Solved! What You Can Do If Your Instant Coffee And Powdered Juice Hardens

Avoid wasting your powdered drinks.

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Powdered drinks are made to be convenient. Whether it's instant coffee, powdered chocolate drinks, powdered milk, or powdered juice, these mixes all easily dissolve in water so you can enjoy a delicious drink without much effort. 

However, there is a price to storing these incorrectly: these powdered drink mixes can turn hard. 

Why does this happen? You have to take a look at the ingredients. One of the main ingredients in many powdered drink mixes is sugar. Sugar is a hygroscopic ingredient, which just means that it absorbs moisture from the air. That's why brown sugar, in particular, feels and looks moist and is treated like a wet ingredient in baking rather than a dry ingredient. 

Just like sugar, instant coffee powder has the same properties. It absorbs moisture so it's best when it's not exposed to a moist environment. That's why a tight-fitting lid on instant coffee containers and packages are ideal. 

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Use air-tight containers like this one when storing your instant coffee, powdered milk, and other drink mixes.
Photo by Ikea
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All of the powdered drinks can turn into a solid mass soon after being opened. You may be wondering how it doesn't turn solid while still in the package and that's because it's commonly in an air-tight container or is filled with dry air (usually nitrogen) to prevent clumping while in the package and in storage. When you break the seal, it's exposed to the air and moisture all around it.  

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So, when you find that your instant coffee, powdered juice, or other powdered drink has turned into a big, hard clump, there are two things you can do: 

  1. 1 Throw it out. 
  2. 2 Add water. 

Throwing it out is best for those concerned with the way it will taste. While moisture is one of the big reasons why your powdered drink turned solid, it can also be time. No matter how secure the container is, moisture and the air, in general, are still affecting it once the sanitized package has been opened. The air could also be carrying microscopic organisms that are awakened when the powder got moist and turned into a solid, so mold is a possibility if left out too long.  

You may not want to throw it out, so if you want to salvage it, add water, whether hot or cold to the container. Then, let the powder dissolve by either mixing, shaking, or just leaving it to soften in the liquid. The result is you'll have a concentrated drink that you can dilute with more water. Just remember to store this in the refrigerator until fully consumed. 

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You can also try to avoid all this, and store your powdered drinks properly. What can you do to prevent your instant coffee powder and powdered juice from turning solid? Rely on the same techniques you use when storing powdered milk: 

With these tips in mind, your powdered drinks should stay loose until you're ready to spoon the last teaspoon or two into your cup. 

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