Starbucks VIA: Ready Brew

I have my friend Kevin to thank for convincing me to give Starbucks VIA a try. In general I find Starbucks a poor excuse for coffee. Yes; you read that correctly. I am sure their Venti-Double Mocha-Soy-Pumpkin Spice-Sugar Laden creations are delicious if you are in to that sort of thing. But let’s be clear; they are not coffee. What I do enjoy is a good cup of french pressed coffee or an espresso from locally roasted beans. In the case of a french press a thick foam is a good indicator of freshness.

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To say that I went in to this test biased would be an understatement in case you haven’t yet notice. However; I have been pleasantly surprised. There are limitations to what can be reasonably taken in to the wild and I don’t expect gourmet coffee at 5AM on a mountain ridge somewhere. My past experience with instant coffee came from Nescafe while spending time in South America. This experience too set up a bias against Starbucks VIA.

The Reality

Starbucks did a great job re-writing the book on instant coffee with this product line. The ultra ground coffee comes in single serving packets and dissolves easily in hot water. Somehow you even end up with a slight foam.

The coffee has a pleasant taste with a moderate amount of bitterness. Each packet contains enough coffee to make a cup that is not watered down. The only area of weakness that I can find is that the resulting cup lacks the mouth-feel of a normal brew. There is something “thin” about it that isn’t quite right, but to me this is easily overlooked because it is instant and the setting in which I drink it usually makes up for this shortcoming.