Review: Carrefour Instant Coffee – Strong, Bitter and Like Treacle

I grew up in England where instant coffee is king. So, more than 20 years later, I barely touch the drip stuff as a good cup of instant coffee will hit the spot at any time, and I will pretty much drink anything. That is unless that instant coffee is Carrefour’s own house brand of instant coffee and nothing in the world could ever persuade me to drink a cup of that bitter sludge again.

I live in Bangkok, Thailand where Carrefour supermarkets are all over the place. Carrefour has actually sold the company though and is moving out of the country, so I figured now was a good time to try their coffee products as, if they were good, I’d stock up on a few bags before Carrefour leaves town.

Carrefour’s strategy in the last couple of years has been to stock their own house brand of many different products, which always undercut the cheapest brand product on their shelves by at least 10 baht (30 cents). I have tried various Carrefour brand products and been happy with all of them, that is until I made the mistake of actually putting Carrefour instant coffee in my mouth. Yuk.

I grabbed a 200 gramme bag of Carrefour’s powdered instant coffee last week as my regular brand was out of stock so now was a good time to try it. Figuring it couldn’t be that bad, as soon as I was out of my normal instant coffee, I fired up the kettle and readied myself for a nice, soothing cup of rich instant coffee – courtesy of Carrefour.

All I can say is, I’ve never taken a sip of coffee that strong, bitter, and quite frankly tasting like a mix between oil and treacle, in my life.

Just spooning it out of the packet I could already tell it wasn’t like my regular coffee brand. Where my regular coffee is a warm brown color and quite granular, Carrefour instant coffee is much darker in color and more powdery. It also doesn’t have that rich coffee smell a good instant coffee has.

But, I spooned it into my cup and added boiling hot water, noticing it immediately looked dark and a bit scary looking. I stirred in a teaspoon of evaporated milk (that’s the Thai way to make coffee) and topped it up with a generous amount of non-fat milk. A quick whisk with a fork later, and I was ready to drink. Pity nobody had a camera as, with that one small sip, my face must have been a picture. And not a pretty one.

Oil, mud, smoke and a nasty aftertaste of treacle hit my mouth. I don’t know about you, but drinking oil, mud or smoke would never be my choice. Treacle, yes, I love it. But even that taste couldn’t help this nasty brew.

So, I added another spoon of evaporated milk and enough hot milk to turn the foul drink into a latte, shoved it in the microwave and nooked it. Better? Nope. No amount of sugar or milk could save it. Carrefour’s instant coffee really is that disgusting.

I ummed and ahhhed for a bit, then chucked the whole 200 gramme packet in the garbage. After all, Carrefour’s instant coffee might be ‘cheap’ but I wouldn’t drink it if it was 10 cents a bag. It really is that foul.