A couple weeks ago I got an email from Starbucks inviting me to be part of a group of “Beta Tasters” for their VIA Ready Brew Instant Coffee. They sent us a bunch of VIA and asked if I’d blog about it online. (They also sent a very cool Flip Mino camera to shoot and post video; unfortunately, I have to send it back.)
So, now that I’ve tried Starbuck’s attempt at instant coffee a few times, I’m ready to offer some opinions. They sent me two vaieties: Italian roast and Colombian. Bad news first: The Italian roast tastes bitter and burnt. It is not good coffee.
Now the good news: the Colombian brew is actually quite good. Obviously, it’s a lighter roast, and I think that’s what helps preserve the coffee flavor and aroma. The Colombian has a nice richness to it, a fullness that’s almost milk-chocolate-y. I actually like it better than most varieties of drip-brewed Colombian coffee I’ve experienced.
Now, in general, I prefer a darker roast, which is maybe why I’m such a huge fan of Starbucks in my personal life. So I was dismayed by the Italian roast. But the Colombian is dark enough, I would think, for the average Starbucks customer’s palate.
Starbucks says this product is for the times when you can’t get to a coffee pot or a coffee shop: when you’re rushing to a meeting, or you’re on a plane, or you’re camping, perhaps. For me, someone who takes his coffee very seriously, this is a product I wouldn’t mind seeing in my hotel room, but, in most other cases, I think I’d be more likely to just use the GPS on my phone to hunt down the nearest Starbucks location.