Best Espresso Powder 2023 (Rich, Roasty Flavor for Every Dish)

Photo of author

By: Tom Valenti


Instant espresso powder can be a very addictive ingredient, especially if you’re a baking enthusiast. It’s a total game-changer for all types of recipes – from anything sweet to anything savory. Think of it as that magical ingredient that enhances the flavor profile of your dish. It’s such a simple element yet it has a transformative impact. But that’s only if you’ve got the best espresso powder!

Even coffee lovers can’t get enough of it, all because of the unique, intense flavor, which adds a ton of richness and depth to whatever it comes in contact with. The most amazing thing about espresso powder is the way it’s made; the process is not the same as regular coffee. Rather the coffee beans are ground, then brewed, and finally dried for creating a seriously punchy concentrated powder.

The bottom line, espresso powder is a very versatile and flavorful product that coffee and dessert aficionados should definitely try!


What Is Espresso Powder?

What Is Espresso Powder?

First of all, ground espresso and espresso powder are as different as night and day. The latter is more concentrated and darker than instant coffee. And it doesn’t brew like regular coffee either.

Espresso beans (Italian dark roast) go through the process of grinding where they’re finely ground. Then this batch of coffee is brewed. And after that, dried.

This dehydrated coffee concentrate is then crushed into a more powdery, finer consistency. And the final product is packaged and labeled as espresso powder.

How Is Espresso Powder Used?

It’s surprising how versatile espresso powder can be as the ingredient mixes well with a lot of different kinds of foods. The concentrated powder can be added to coffee, desserts, baked goods, and various savory recipes.

Used for Baking Chocolatey Treats

Coffee-chocolate or chocolate-coffee is a match made in heaven. More and more brands are coming up with chocolate and coffee pairings, so why not infuse some of that bold flavor of espresso powder into sweet chocolatey goods!

When you sprinkle a little bit of this magical ingredient into a chocolate-based sweet or dessert recipe, it can really dial up that appealing taste of chocolate. Thus, making the overall flavor more well-balanced between bitter and sweet.

Powdered joe and chocolate cake combine not to make a coffee cake but to bring out the mocha-ness and produce a more sumptuous and intense flavor.

Used for Smoothies and Hot Cocoa

Be a little unconventional and try adding espresso powder to your beverages. Instead of using liquid espresso or your regular brew, opt for a pinch of espresso powder. Liquid espresso and regular brew in your shake, smoothie, or hot cocoa does taste very intense but espresso powder will not.

Used for Sauces and Dressings

Why reserve espresso flavoring only for breakfast hours, why not make it a part of your lunch/dinner as well? How about barbecue grilled chicken with a touch of espresso? Or your favorite salad with your favorite dressing that’s been christened with bold, rich espresso powder?

If you’ve not tried it yet, then now is the time to introduce your taste buds to the savory and flavorful appeal of espresso in steak and barbecue sauces. Just 1–2 teaspoons is enough for adding depth and that very palatable smoky tone.

Used for Chili, Braises, and Stews

How do you like the idea of braising your favorite meat with a coffee-based product? Lots of people are making the most of espresso powder this way in order to increase the complexity of the braise but without allowing those meaty entrees to taste like coffee.

Used for Steak

Dry rubs with espresso powder, really? In fact, it’s a magical, secretive ingredient that lends the most delicious smoky flavor. It adds that extra depth you’re bound to appreciate, and it pairs surprisingly well with cayenne.

Espresso powder will also make your extravagant steak look even more delicious by creating a very gorgeous dark-brown shade. Once again, the steak does not end up tasting anything like your average cup of joe.

Best Espresso Powder

What Are the Best Espresso Powder Alternatives?

Instant Coffee

Granules of instant coffee are a great substitute, no doubt. 1–2 teaspoons should be perfectly fine for creating that coffee concentrate goodness of espresso powder.

Instant coffee, in comparison to espresso, will not be as strong but it’s the next best thing if you don’t have espresso powder in your kitchen.

Natural or Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

Adding flavor depth with cocoa powder is also possible, but there is a slight difference between the two. Espresso powder is brewed, dehydrated coffee – a strong coffee concentrate in short. And its job is to balance out the sweetness of chocolate.

As for cocoa powder, it offers a more chocolatey flavor (Dutch-processed cocoa powder being less bitter and acidic than natural cocoa powder). But both are used for baking chocolatey goods as they add that much-needed chocolate flavor and color to the recipes.

Ground Espresso

Yet another excellent espresso powder substitute, ground espresso is basically finely ground coffee beans. Just how finely ground they are determines how easily the powder will dissolve.

Start by adding a very small amount of ground espresso, just half to one teaspoon at first. And then adjust the taste accordingly.

But bear in mind that ground espresso might not work as well as espresso powder if it doesn’t dissolve quickly. So if the texture is different, your glazes and frostings may not be the same. In that case, go with either brewed espresso or instant coffee instead.

Best Espresso Powder Reviews – Top 5 Picks

1. King Arthur Espresso Powder – #1 Choice

To add a little more of that morning “bounce” to a hot cup of Java, nothing compares to King Arthur’s Kosher-Certified Espresso Powder. It also enhances the flavor profile of coffee yogurt smoothies/shakes and chocolate-based goodies (cookies, brownies, cakes, etc.).

This best espresso powder is produced by a company that provides baking products of the highest quality.

The flavor is wonderful, even when you add just a teaspoon of it to, for example, a cup of hot chocolate. The powder mixes very easily. But, more importantly, it doesn’t assault your taste buds, meaning that unpleasant, excessive bitterness doesn’t ruin the experience.

To top it off, King Arthur Espresso Powder also offers an energy boost, along with adding greater flavor depth of course. Even non-coffee-drinkers have said some pretty amazing things about it!


