9 Best Substitutes for Espresso Powder

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Substitutes for Espresso Powder



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When you run out of espresso powder, there’s always the question of whether you should find a way to substitute it or go for repurchase.

Espresso powder is a beautiful ingredient. And because it has a unique taste and aroma, it often finds its way into the most delicious desserts and baked goods. But how would you rustle up some replacements when you’re out of stock?

So long as you’re still in love with the coffee flavors in your desserts and pastries, there are plenty substitutes for espresso powder that will still give you that flavor.

Some of the best alternatives to espresso powder include natural cocoa powder, brewed espresso, instant coffee, dutch-processed cocoa powder, brewed coffee, postum, chicory coffee, Chaga mushroom powder, and matcha powder

What Is Espresso Powder?

Sure, the name sounds exciting and mysterious. But if you’re familiar with coffee beans, there isn’t much to explain. Espresso Powder is a product made from the leftovers of the coffee extraction process.

The fresh coffee beans are soaked in water until they are soft. The soft beans are then pressed to remove the liquid, and what remains after this process is called espresso powder.

This powder is then used as a special ingredient in food products. There are a lot of things you can do with Espresso Powder. Some of which are:  such as adding it to your

  • Adding it to your chocolatey and other baked goods
  • Amp up chocolate sauces and frostings
  • Sprinkle it on ice cream
  • Stir it into chili
  • Make a rub for meat and many more

Best Substitutes for Espresso Powder

1. Natural Cocoa Powder

And when it comes to natural cocoa powder and espresso powder, there are some similarities—and differences—that can help answer that question as to whether you can make a swap.

But they can be used in similar recipes and will taste similar. Thousands of coffee lovers use both interchangeably as a flavor enhancer in baking.

So you’re safe to use natural cocoa powder as a substitute for espresso powder in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Brewed Espresso

Unlike Dutch-processed cocoa powder, brewing espresso is 10X more preferable. This reason is that espresso powder is made by brewing and freezing it before it dries out. Then, the dried espresso is ground into a fine powder.

 So, of course, brewed espresso also comes from the same process as espresso powder. The only difference is that brewed espresso is consumed in its liquid form.

Note: if you’re using this alternative, decrease the amount of liquid used since the brewed espresso is in liquid form.

3. Instant Coffee

Instant coffee and espresso powder are made with the same ingredient: coffee beans. The only difference is that instant coffee is the brewed, dehydrated version of coffee, while espresso powder is just the concentrated extract of the bean.

So it means a lot of sense to use it as a substitute for espresso powder. The sad part is that it has a more bitter taste than espresso powder due to its less sugar and less fat content.

The reason sweet baked goods are so popular with espresso powder is that the sugar and fat balance out the bitterness of the coffee flavor.

If you use instant coffee instead of espresso powder in those recipes, they will taste noticeably bitter.

So keep that in mind.

For substitute, do a 1:2 ratio.

4. Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder

You can use Dutch-processed cocoa powder instead of espresso powder, but you will be sacrificing flavor and texture.

The first difference is that Dutch processed cocoa powder is NOT made from coffee beans—it’s made from cacao beans. The two products are used for different purposes and have other flavor profiles.

Cocoa powder is used to make chocolate baked goods, while espresso powder is used to make baked goods with a strong coffee flavor (like tiramisu).

However, most people still use them in a 1:1 ratio interchangeably in recipes.

5. Brewed Coffee

If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ve probably wondered whether you can use brewed coffee to substitute espresso powder since they are made from coffee beans.

Well, there’s more to it than how they are prepared.

Espresso powder appears to be more concentrated than regular coffee, emphasizing coffee-flavored notes in brownies or cookies.

So if you’re using Brewed coffee, ensure you’re using a stronger type of coffee.

6. Postum

You can use postum in place of espresso powder, but the flavor won’t be precisely the same.

Articles say that it tastes similar, but I don’t think it tastes good. Still, if that was all there was to drink on the trail, I would probably drink it because at least it doesn’t have any caffeine in it.

Furthermore, you can swap in a 1:1 ratio in desserts and beverages. It’s also perfect for a tasty shake, latte, or frappe.

