Instant coffees are synonymous with a taste that is described as bland, stale, and a watered down version of the real beverage. The popular coffee chain Starbucks has entered the instant coffee market with their new line of instant coffee titled “VIA”. VIA is an instant coffee that claims to change the instant coffee world by offering the taste of various Starbucks coffees anywhere anytime, but does VIA live up to its claim? This article will review the new VIA instant coffee and compare it to two other popular instant coffees on the market: Folgers classic roast instant coffee crystals and Maxwell house instant coffee.
At first taste test the VIA instant coffee easily outperformed both the Folgers and Maxwell house instant coffees, but that is not saying much. The bold blend smelled like Starbucks coffee: rich and strong, and slightly burnt. When mixed with hot water VIA quickly dissolved in the cup leaving only trace amounts of grounds behind on the bottom of the cup. The flavor was rich, strong, and not as watered down as the Maxwell and Folgers instant coffee. However, the flavoring was not up to par with the same bold blend of a traditional cup of coffee at a Starbucks café.
• Convenience- VIA comes in a small packet that can be taken anywhere and drunk at any time, providing you have a cup full of hot water. VIA comes in single use packs for use outside of the house replacing the trip to the coffee store in the morning.
• Price- VIA costs just under $1 per cup and comes in many different size packs, which offer discounts for bulk purchases.
• Taste- Although the taste is not nearly as good as a fresh cup of Starbucks coffee VIA did surpass the Folgers and Maxwell brand instant coffees. Both the Folgers and Maxwell instant coffees taste watered down and stale; I have never been able to finish a cup of each.
• Flavors- Starbucks got it right by offering many different flavors of coffee for the VIA brand that mimicked the blends found at the Starbucks cafes.
• Taste- I know taste is labeled on the “pros” section, but keep in mind VIA does not hold up against a cup of Starbucks coffee, but does do better than the Folgers and Maxwell brand. Sacrificing the trip to the morning coffee shop will depend on how fussy you are about the taste; VIA when mixed is slightly watered down, but not noticeably enough to be instantly recognized as instant coffee.
• Price- $1 per cup is about half the price of a cup of coffee at most Starbucks cafes but the quality is not the same either. Paying about $.75-$1 for an instant cup of coffee is expensive and can be found cheaper by the other brands, but not necessarily better tasting.
VIA is one of the best ideas that Starbucks has had in recent times. VIA will revolutionize the way instant coffee is produced and purchased, but will customers really pay nearly $1 for a cup of instant coffee? The convenience factor of VIA makes it perfect for when you absolutely cannot get a cup of traditional coffee, but I would not sacrifice my morning fix for a regular cup of VIA. Overall VIA is the best instant coffee currently available although it is just a matter of time until better tasting competitors arise.