I’d describe myself as a minor-league coffee snob — a daily drinker but not an obsessive. I’m not overly particular about the origin of my beans, but I always grind them fresh. I don’t invest in expensive coffee gadgets or carefully monitor water temperature, but I do make pour-overs in the morning with a simple plastic funnel and paper filter.

So I was slightly skeptical when, at a dinner last year at the restaurant Great China in Berkeley, California, my Uncle Ralph very excitedly recommended G7, a brand of instant coffee from the Vietnamese company Trung Nguyen. In what way, I thought, could an instant coffee experience ever match a fresh one? But I immediately found a box of the Pure Black variety of the coffee, fine dark-brown powder contained in little plastic sachets, and tried it.

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