Product Review: Kenco Millicano & How to Taste Coffee

I was recently asked to the launch party for Kenco Milllicano, the first wholebean instant coffee.    Yes, that is wholebean instant coffee.   Instant real coffee.  No coffee paraphernalia needed, apart from a kettle, mug and teaspoon.

Now I like my coffee, really like my coffee.  In fact some people would say that I am downright grumpy until I get my coffee in the morning.     Personally I consider myself to be sweetness and light at all times, but I will concede that I possibly am sweeter and lighter after my morning pot of coffee.

In my opinion coffee should be strong, black and from either a cafetiere or espresso maker.   None of this drip pot nonsense (always tastes burnt to me) and certainly not instant.

Well after trying the Kenco Millicano I possibly am converted to one particular instant.   In fact I was pretty impressed, that I am happy to drink it as my mid morning coffee.

I still get a hint of instant coffee on the nose, but it is accompanied by a heady rich deep “proper” roasted coffee aroma, with a little chocolate.   The coffee is thick and looks and feels and tastes like cafetiere coffee.    Balanced, indulgent and rich.    Great both black and with milk.

Here are some notes from Kenco on how to taste coffee.

‘How to …’ Nose & Taste Coffee

Five simple steps to nosing & tasting coffee


The colour and appearance of coffee will indicate its strength and roast.
Take a spoonful of coffee and have a look to see if the coffee is light/ dark / bright/ muddy/ clear/ appetising/ oily etc?
Coffee should be clear and bright. Only with the addition of milk will its true colour be revealed.


Our sense of taste is directly influenced by our sense of smell, so when tasting coffee always smell it first!
Cup your hand around your mug of coffee and inhale deeply. This will wake up your nose so you can fully distinguish the different flavours in the coffee.
What aroma notes do you detect?


When tasting coffee, it is very important to slurp it!
Slurping helps you to spray the coffee across your palate.
Take a spoonful of coffee and slurp it as violently and noisily as possible. This enables the subtle flavours to reach all the tasting areas of your tongue so that all 9,000 taste buds come into play.


A characteristic of great coffee is body (weight).
Note the body as it rests between your tongue and roof of your mouth.
Is it thick thin, heavy or light? The darker the roast the thicker the body will be.
The sensation is similar to the experience you would have if you compared full fat milk to skimmed milk in the mouth.


Swallow the coffee and enjoy!

Kenco Millicano is available from most supermarkets with a RRP of £3.99 per 100g tin, and £2.99 for the 85g refill pack.

All Kenco coffee is Rain Forest Alliance certified.

Thanks to Kenco for asking me to the launch

Visit the Fuss Free Flavours Giveaways Page for a chance to win some amazing prizes!


  1. Stewart says

    Thanks for this. I’ve tried the Starbucks instant “real coffee” as they sent me some in the mail and I wasn’t impressed at all. Hopefully this will be better, I’ll look out for it.

    • HELEN SMITH says

      I tried the Starbucks instant Christmas coffee – did not mix very and was very very strong

  2. Andy says

    Stunning coffee! Unfortunately my coffee intake has now doubled because it is hassle free to make. My cafetiere is now redundant and I’m on my 3rd refill pack. It’s about half the price of the Starbucks instant and has double the about servings.

  3. Stewart says

    Hi again. Finally got around to buying some this morning and just had my first cup, its very impressive for an instant. Like Andy said its much cheaper than starbucks which I didn’t like anyway. I bought it at a tesco express this morning at £4.15 for 100g. Hopefully I will be able to find a place that sells the refill packs.

    As I said in my first post on march 15 thanks for posting this as it really is good for an instant coffee. :)

  4. bob winmill says

    i have tried quite a lot of instant coffees – some are ok’ish and others not so. i saw the kenco millicano in a supermarket and thought i’d give it a go. i was pleasantly surprised. nice aroma, with a very good taste. yes! – i’m converted!

