Mount Hagen Instant Organic-Café

Posted on December 3, 2008 by Allie

Years ago, I had a job at an office where we weren’t allowed to use the coffee pot to make coffee.  You see, using the coffee pot for it’s intended purpose gets it dirty.  Instead, we were supposed to use the coffee pot to make hot water, then use the hot water to make instant coffee.  And since the damn (not)coffee pot didn’t get the water quite hot enough, we were then supposed to put the instant coffee in the microwave to get it to the ideal temperature.  I really really really wish I were making this up.

And I really really really wish I’d known about Mount Hagen Instant Organic-Café back then. 

Regular instant coffee has a bad rap for a reason.  It sucks.  It’s either like drinking brown hot water, or it’s like drinking bitter brown hot water with a nasty aftertaste.

Mount Hagen Instant Organic-Café, on the other hand, makes an excellent cup of coffee.  It’s rich, dark, and isn’t thin and watery like conventional instant coffee.  I bought some fresh ground fancy organic coffee from the natural food store a few weeks ago that didn’t even compare to Mount Hagen.  Crazy, huh?

InterNatural Foods sent me some to try over the summer, and I’ve actually bought it several times over since I used up that first round.  We made it in our JetBoil when we were camping in Washington State, saved money, cut down on waste, and drank fantastic coffee every morning.

It also makes quick and easy iced coffee in the summer, and is a great addition to recipes.

I’m not sure the environmental benefits of instant coffee are clear.  Sure, you don’t need a filter, but when you make ground coffee, you can use a reusable filter to cut down on waste.  Mount Hagen coffee is packed in Germany, but it’s not like anyone is growing coffee in upstate New York.  There aren’t local options for beans here (although there are local roasters, and I do like to support them whenever possible).  But since it’s freeze dried, the shipping weight is probably far less than that of a bag of beans.  But there’s also energy that goes into processing the coffee to turn it into instant granules.  I’m guessing it’s something of a toss up.

But in addition to being excellent, Mount Hagen Instant Organic-Café does have one added advantage over ground coffee:  Your coffee pot stays clean.

I just found out that they make an organic instant cappuccino, and I have to see if my local natural foods store carries it.  I’m dying to try it.


  1. Huh. Had no idea anyone made organic instant–sure would come in handy some afternoons around here. (Re: Your previous post–I love pine trees to a ridiculous degree also.)

    December 3rd, 2008 at 8:51 pm
    Comment by Amy
  2. I’ve had the hardest time finding fair trade instant coffee!

    Instead, I have a french press (to use less electricity/plastic) and a grinder for whole bean coffee. Sigh.

    December 3rd, 2008 at 10:24 pm
    Comment by ashley
  3. What’s the packaging like? Plastic? I buy my coffee in bulk from Whole Foods or Peaberry’s here. Fair Trade organic. Grind it into my own paper bag that I reuse for this purpose over and over and then transfer to a metal tin when I get home.

    I’m guessing the instant, while more convenient, probably has a lot more packaging involved.

    December 3rd, 2008 at 11:28 pm
    Comment by Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish
  4. Hi Beth – the jar is glass, but the lid is plastic. Certainly more waste than your method, but not as bad as some of the all plastic jars that other coffee comes in. I’ve saved the jars and plan to use them as containers for the spiced nuts I make around the holidays.

    Ashley – I totally don’t have the French press thing down. I know it should be simple, but I end up boiling the water too long, or forgetting about the coffee until it’s way too dark. Any tricks?

    Amy – It really is convenient, and so good. I usually make coffee in the coffee maker, but it’s perfect for that extra afternoon cup. Also, glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s infatuated with pine trees.

    December 4th, 2008 at 12:44 am
    Comment by Allie
  5. Interesting, I’ve never had instant coffee in anything but baked goods. I do prefer instant cappuccino to regular (aside from the fact that I can’t make real cappuccino at home anyway) so that would be cool.

    December 4th, 2008 at 1:21 pm
    Comment by N.
  6. I’m gonna go have some coffee now.

    This sounds like a great thing for backpacking. I never do coffee in the woods because I don’t want to bother with cleaning my reusable filter, which doesn’t make very good coffee anyway.

    December 4th, 2008 at 4:58 pm
    Comment by mickey
  7. I may have to try this at my own office. I’m the only one who uses the coffee pot here which means I’m the only one who cleans it, and I’m usually too lazy to do that :) I think (think) I saw this at our local Earthfares store, which is the closest thing we have to Whole Foods.