7. Chicory Coffee

Coffee lovers often use chicory coffee powder as a substitute for espresso powder. The reason is that chicory coffee is caffeine-free, but it has a similar taste to coffee.

Both chicory coffee and espresso powder are made from the plants’ roasted, grounded, and brewed versions, but chicory coffee comes from chicory root and espresso powder from espresso beans.

However, unlike espresso powder, chicory coffee is not a concentrated form of coffee. In addition, since it’s caffeine-free and has a slightly nutty flavor, you will enjoy it as a substitute.

8. Chaga Mushroom Powder

The main difference between Chaga mushroom powder and espresso powder is that Chaga is a mushroom, and espresso is a coffee bean.

So right off the bat, you’re talking about two different species, which means they will have different chemical compositions.

But if you’re looking to add a deep, earthy flavor to your food with a hint of umami, then Chaga is probably your best bet.

Aside from that, Chaga powder has more health benefits than espresso powder.

9. Matcha Powder

Matcha powder is perfectly suitable for many recipes that require espresso powder. Both can be used in the same way, but the taste is somewhat different.

Matcha powder is an essential part of the Japanese tea ceremony, while espresso powder is commonly utilized in coffee shops to make espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos.

Furthermore, you can use matcha powder in many cocktails, iced drinks, baked goods, smoothies, savory dishes, and desserts.

Just ensure to do a 1:1 ratio swap.

Matcha powder has less caffeine than coffee, but it is ridiculously high in antioxidants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Espresso Powder Just Ground Coffee?

Espresso powder is NOT just ground coffee. It’s made from finely ground dark roast coffee beans. It’s more concentrated than your average, everyday coffee. Espresso powder is most commonly used in desserts and baked goods, but it can also be used as a dry meat rub (and if you’ve never tried that, you’re missing out).

Now that you know the difference, the next time you see a chocolate espresso cake or espresso brownies recipe, you’ll know exactly what to do!

Can Ground Coffee Replace Espresso Powder?

Absolutely! You can use ground coffee to replace espresso powder. So you don’t have to run out to the store to buy what might not be on the shelf right now. But you must increase the amount of ground coffee in your recipe because espresso powder has a more robust flavor than regular ground coffee.

Is Espresso Powder and Ground Coffee Beans the Same?

Not they are not! It is not even made from coffee beans! It’s a mix of roasted grains, barley, and chicory that has been finely ground and dehydrated. The fine grind means that it dissolves easily in liquid, and the dehydration makes it more concentrated.

Therefore, if you use espresso powder instead of ground coffee beans to make your morning cup of Joe, you’ll probably find that it’s too bitter to drink!

Is Nescafe The Same As Espresso Powder?

Espresso powder is far from Nescafe. Nescafe is a powdered coffee made from Robusta and Arabica coffee beans. It’s called “soluble” because the coffee beans are brewed in hot water, then dried into crystals—, which can be turned back into coffee by just adding hot water!

Nescafe has been around since 1938, so you can find more than 5,000 products under the Nescafe name. These products come in many different forms, like instant granules and 3-in-1 powder packets for your coffee shop needs.

Can I Use Instant Coffee Instead Of Espresso Powder In Baking?

Of course, you can use instant coffee instead of espresso powder for baking—but it won’t be the same. If you don’t have espresso powder on hand but still want to bake with a similar flavor, instant coffee is an acceptable substitute.

It’s important to remember that instant coffee has a weaker flavor than espresso powder, so you will have to use more of it as a substitute to get a similar effect. For instance, if your recipe calls for one tablespoon of espresso powder, use one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of instant coffee instead.


No doubt there are many things you can do with Espresso Powder, which you’ll barely achieve with some of these substitutes. However, there are two main reasons people use espresso powder substitute.

First is the price. Expresso costs more than it should and delivers less than consumers want. On the other hand, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is not suitable for your stomach to drink too much espresso powder.

A tea bag, or any other alternative, can be too expensive but is not as harmful. Above, some alternatives are pocket-friendly and preferable for baking a bar of rich coffee-flavored chocolate.


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