  5. Mich says

    Bought some on Saturday and will be using it to foist onto unfussy visitors.
    No aroma and insipid either black or white. I really wouldn’t bother. Shame as I really like all the other varieties that Kenco offer. I will stick with them thank you.

  6. karen burrows says

    Having seen all the hype about kencos latest coffee, Millicano I couldnt wait to try it. What a disappointment,the only thing good about this coffee is the novelty of it being in a tin…Bland is the only comment I can make about this coffee and having bought two tins because of the half price offer a Tescos I wish I had saved my money,I also asked my 21year old son to try some and he agreed with me.
    Whoever developed this coffee needs firing!!! YUK!! I much prefer Kencos costa rican and columbian range as both make you feel that you are drinking real coffee and not an imitation.

  7. mr james says

    after having tried both starbucks via and this new millicano, trust me – starbucks have nothing to worry about. I am an avid coffee drinker (not a particular starbucks fan either) but found millicano tasteless. I’ll stick to my senseo/ecopad combo

  8. jonty says

    Bought some of this yesterday as it was on offer at Asda, and was also taken in by the claims on the fancy packaging it comes in. I’ve had a few mugs of this now, and I must say I’m really surprised just by how poor it is. It certainly tastes nothing like fresh coffee and is a big let down. I’ll be sticking to my usual brand, carte noire, as this is the best brand on the market in my opinion. Also Kenco really rich (which I think has now been remanded?) is excellent.

  9. Stewart says

    Karen, thanks for the heads up on the half price offer at Tesco. Checking the supermarket comparison site I noticed its also half price at Sainsbury’s and Asda too.

  10. ant says

    I got this at Tesco as it was on sale – do not make the same mistake! This tastes just like any other instant coffee – and is incredibly weak and bland in comparison to any cafetiere made coffee.
    Starbucks Via in comparison is more expensive, but defintiely worth the extra money. Via is the only instant I have found that is anything like drinking a ‘real’ coffee.

  11. Helen says

    I am actually really surprised that people do not like it.

    It is not exactly like ground coffee, but tasted pretty good to me, and certainly better than any instant I have had before.

    Maybe I am making it stronger than others?

  12. Mal says

    I’ve just tried it and I have to say it tastes like bland instant coffee. I’m so disappointed that I’ve also written to Kenco to let them know. I’ll be sticking with Nescafe Espresso…now THAT really does taste like real coffee. I find that Starbucks Via tastes more real if you have it in a small cup but I find that this Kenco stuff is vile.

  13. des walker says


  14. Jimmy says

    I got some from Sainsbury’s yesterday expecting coffee-shop or coffee maker quality but it just tastes like your bog standard instant coffee. Although it’s half price at the moment I would NOT pay the full £3.99 for it. It’s WEAK and boring. I wish I came on here before I jizzed my money away on it

  15. Dave Clegg says

    To everyone who dislikes this product I must tell you my experience.
    On my fist cup I thought exactly the same it tasted weak and boring then I tried another a few hours later.
    This time I put a HEAPED tespoon of coffee in and STIRRED like crazy – OMG what a difference – It now tasted just like I was expecting it too – Absolutely Gorgeous and I havent looked back since.
    Infact i’m off to Morrisons in the morning to stock up on some more can’s while it’s still on offer :o)
    GIVE IT A REALLY GOOD STIR – Like you’ve never stirred before!!! It make all the difference.

  16. says

    I’ll be using this when working, to try and save some money on take-out coffee. There is a definite difference in the texture of this, much thicker than instant coffee. It also has the black dregs when I reach the bottom of the cup, that I see if drinking cafetiere coffee. I’ve stocked up on the half-price refill bags. Nicer than instant as it is, there is no way I would pay full price for this!

  17. Dale says

    I’ve got to agree with some of the posters here.

    Yes, it does taste like “takeaway coffee” if you go to Starbucks, which I also think is rubbish.

    It’s too weak – sorry – I don’t see why I should have to put 2 heaped teaspoons in to get the same effect I can get from Gold Blend or a MaccyDees coffee. Fortunately it was half price, so no loss.

