Move Over Folgers, These Specialty Instant Coffee Start-ups are on the Rise

Instant coffee often has a negative connotation. Some coffee enthusiasts even refuse to have Keurig cups.

It appears as though this is about to change with the help of innovative coffee start-ups.

Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, a specialty coffee brand based in Chicago, is making a difference in coffee producing communities abroad. Learn about Intelligentsia and the Vice President of Coffee Geoff Watts below.

Intelligentsia has now partnered with San Francisco-based Sudden Coffee to roll out a line of single-serve instant coffee packs.

This instant product features a brew is called Rayos Del Sol from Peru and is packaged in compostable tubes.

The cost of a four-pack is $13, which is a premium price for a home brewed coffee product, and is available online and at select coffee bars. Consumers have made it clear that they are willing to pay a premium for high-quality brews. But what about for at-home coffee products?

Well, evidently, there's a lot of potential in the high-quality instant coffee market. The Rayos Del Sol's initial order sold out online.

Sudden Coffee is on a mission to make more high-quality coffee more accessible.

“Great coffee is a simple luxury that can make someone’s day a whole lot better,” said Joshua Zloof, co-founder of Sudden Coffee. “We wanted to make it more accessible, so anyone could have a great coffee, without a machine, without needing to learn how to brew it, without the need to drive to a cafe.”

These companies are part of a bigger coffee movement known as the "Third Wave" coffee.

"It’s part of the new wave of Third Wave coffee, and behind it is a collection of entrepreneurs who have developed proprietary freeze-drying and dehydrating methods to produce premium (or specialty) instant coffee," writes "The Chicago Tribune." "The “Third Wave” of coffee summarizes the current trend toward specialty coffees produced by small-batch roasters with a focus on artisan techniques, sustainable methods, and closer relationships with growers and harvesters. Locally, this would include Intelligentsia, Metropolis, Dark Matter, Halfwit, Gaslight, Metric and others."

Wildly popular chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' are known as the "Second Wave." The "First Wave" brands like Folgers and Maxwell House introduced at-home coffee products, where coffee is mass produced and then vacuum sealed to keep its freshness.

Read more about the companies driving the specialty instant coffee sector at the "Chicago Tribune."