  • Gives a good buzz.
  • Adds plenty of flavor.
  • Dissolves easily.
  • Not at all bitter.


  • Not a GMO-free product.

2. Medaglia D’Oro Instant Espresso Coffee

This is an Italian roast that gives off the perfect, most traditional espresso flavor. It’s specially prepared and double-roasted just for that! All you have to do is add boiling water and that’s it.

The bold flavors and fine consistency are the most memorable. So is the authentic Italian characteristic of the instant espresso coffee powder.

And, to be honest, you don’t have to be a coffee connoisseur or enthusiast to like the product. In fact, Megdalia D’Oro is also for those too lazy to make any brewing effort at all. This thing is utterly delicious, on its own and even with cakes and frosting.


  • Instant, palatable espresso alternative.
  • Nutty flavor and less acidic.
  • Smooth and fine consistency.


  • No crema.

3. Ferrara Instant Espresso Coffee

You’ll be nothing but glad to purchase Ferrara Instant Espresso Coffee – it tastes superb!

The size of the jar is only 2 ounces yet the instant espresso coffee lasts for a while because you just have to use a pinch of it for perking up your pot of coffee. You can even add it straight to hot water when in a hurry.

Ferrara Instant Espresso Coffee powder is used for smoothies and cooking (barbecue sauces, brownies, and more), aside from morning coffee. It infuses a rich flavor into everything – from coffee and frosting to chocolate milk, chai, and even cola.


  • Very aromatic and strong.
  • Not excessively dark or wimpy.
  • Can be easily added to cake and cookie batter.


  • 2-ounce jar size – that’s too little.
  • Very acidic.

4. Hoosier Hill Farm Pure Espresso Powder

When baking, you want to use only top-quality baking products, Hoosier Hill Farm knows that really well. That’s why they deliver some of the best baking ingredients for biscuits, cookies, cakes, and bread.

As for their espresso powder, it mixes very easily in just about anything. It’s the best-tasting cheap alternative that offers a smooth, bold taste.

You can even add it to tiramisu; just sprinkle some of it and it’ll be bursting with flavor. And the jar’s large enough for baking quite a few delicious desserts.


  • High-quality yet affordable powdered espresso.
  • Finely ground and well packaged.
  • Best for baking.


  • Originally made for baked goods only.

5. Civilized Coffee Espresso Coffee Powder

Here’s vegan, gluten-free, and kosher espresso coffee powder by Civilized Coffee. It’s finely ground so it can be easily used for baking and cooking to add a rich, smooth espresso flavor.

This is 100% Colombian coffee. That means a mild citrusy acidity paired with caramelly sweetness and nutty and fruity undertones. Combine it with chocolate and you’ll end up baking the most delicious dessert or preparing the most appetizing power shake, smoothie, or coffee beverage. It’s also the best for espresso-seasoned steaks!


  • Vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.
  • Fine powder, hence it dissolves quickly.
  • Not bitter and perfect for baking.


  • Poor packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Espresso Powder (FAQs)

Is Espresso Powder and Ground Coffee the Same?

Espresso powder is much like regular spices, like cinnamon powder for example. It’s made of brewed coffee, meaning coffee beans are ground, then brewed, then dried, and finally crushed to form a very fine powder that dissolves very easily.

On the other hand, ground coffee is different in that it has a grainy texture; there’s no brewing, dehydrating, or crushing done here. So if you want to use ground coffee, make sure the grind size is very, very fine.

Is Espresso Powder and Instant Espresso the Same?

The purpose and flavor of espresso powder and instant espresso are NOT the same. Espresso powder is brewed ground coffee that’s dried and crushed into a quickly-dissolvable powder. And this is specifically made for baking and cooking both savory and sweet dishes.

As for instant espresso, it offers a more bitter and stronger taste. Plus, it doesn’t dissolve as easily as espresso powder. Thus, it’s not the best choice for frostings, sauces, and the like.

Can You Skip Espresso Powder In A Recipe?

You can choose not to add espresso powder to a recipe that requires it. However, this changes the texture and flavor of the dish. Let’s assume you’re making something chocolatey, so if you skip espresso powder, your baked item’s chocolate flavor will not get enhanced nor does the treat acquire a mild coffee flavor undertone.

Is Coffee Extract the Same As Espresso Powder?

Both are concentrated yet cannot be used interchangeably. Coffee extract is basically steeped coffee beans (steeped in alcohol). Whereas espresso powder is made of dried, brewed espresso coffee. The latter takes the form of a very fine powder, quick to dissolve.

When compared to espresso powder, coffee extract, in most scenarios, is stronger. And that means a more pronounced and bitter taste.

Is Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee the Same?

Instant coffee is the best espresso powder alternative but it doesn’t give you the same flavor as espresso powder. Instant coffee is made for drinking while espresso powder is made for cooking and baking.

But when you don’t have the real thing i.e. espresso powder, then you have to use the next best thing, which is instant coffee. Just ensure that you’re adding 50% extra instant coffee in place of the required amount of espresso powder.

How Much Espresso Powder to Use?

Start off with only half to one teaspoon of espresso powder and then you can always adjust depending on the taste and your personal preferences. Keep the amount of espresso powder you add small if what you’re making is something that’s chocolatey. At such times, the coffee flavor will not heighten the flavors of all the other ingredients.

But if the recipe is coffee-based itself (for instance, coffee cake), then it’s completely fine to use some more espresso powder to bring out the more prominent coffee flavor.

Using Espresso Powder Is An Art!

Espresso powder is a very indispensable ingredient that is used for versatile dishes and purposes.

If you want it for espresso machine, don’t use the best espresso powder. But if you want to add it to a dressing or cake recipe, then using espresso powder is highly recommended since it’s clearly made for that.

Photo of author

Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

Leave a Comment