    Once again, my apologies for making such a crap coffee after giving it so much hype.


  18. Nav says

    My wife bought this to try and she likes it as she does not like her coffee too strong. I was skeptical at first, but a good heaped full and mixing it thoroughly brings out the flavor which I can only describe as very smooth and velvety. Love it as it does not leave a bitter taste in your mouth afterwards. Will definitely stock up

  19. BEN says

    Just tried some, as I enjoy the Kenco Blue Smooth instant. The new Millicano has no umph and lacks in taste. I am going to stick to Kenco’s Blue Smooth instant, or filter coffee.

  20. Chris says

    Sorry but Millicano is a very weak, drab coffee with an unpleasant aftertaste. There are better tasting instants out there in my opinion and it’s not a patch on real ground coffee. It will be interesting to see how well it sells when all the launch offers disappear.

  21. Alene says

    What a huge disappointment. Having tried starbucks instant thought it would be more like that. Will be sticking to co-ops fairtrade coloumbian and it costs a lot less

  22. Anj says

    Yuck! is all I can say! After spending years drinking ‘real’ filter coffee (which I make in a cafetiere) I was excited when I heard about Millicano bought some and now wish I had saved my money. They should be done under the trades description act. It tastes nothing like fresh ground coffee. I too will save it for visitors. (or the inlaws!). The power of advertising eh. After reading some of the other posts I feel I must have bought a duff batch or something, I do not agree at all, it is foul!

  23. Dan P says

    There seem to be mixed opinions here and I can see why. Personally I really like it however I can see how people are getting confused by this. I just bought a refill pack (cheaper anyway) to try and wasn’t impressed however I thought ‘do I just put real coffee in a cafetiere pour in hot water and drink?’ no. If this has real coffee grounds in it makes sense to pour in the water, give it a minute and a stir (as others have done) to really pull the oils out of the coffee grounds. To me, and I’m no officionado but I do like my coffee, the difference is huge!
    What I will say is that Kenco seem to have missed a trick in saying ‘put in a teaspoon, pour in hot water and voila’ by trying to put too much emphasis on ‘instant’. It seems that even the best instant needs a little TLC to make it the best :-)

  24. Sally says

    As a coffee drinker only I am so so disappointed after the build up on the advertisement.Weak, tasteless and left me with the taste of dust in my mouth. Tried 2 cups and then threw the rest in the bin!!!! It was awful. Such a shame because I love Kenco and especially The Peruvian Blend.

  25. Simon says

    I always put 2 spoons of any instant that I use, and like others have tried an awful lot of different types.. my recent fave was dowe egberts espresso (only ever seen it in aldi), but really liking this millicano.. the spoon does need loading up a bit more than usual, but I don’t mind that to get a good flavour.

    not sure why people object to using 2 spoonfulls to get the flavour.. I tend to use more or less real coffee in the filter depending on which one it is :)

  26. The Pig says

    Its a really poor in my opinion.. its just normal Kenco instant with **** left in the bottom of the mug!

  27. Simon Gibbs says

    I dont get this at all, firstly just because you were invited to the launch you dont have to like the product, secondly since when should coffee be clear and bright and only when milk is added etc……. What rubbish!
    I also dont understand why Kenco have even produced this, its just another instant coffee. They have been telling us forever that Kenco instant coffee is as close to fresh roast and ground coffee as you can get so why produce this stuff, it looks, smells and tastes like instant.
    Its bad, its cheap but its not a patch on Starbucks version.
    Sorry but don’t bother.

    • Helen says

      Thanks for the comment. I do like the product, you don’t, that is fine, we all have different tastebuds.

      And I think that one can describe coffee as being clear and bright etc. Coffee is as complex as wine, and it does need descriptive words that can seem over the top or pretentious to those who do not taste lots of products, or understand the nuances? Adding milk changes the flavour profile and brings out different tastes that are not always as apparent in the black coffee, so yes, it is part of the tasting process.

