According to the Starbucks website there are now two ways to make instant coffee, both of them THEIR way! I smiled at the hubris but read on. I had gone to the Starbucks Via website because my daughter and I were given a card with an attached packet of instant coffee at our local Starbucks. After recovering from the shock, I decided to test it out. “Delicious Starbucks Coffee in an Instant,” says the website. Period. No excited exclamation point. Just period. Of course.
Looking it over when I got home, the Starbucks Via packet is a small, one cup serving. No flavoring or fixings, just coffee. Period. I like that.
It was easy to tear open without fumbling or hunting for how to get a hold of it. The packet looks a little like the drink powder ‘tubes’ my daughter uses in her bottle of water
I sat down and made the Starbucks Via according to directions and sipped it along side my Grande bold I had bought at that same local Starbucks an hour ago. In fact, it was Patrick my favorite barista who offered me and my daughter each a sample packet of Via.
Taste, the Final Factor
Their biggest competition in my house comes from Sprouts Farmers Market’s espresso blend whole bean coffee. While this might not be a fair head-to-head comparison, it nevertheless is the standard to beat at my house.
The taste between Starbucks Via and the Starbucks Grande was distinguishable, but it was not a huge contrast. To taste one and then the other was to sip two different cups of Starbucks coffee. Characteristically, my sipping was interrupted by a long phone call. Upon return to my now-cold coffees, they were still both ‘good’ in that Starbucks way. My Sprouts coffee was still in the kitchen, also getting cold. Comparing that to these two cups it was much less acid but there was also less caffeine to it. And yes, I actually do drink this much coffee. As I finish typing this I have exactly one half cup of Sprouts coffee left. And yes I am typing fast! :)
Both the Starbucks are high acid which gives Starbucks that characteristic bite. All three were fixed with cold heavy whipping cream, the way I like it. And all three aged from hot to cold with their characteristic grace. But most important, the Starbucks Grande drip and the Starbucks Via still gave the high-caffeine kick. Not so much the Sprouts.
Now The Real Question: Will I Buy Via?
Answer: probably not. Or at least, not very often: most of my Starbucks purchases are coffee by the cup anyway. And since buying a new house, that has become mostly a Sunday morning treat. This is in contrast to my three cup a day habit a few, pre-mortgage, years ago
The price is not the issue, never really has been for me, personally. Either I want coffee or not, either Starbucks or not. Not much reasoning going on there. The same goes for availability, although now it is available all over my area.
The acid test is flavor. And Starbucks Via passes.
Sprouts Farmers Market in Dallas