Recipe Review

I Tried TikTok’s Instant Coffee Freeze Pops and They’re the Best Thing Since Iced Coffee

published Aug 12, 2022
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Credit: Justine Lee

To be truly happy and ready to conquer the day, all I need is a crisp glass (or three) of iced coffee. Or at least that’s what I thought — until I saw user @eunchaejabchae‘s hack for making frozen ice pops using packets of instant coffee mix on TikTok.

Sure, black coffee is my preferred cup of Joe, but tucked inside my cabinet is a bulk-size box of Maxim coffee mix. In most Korean households, Maxim rules. The appeal is that you simply pour a packet in a cup of hot water to obtain a single serving of creamy coffee. Such a wonderful elixir is made possible by the mix of instant coffee granules, powdered milk, and sugar. These three ingredients, I remembered, are usual suspects in frozen coffee desserts. After a major “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment, I knew I had to try Eunchae’s hack for myself.

How to Make Instant Coffee Freeze Pops

All you need to make Instant Coffee Freeze Pops are a few instant coffee mix sticks (Eunchae and I use Maxim, but any brand or type — Korean or otherwise — is fair game), hot water, a liquid measuring cup, and a plastic cup.

Cut the tops off each stick at the dotted line or “tear here” mark and dump the powdered mix into the measuring cup. Following a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of coffee powder to water in grams, add in the hot water and stir until well-combined. At this point, you have a cup of coffee!

Let the coffee cool down slightly, then pour it back into its packaging. Keep the sticks upright in a plastic cup and place in the freezer for about three hours. That’s it!

Credit: Justine Lee

My Honest Review of Instant Coffee Freeze Pops

Making these freeze pops was as easy as making instant coffee. The texture sits between icy and melt-in-your-mouth creamy. I feared it would be too sweet, but that wasn’t the case whatsoever. As a diasporic Korean, the treat reminded me of the classic American ice pops I ate during school field days and the Korean coffee-spiked ice bars I ate on summer break, providing nostalgia twofold. The freeze pops were excellent to eat in the morning in lieu of my morning coffee (or to supplement my first cup). But definitely, absolutely, most of all, I like to reach for one whenever the 3 p.m. slump starts to creep in.

Credit: Justine Lee

If You’re Going to Make a Instant Coffee Freeze Pops, a Few Tips

  • Don’t throw away the empty sachets! It could be easy to toss them into the garbage after you decant the coffee powder, but make sure to hold onto the empty sachets — these are essentially your ice pop molds!
  • Use the 1:1 ratio with caution. Eunchae calls for a 1:1 ratio of coffee mix and hot water. Be advised: This tastes uber concentrated, almost bitter even. What’s more, it yields fewer freeze pops than the number of coffee sticks you began with. After more testing, I think a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 is best.
  • Pour the liquid back in carefully. If you add the coffee concentrate back into the tube quickly or up to the tippity-top all at once, the likelihood of spillage is high. Instead, fill each tube until the “tear here” line. Then, if there’s some coffee left over, top off each tube once they’re nestled inside the cup. And whatever you do, do not squeeze the filled tubes. That’s another coffee flood waiting to happen.
  • Think beyond instant coffee. What’s in your pantry? Crystal Light Pink Lemonade tastes as bold and zippy as Italian ice and looks so darling. Powdered Gatorade is electrolytes, only in ice lolly form. Maybe iced tea or Sunkist Orange or Grape Soda are more your speed. Whatever you use, ice pops definitely work with any mini packets of other instant drink mix. Stick with the same 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, but make things easier on yourself with cold or room-temperature water.