  28. Lesley Truchet says

    Yuk. Tesco 47p cheapo coffee tastes better.

    Come on Kenco, who are you kidding? Your standards are dropping and your prices are rising at a similar rate.

  29. The Prof says

    I’ve been using this coffee as my ‘backup’ for a few months now.

    I’m a self-confessed coffee geek, and I really can’t stand instant coffee. I’ve always been happy to spend time and effort making ‘real’ coffee, as I think it’s something that should be enjoyed.

    Millicano, however, has changed this a bit. Now, when my beans haven’t quite finished roasting, or I can’t really be bothered to clean out the grinder, I can resort to a cup of Millicano.

    It’s not anywhere near as good as a freshly roasted blend of your own beans, ground there and then to your own specification, then brewed to perfection in your machine of choice. But who expects that?

    I now have an instant coffee I can use when I don’t have the time to do any of that other stuff, and I can still enjoy it. That’s the main thing!

    I find that Millicano lacks a bit of oomph in the mid-tones, and adding more coffee to your cup certainly only accentuates what it lacks, but otherwise it’s very good for an instant, and I really can’t understand anybody who would prefer your standard freeze-dried blends over this one.

    One has to appreciate what Kenco has gone through to preserve so much of the ‘fresh coffee’ flavour in an instant, and sacrifice so little, as the more traditional freeze-dried processes do.

  30. Kate says

    I am quite fussy when it comes to coffee, and do not drink any instant, gave it up years ago and have never looke back. Until now.

    This is a great alternative to proper coffee, with a good flavour and hardly any of that nasty instant flavour. I now alternate real coffee with millicano, I’m a real convert.

    Downsides are; yes, you need to make it a bit stronger than it suggests, I find a teaspoon and a half does the job for a decent sized mug. Also, it’s not fairtrade, and I am trying ( unsuccessfully) to live a more ethical life…

    Other than that, I agree completely with the review.

  31. Brian says

    For times when you’re in a hurry, this does the job. Lately the smell of nescafe or maxwell house makes my stomach churn, but this is almost pass-able as proper coffee, way way better than other instant coffee.

    Well done Kenko

  32. Ray says

    the best coffee is lyons coffee bags if you like black coffee, as for white coffee it has to be kenco millicano wholebean instant. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.

  33. Vicky says

    This is the best coffee I have ever tasted. I think it’s quite creamy in texture and I drink it black. It’s also quite heavy and you can really feel the coffee as well as taste it. My mum found some a couple of years ago. Neither of us really liked instant coffee that much and even though it was expensive we thought we’d try it. We’ve never gone back since. I have a cup of a morning and usually a few more during the day. Sometimes I’ll drink it at night as well, and I never have trouble sleeping. In fact, it relaxes me more than anything.

  34. Chris says

    Tried a free sample and was totally underwhelmed. No real coffee taste – just weak brown water.

    I will stick with Granarom Gold Decaff from Lidl, No extravagant claims but at least it tastes like real coffee.

  35. Grahame Inman says

    The only hot drink I consume is instant coffee and have done so for over 30 years so I can say without any shadow of doubt that Kenco Millicano is probably the worst instant coffee I have ever tasted in my life. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, friend or enemy. I am also very cost conscious and never ever throw anything away that is usable but Kenco Millicano will be the one exception, and as I bought 3 cans when it was on offer I think that is a terrble waste, but throwing it in the bin seems to be the better option than having to suffer drinking it.

  36. SteveDavies01 says

    Have you tried it since it was reformulated? Tastes like any other standard grade instant. They’re saying it’s a new eco-friendly manufacturing process. You may think this is corporate BS, I know I do.

  37. ANN FARROW says

    Interesting.have you tried Millicano in the last three months?I think you will find it has been totally changed and is more like ordinary Kenco,Have a look on The Grocer web site for comments.I have stopped buying it as it is not Millicano as we knew it.


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