3-in-1 Instant Coffee Taste Test

We gauge four 3-in-1 coffee brands based on flavor, efficacy, and other qualities that factor into a reliable cup of instant coffee.

Coffee addicts like me will take what we can get—even the delusional wakefulness from a sachet (or several more) of 3-in-1 coffee. Instant coffee was my best friend, my constant companion during the years I worked for three magazines. I have Nescafé to thank for making me lucid on those mornings-after-overtime and Kopiko for keeping me sane through late afternoon-until-evening shoots. I was introduced to San Miguel back in college, when I first started staying up late to write, edit, and finish issues of the school paper. Fast forward to the present: I now test the flavor, efficacy, and other qualities that factor into a reliable cup of instant coffee.

Our Criteria

For this piece, Nescafe’s Original 3-in-1, Kopiko’s Astig, San Miguel’s Original (Creamier), and Good Day Original are compared according to four factors. On a scale from 1 to 5 (one being the lowest and five being the highest), each brand will be scored for the following criteria:

First Taste

This factor will consider how well the coffee, creamer, and sugar balance each other on those first few sips.

That “Tama” Factor

Insomniacs drink coffee for one purpose: for that strong taste that takes over the taste buds and awakens the senses.

“Tama” Mortality

How long can the coffee’s strong taste last in your mouth? A lower score means it requires more sips or larger gulps for the taste to kick in.

Aftertaste

For this criterion, the numbers go in reverse: one means it has a decent or no aftertaste; five means it has an awful aftertaste.

Nescafe Original

This brand may be the undisputed classic when it comes to instant coffee, but it really tastes more like cream and sugar. There’s a need to deceive the brain that it will work before you mix that sachet. Thirty minutes later, expect to be reaching out for another sachet to keep things going.

Tama Factor: 2/5, First Taste: 3/5, Tama Mortality: 3/5, Aftertaste: 4/5

Good Day Original

Despite having a look similar to Nescafe, Good Day Original offered a slightly stronger flavor. The mix had just enough bitterness to complement the sugar and cream components. The mortality of its “tama factor” however, is equal to Nescafe’s and it has an odd but subtle aftertaste.

Tama Factor: 3/5, First Taste: 4.5/5, Tama Mortality: 3/5, Aftertaste: 3/5

San Miguel Original (Creamier version)

Here’s my problem with San Miguel Original: the impact is there upon first taste and the way it hits lasts. Yet you can taste the chemicals that keep the flavor strong. Thankfully, the addition of more cream somehow distracts you a little from how you’re being kept up.

Tama Factor: 5/5, First Taste: 4/5, Tama Mortality: 4/5, Aftertaste: 3/5

Kopiko Astig

Kopiko Astig isn’t lying with its variation: first taste and tama factor work hand in hand. The mortality of the impact is just right, and the aftertaste—although just as artificially obvious as San Miguel—has a little more bitterness to make it taste more like coffee.

Tama Factor: 4/5, First Taste: 4/5, Tama Mortality: 3.5/5, Aftertaste: 3/5

The 3-in-1 Coffee Verdict: Kopiko

Kopiko is as astig as it claims to be. But that’s my bias for bitter balanced with sweet-talking.

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