A few months back, we taste-tested the Starbucks Pumpkin Latte against the Via Ready Brew counterpart and were surprised to discover tasters preferred the Via instant coffee over the store-made latte. When Starbucks sent us its latest instant offering, Via Peppermint Mocha ($8 for six cups), we knew what we had to do: a taste-off! Between the Starbucks Peppermint Mocha, which combines espresso, milk, bittersweet chocolate, and peppermint flavor, and the Via package, find out which one our taste-testers preferred.
The signs of Fall are certainly approaching as Starbucks has reintroduced its seasonal Pumpkin Spice lattes. The crowds are flocking for a taste of this sweet, pumpkin-pie-like beverage, but the demand is high, the price is steep, and the lines are long. To bring the Fall flavors home (and at a more reasonable price), Starbucks Via Ready Brew has introduced a Pumpkin Spice instant coffee ($8 for six cups), and it only seemed natural that we would taste the two side by side to compare the flavors. Which one reigns supreme? The results may satisfy you or they may take you by complete surprise . . .
Although Starbucks's instant coffee line, VIA, has been sold nationwide for over a year now, the coffee conglomerate wants more consumers to taste it. So much so that it's launched a new promotion, Taste Promise, encouraging coffee drinkers to try VIA.
If you don't like it, Starbucks will send you a free 12-ounce bag of ground coffee. To participate in the campaign, which started today and runs until August, Starbucks drinkers must mail in a proof of purchase of the VIA along with a downloadable form. In four to six weeks, a bag of free coffee will arrive at your doorstep.
Do you drink VIA? Are you interested in the Taste Promise?
Starbucks isn't just hoping to wow customers with flavored coffee; it's also going after that longtime Summer favorite, iced coffee. Beginning June 29, the coffee giant will sell VIA Iced Coffee, a spinoff of the instant coffee it has been pushing heavily over the past year. I got an exclusive preview of the drink while in Seattle for Starbucks Coffee College. To learn what I thought of it, read more.
The best thing VIA has going for it is its size — it's small. Normally when I pack for camping I bring the works: coffee beans, portable grinder, and a french press. I was so happy to have more space in my pack and I definitely noticed a lighter load on my back. Score one for VIA! Was it as good as the Blue Bottle coffee I normally bring with me? Uh, no. Not even close, but I didn't expect it to be.
I think the point of VIA is convenience — you can have a OK cup of coffee anywhere and it'll be easy. It's definitely the best instant coffee I've ever tried and it even tasted better than some drip coffee I've had. Although the Colombian blend I tried was a bit bitter at the end, it had a nice, mellow flavor too. For a touch of sweetness, I added another camping shortcut to the mix —shelf stable Horizon organic vanilla milk. My companion, who is no coffee snob, said it was the best cup of coffee he's ever had while camping.
Though I won't be using VIA at home, I think it's a good choice for backpacking, camping, or for traveling anywhere you need coffee quickly. From now on, I'll be bringing it with me on all of my climbing trips.
If you're a frequent or occasional instant coffee drinker, look out for a new kind of brew coming to a store near you. On Sept. 29, Starbucks will be rolling out its much-discussed instant coffee, VIA, in stores across the US and Canada.
When VIA Ready Brew was first introduced back in March, the insta-packets were only available in limited markets: Seattle, Chicago, London, and online. “Consumers have quickly adopted our instant coffee as their coffee while on the go,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a statement. “We were overwhelmed and humbled by the positive response from our customers and partners after tasting Starbucks VIA."
Unsurprisingly, Starbucks is not only marketing VIA as coffee on-the-go, but also as a creative element in the kitchen, playing a part in recipes from coffee sodas to cupcakes. Starbucks fans, do tell: Will you try out VIA once it hits your side of town?
When I reached for the coffee this morning, I realized that there were none left! Since I was barely awake, I opted for the second best thing: instant coffee. Although I don't normally drink soluble coffee, it works in a pinch — and it's better than nothing. Still, I'm not ready to make instant my default cup of joe. What about you?
When Starbucks announced it would be launching VIA, an instant coffee product, the food world collectively gasped. How could a premium coffee chain start selling instant coffee, a product with a notorious reputation for bad taste?
Today, the VIA brews were introduced in two markets, Seattle and Chicago. They've been the subject of much speculation, since, according to the VIA label, it's taken "decades to develop" the soluble, microground arabica beans. We couldn't wait to see how they matched up to the standard Starbucks drip. To see the results of our blind comparison, read more
If you thought Starbucks was uncouth to venture into the world of value meals, then wait until you hear its next supposed move. Ad Age is reporting that the struggling java chain is making plans to test soluble coffee in its stores.
Although Starbucks declined to comment on the launch, sources are saying plans to introduce the soluble coffee, to be called Via, will be announced next week. It could be sold in stand-alone cafés as early as next month. The company has reportedly been working on the instant product for years, hoping to market Via as a replica of Starbucks's store-bought brew.
It may seem out of place for a premium coffee chain like Starbucks to be competing with the likes of Folgers and Sanka, but considering the chain's desperate moves to revive dismal sales, I'm not entirely surprised. Do you see this as a smart move during a tough economy? Would you give Via a try?