso Powder: What Recipes Can You Use It For?

Let me begin with the best of the best.

Baked Chocolate Recipes

If you’re a chocolate or coffee lover, then I don’t need to tell you that coffee and chocolate are like BFFs. In case you didn’t know, that’s Best Friends Forever. I mean haven’t you ever come across coffee brands that sell chocolate bars? Or brands that have chocolate flavored coffees?

That said, adding delicious, dark espresso powder to your chocolate-laden desserts may not be a new idea but it certainly is a brilliant one. The former balances out chocolate’s intense sweetness by infusing bitter notes.

A pinch of espresso powder goes a long way when it comes to enhancing the deep, intense flavors of chocolate.

Cocktails and Smoothies

Not as conventional as baking, using espresso powder here means adding a touch of delicious coffee flavor to your smoothie or cocktail.

It’s an invaluable tip for making your refreshing beverage more flavorful. Without increasing the water content as in the case of adding a typical brew. Also, you don’t have to deal with the strong intensity of a whole espresso shot either.

Sauces and Dressings

Using Espresso Powder

If you’re into making homemade steak or barbecue sauce, then it’s time you introduce some espresso powder into your recipes. This is a great addition to salad dressings like vinaigrette. 

The espresso coffee flavor adds a savory tone, no doubt. And when the recipe itself is savory, then espresso creates an additional depth.

Chili, Stew, and Braises

Just the idea of braising your favorite meat using a coffee-based liquid sounds extremely delightful. The whole concept here is to create complexity. Your dish is bound to have more richness and depth.

And since espresso powder has minimal coffee flavor, you don’t have to worry about your recipe tasting odd either.

Steak Recipes

How about including espresso powder as one of the dry rubs for your steaks? It may sound strange but, believe you me, this particular secret ingredient adds just the right kind of smoky, rich flavor you demand from your steak dish.

Pair it up with cayenne, and together they produce that irresistible, rich dark-brown color. And if you think your steak is going to taste like coffee, then you definitely haven’t tried it yet.


It’s time to get carried away a little; there’s no harm in using espresso powder as the finishing touch. Just keep in mind that it complements recipes with more nutty flavors. So how about using espresso powder instead of cinnamon for a change?


Instant Espresso vs. Instant Coffee

Instant vs Ground Coffee

For those who want to know the differences between the two, here they are.

Caffeine Level

Instant coffee has 30 to 90 milligrams of caffeine for a drink of 8 ounces. Now, this is lower than the caffeine content present in a single shot of espresso, which is 63 milligrams per 1-2 ounces. That means preparing coffee with instant espresso gives you a more caffeinated cup.


Obviously, instant espresso has a much stronger and richer taste than instant coffee. However, espresso powder is not as flavorful as your regular espresso shot.

The taste also varies depending on what type of coffee beans and processes are used. For example, 100-percent Arabic coffee when freeze-dried instead of spray-dried, offer a sweeter tone with no bitterness.

Freeze-drying also helps in retaining the original flavors of those coffee beans.

Instant Espresso vs. Cacao Powder

Cacao powder and espresso powder may share the same concentrated flavor quality. In fact, both are used for baking purposes. However, that doesn’t make them synonymous in terms of ingredients. Even though both are packed with plenty of antioxidants and health benefits as well.

When you press un-roasted, raw cacao beans, you get cacao powder. The process eliminates all the butter and fat present in the beans, thus leaving behind nutrients and fibers. Cacao powder has a rich chocolate flavor but with bitterness.

On the other hand, espresso is more coffee-based. The coffee flavor is reduced because espresso powder is pre-brewed. That means minimal to no bitterness. And more importantly, you can use it to prepare coffee beverages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Brewed Coffee

Can I use espresso powder for brewing coffee?

Yes, of course you can but you should know that most espresso powders are specifically created for baking and cooking. But there are a few you can use to prepare a dark, strong brew at home.

As for how to brew, the method is the same as in the case of regular instant coffee or powdered hot chocolate. You heat milk or water, add the powder, and then stir.

However, remember that, more often than not, the result is weak-tasting coffee when using espresso powder. If you what you really want is instant coffee, then make sure to buy a product that’s labeled so instead of espresso powder or instant espresso.

Is espresso powder the same as espresso fine grounds?

The answer to this frequently asked question is NO.

Espresso powder is easily soluble, which means it behaves very much like any regular spice. Brewed coffee is ground and then crushed to create espresso powder. That’s where it gets the finer texture and completely dissolvable qualities from.

Espresso grounds, on the contrary, do not fully dissolve. You may be able to achieve the desired flavor profile but the unpleasant grainy texture remains.

Can I use instant coffee instead of espresso powder for cooking, baking, etc.?

The technical answer is yes but the logical one is no. Instant coffee is created for drinking purposes only. As for instant espresso or espresso powder, it’s specially crafted for cooking.

But let’s say you don’t have espresso powder for your recipe. In that case, it’s no big deal to use instant coffee instead. Just make sure to add 50-percent more than instant espresso to get the same flavor punch.

However, don’t forget that instant coffee offers a much harsher taste with more sour notes. So keep the quantity you use to a minimum.

Can I make my own espresso powder?

I won’t say no but I definitely will call the process tedious and time-consuming. But there are many coffee lovers who wish to make their own version of espresso powder. Mainly because they’re concerned about where the coffee beans come from, how they’re grown, etc.

Nevertheless, getting access to this kind of information is a lot more convenient, quicker, and easier than actually manufacturing your own espresso powder at home. But here are the instructions anyway

What You Need:

  • Baking sheet
  • Oven
  • Leftover espresso/coffee grounds (medium or dark roast, fine grind size)
  • Mortar and pestle or coffee grinder 
  • Spatula
  • Airtight container


  • Make sure the grounds you’re using are comparatively fresher. You don’t want staleness to translate into your delicious homemade version of espresso powder.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit or the lowest setting available.
  • In the meantime, spread the grounds, using a spatula, over a flat, thin baking sheet layer.
    More grounds used means a larger quantity of espresso powder. The shelf life you’re looking at here is maximum 1 year, so do not go overboard.
  • Once your oven is ready, place this baking sheet inside. Set the timer for 1 hour. Keep checking the grounds until they become dry and start to look crunchy and toasty.
  • Then remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  • Now it’s time to throw them into your coffee grinder. Choose the fine grind setting. Or when using a mortar and pestle, make sure to crush or grind the grounds into a fine and uniform powder
  • Then store the powder in an airtight container. Don’t forget to write down the date. And that’s about it!

Bottom Line

What’s the difference between a good recipe and an outstanding one? It’s that one particular ingredient that makes the most important ingredient of the dish stand out. So in the case of chocolate-infused desserts, that one special ingredient is espresso powder.

This is intensely concentrated and dark instant coffee. The coffee crystals dissolve easily and quickly, no doubt. But espresso powder is not created for brewing and drinking. Primarily used for cooking and baking, instant espresso offers a darker flavor than regular instant coffee.

Just a dash or pinch of it can enhance the rich, deep, intense flavors of chocolate like no other ingredient out there. Not even cinnamon. And all this without having to worry about your baked treat tasting like your morning coffee. No bitterness either.

It’s not easy to stumble upon espresso powder at local grocery stores. So buying them on Amazon is a smarter decision.

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