    December 4th, 2008 at 5:31 pm
    Comment by The Modern Gal
  8. Organic instant coffee WOULD be delicious with those flourless chocolate cupcakes. In fact, I may need to make those for the holiday season.

    December 5th, 2008 at 1:42 pm
    Comment by nancypearlwannabe
  9. [...] Mount Hagen Instant Organic Café – This coffee is a camper/backpacker/traveler’s dream.  Super easy to make and just as good as brewed coffee. [...]

    January 7th, 2009 at 5:43 pm
    Pingback by Favorite Products of 2008 - Food
  10. I’ve been looking everywhere for a Fair Trade instant coffee that I can order, but it seems that all of the companies that might have them are either in the UK or Australia and don’t ship here. I’m hoping to use this in my paintings, to support that effort while producing art, but it looks like this coffee is my best bet though I can’t see anywhere that it is a Fair Trade coffee. Does anyone know of any that I can get in the US? And I have tried ground bean coffee and it just doesn’t work…

    February 19th, 2009 at 8:27 pm
    Comment by CoffeeManArt
  11. I have been drinking Mount Hagen for around seven years. I do love it, and I keep it around in the decaffeinated version because I am not supposed to have coffee. I have even tricked die-hard coffee fans into trying it who have absolutely loved it (and then told them). I love polls. Haha. Cruel, i know, messing with coffee.
    I have a teapot that I use for our teas and I have hot water at the ready all the time. The glass jars it is packed in have a nice and rare shape and there is no paper or plastic on the lid at all, its just a deep green. It’s perfect for packing things in, easy to use, and just the smell when you tear off the seal is enough for me, sometimes, it is so pleasant.

    December 14th, 2009 at 11:17 am
    Comment by HT
  12. I’m not sure Mount Hagen IS fair trade. It’s not indicated on their labeling and I cannot find it anywhere on-line. Does anyone know for certain if it is fair trade? I hope so because I really like this coffee. Such a small container with 60 servings, and complete elimination of plastic interaction (no french press plastic, no drip coffee-pot plastic, no packaging plastic because the coffee is isolated from the plastic lid by a foil seal). And yes, while there is packaging waste related to the product, the jar could be reused for things if you would rather not put it into a recycling bin. All good things to say about Mount Hagen Instant Coffee but they don’t mean a thing to me if the product is not fair trade. While I have organic standards, and most fair trade agreements include organic regulations, I will not support exploitation of coffee farmers and unfortunately, Mount Hagen Instant Coffee does not appear to be fair trade.

    February 28th, 2010 at 5:01 pm
    Comment by Jackie
  13. FWIW, according to the distributor (Internatural Foods), “While Mount Hagen purchases fairly traded coffee beans, they are not certified as fair trade because the cost of certification would increase the retail price of the product significantly.”

    January 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am
    Comment by courtney
  14. I’m so happy I found Mount Hagen instant coffee. Funny thing about instant is that I would never have had even tried it unless forced to which I was back in the nineties when spending some time overseas in Tasmania. The Australiens I met rarely did filter or brew coffee in any way. Instant was the choice for most of them (except for Duncan’s excellent french pressed from organic beans…).
    I’ve found this instant coffee a long time later back home which is in Germany. Since I buy it (sometimes just being to lazy or not having the time to brew some) it has always been fairtrade labelled which got me to give it a try in the first place. It also has that european eco label on it that really doesn’t mean that much cause the standards for it are pretty low. But it definitely is FAIRTRADE. While trying to find bigger jars of this coffee I found that those on the non-german websites are not fairtade labelled so maybe there are problems because of different international regulations? As far as I could find out there’s just this fairtrade version of the instant coffee (there are other coffee products of MH that are not fairtrade labbelled). For more information see here:—products/articles/instant-coffee.html
    And yes, it would so have been my backpacker’s dream had I known about it earlier :)
    BTW: really nice website

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:32 am
    Comment by Daniela
  15. I have been a fanatic of their organic instant cappuccino since many years…..The problem: it is not available in the States, so I have a friend from Frankfurt shipping it over to me all the time, which is so “dependent”!!! I would love to have enough people requesting it so to have it imported here in the USA. (Amazon used to have it, not enylonger since years). I assure you, it is delightful, not sweet, light, delicious.

    July 21st, 2011 at 2:35 pm
    Comment by miranda perelman

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