I made the transition from instant coffee to real coffee during my PhD. The difference is so dramatic, that they're essentially different drinks, and should be treated as such. I used to drink copious amounts of instant coffee, with milk and at least two teaspoons of sugar -- a PhD does strange things to a person!
These days I enjoy so much about coffee. Its preparation. The smell after beans are freshly ground and roasted. The aroma of a freshly poured, strong, black coffee.