My first thoughts on Starbucks’ new flavored Via coffee (Caramel, in this case) are that it’s sweet. Really, really sweet. Sweet like watching a toddler playing in a room full of puppies and kittens. You don’t even need to add the water and start drinking to experience this; the pre-brewed blend itself assaults your nose with a caramel/sugar aroma as soon as the packet is opened. I am surprised that there are only 60 calories in a serving, because it sure seems like the entire output of the U.S. sugar industry is distilled into each individual package.
I’m not saying that it isn’t tasty, once you’ve quickly and easily mixed 8 ounces of hot water with the coffee. I have become so used to the over-roasted taste of Starbucks’ drip coffee that this was a welcome change. It may also be that I’ve been taking my coffee black for close to a year, and that this is too great of a contrast to not mention it.
That sweet flavor does capture the hint of a caramel macchiato (my previous “regular” drink at Starbucks, before I switched to dry cappuccinos). As I love all things caramel, it goes without saying that I enjoy the taste. I dare say that if you’re not a huge fan of coffee, but do like flavored espresso drinks, you’ll probably like the new flavored Via. It’s certainly easy to make, and for coffee junkies like me it’s perhaps a bit less like the punch in the face that is the regular office coffee/swill and more like drinking the milk left behind from a sugary cereal. It’s an efficacious caffeine-delivery system.
Furthermore, with Via, you don’t have to worry about making the communal coffee or being ostracized for taking the last cup without replenishing the carafe. Overall, I recommend it unless you are the kind of person who thinks that a tablespoon of half-and-half and packet of sugar makes coffee too unbearably sweet.