Which espresso powder is best?

Whether you want a quick and easy way to brew espresso or add a coffee kick to baked goods, espresso powder is what you need. Thanks to its bold, punchy flavor and quick dissolving, it beats instant coffee for baking with or adding to smoothies or shakes.

You won’t need much to add to recipes, but you can get through a lot when drinking it by the cup. Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder is a great choice, made from quality Colombian coffee beans.

What to know before you buy espresso powder

Espresso powder vs. ground coffee

It’s easy to assume that espresso powder is the same as the finely ground coffee you use to brew espresso, but there’s a significant difference. 

  • Ground coffee is just what it sounds like: ground-up coffee beans. Whether you grind it yourself or buy it pre-ground from the store, it’s all the same. You brew it using any method before it becomes the type of coffee you’d drink or add to a recipe. 
  • Espresso powder is coffee that’s already been brewed into espresso before being dried and ground into a powder. When you mix it with hot water, it rehydrates to make espresso. Alternatively, you can add it straight to any recipe that uses some wet ingredients, where it will dissolve without adding extra moisture. 

Package size

You can buy espresso powder in small 1- to 2-ounce canisters that are about the right size to fit in a spice rack. This package size is great for people who only use a teaspoon of espresso powder occasionally in baking recipes, smoothies or shakes. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find larger 5 to 8-ounce packages. These are good for people who use espresso powder to make their daily coffee or two do a lot of baking. 


Single-origin espresso powder uses beans that all come from the same region. While it doesn’t necessarily equal a better-tasting coffee, it’s a sign that the producer thought carefully about which beans to use rather than simply buying whichever beans they could get their hands on. As such, a single-origin designation can signal a quality product. 

What to look for in a quality espresso powder


It might not matter to all buyers, but some people only buy organic products or prefer to buy them when available. Look for the USDA organic certification.


A resealable container helps keep instant espresso fresh for longer. However, if you use it infrequently, it’s best to transfer it to a completely airtight container. Otherwise, it can absorb moisture and harden. 

Finely ground

You should grind the espresso powder finely to help it dissolve more easily. This means you can add it to a cake batter or other thick mixture, and it will dissolve without being mixed with water first. 

How much you can expect to spend on espresso powder

Most espresso powder costs $5-$10, but some offer better value than others, so compare the price per ounce as well as the overall cost. 

Espresso powder FAQ

Is instant coffee the same as espresso powder? 

A. Instant coffee is similar to espresso powder but not the same. While standard instant coffee is brewed coffee that’s been dried to remove all the liquid, espresso powder is brewed espresso that’s been dried. The difference is the intensity and flavor of the coffee once rehydrated or added to a recipe. When you’re looking for an intense coffee flavor, espresso powder packs more of a punch, making it a great choice for espresso martinis, coffee frosting and anything else where a coffee flavor is the star of the show. 

What’s a good substitute for espresso powder in baking? 

A. If you can’t get espresso powder easily or you need it now and don’t have any to hand, instant coffee is the most similar substitution. However, you should use slightly more and will need to dissolve it in a tablespoon or two of hot water, which isn’t the case with espresso powder as it’s fine enough to dissolve in cold liquids or cake batters. 

Alternatively, you can use brewed espresso or strong brewed coffee in some recipes, though you’ll need to make adjustments for the additional liquid you’re adding. 

What’s the best espresso powder to buy?

Top espresso powder

Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder

Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder 

What you need to know: Made from 100% Colombian beans, this great-tasting espresso powder is perfect for all kinds of uses. 

What you’ll love: It comes in an easily resealable container with a sifting lid for easy dusting. America’s Test Kitchen voted it the number one espresso powder. It dissolves easily in all kinds of recipes. 

What you should consider: It doesn’t contain anti-caking ingredients so it can absorb moisture and turn hard if you take too long to use it. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top espresso powder for the money

Anthonys Organic Espresso Baking Powder

Anthony’s Organic Espresso Baking Powder

What you need to know: This 5-ounce bag brings down the cost for those who regularly use powdered espresso. 

What you’ll love: Not only is it non-GMO, it’s also USDA-certified organic. The bag is resealable, or you can transfer it to an airtight container. It’s finely ground, so it dissolves easily. 

What you should consider: Some buyers received short-dated powder, but this doesn’t seem to be a common issue.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

King Arthur Espresso Powder

King Arthur Espresso Powder

What you need to know: Whether you use it in baking or to make strong coffee, it has a rich, complex flavor.

What you’ll love: It comes in a 3-ounce jar, which isn’t so small you’ll use it quickly or so large you won’t get through it before it expires. The lid screws on tightly, keeping it fresh. It’s kosher certified and non-GMO verified.

What you should consider: It can clump, so it’s a good idea to sift it into recipes. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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