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While you spent your weekend searching for the perfect French press to display conspicuously on your countertop, folks everywhere from Australia to China reached for the instant coffee, instead. That's right: The Washington Post reports that half the world now prefers an instant cup of Joe over the brewed stuff.
Even though we Americans are still partial to our drip coffee, the powdered version is more popular in Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe. Before you start gasping "quelle horreur!" while clutching a bag of beans, note that an analyst at Euromonitor explains, "The markets where instant coffee is most popular tend to be the ones without a strong tradition of coffee drinking." Amateurs.
It should be no surprise, then, that instant coffee sales in America have barely budged since 2008 despite pushes from Nestlé, and Starbucks' Via line, introduced in 2009. The strong presence of independent, local, fair-trade coffee chains could be to blame, or it could just be a bit of brew snobbery.
We've pulled together a selection of our favorite instant brews for those moments when the caffeine just has to get in you quicker. Who knows, maybe you'll learn to prefer it?
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