Starbucks Via Is Good To Go

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 01:30 PM with 0 comments

photo of Starbucks Via in actionI love coffee. There’s nothing like starting the day with a cup of fresh hot coffee cut with a little milk. Ok, make it several cups and don’t limit it to the morning. And sure, the caffeine is more than an added bonus. But I enjoy the flavors from a cup of coffee derived from freshly ground beans in concert with filtered water.

This wasn’t always the case. I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was out of college and at my first job. Coca-Cola was my chosen caffeine delivery vehicle before that time. It was the free coffee at my first job as a COBOL programmer computer consultant in the Berkshires that converted me. At first I didn’t own a coffee maker, so my first coffee at home was instant coffee from a red can with Folgers on the side. Yes, instant. That didn’t last long, as I learn to appreciate – and brew – my own coffee and I never looked back.

I thought about this as I prepared to taste my sample of Starbucks Via, the coffeehouse chain’s newly released instant coffee, which has been launched in 3 cities including Chicago. Like many people, I asked why? But as I tried it, it started to come clear to me.

The sample I had was of their Via Columbia blend. There is also an Italian Roast, and other blends are supposed to be forthcoming. It comes in a short, slender sealed poly tube, and one tube is good for exactly an 8-ounch cup of coffee. I emphasize exactly 8-ounces as I was told this specifically by the barista who gave me the sample.

So I heated a cup of exactly 8-ounces of water in one of few remaining Dunkirk Systems, LLC coffee mugs, added the coffee and stirred. It had a slight (for lack of a better word) "film" on top which reminded me of the Folgers I drank long ago. I then added some skim milk and took a sip. It had a good robust taste, which was not too far from what I would expect from a brewed cup of coffee with freshly ground beans. As I finished the cup, it kept its taste and was a fulfilling taste of coffee.

So would I buy this? Yes, but not all the time. As I have stated here on The Hot Iron before, I tend to buy coffee in large quantities. The packaging is too wasteful for typical day-to-day coffee consumption. I will buy it for when I travel, as many of the friends I visit are not coffee drinkers, plus hotels never have enough coffee in-room. Well, not enough for my liking.

I will bring Starbucks Via on my next journey and will experiment with their other blends. Apparently this has been in the works for over 20 years, which interestingly is around the time I discovered coffee. I doubt this is a coincidence!

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