Starbucks Instant Coffee Goes Cold!

Brandy has gotten her hands on the Starbucks Iced VIA, here are her thoughts!

I was so excited to read that Starbucks now has Iced VIA! I order frappuccinos and iced coffee year-round, even if it’s 26 degrees outside. You can make regular Starbucks VIA® iced, but you have to be patient (which I’m not).

At first sight, mixing Starbucks VIA® Iced Coffee in the cold water made me a little nervous. Initially, a film surfaces while you stir and I wasn’t so sure it was going to dissolve, after all. I should’ve had more faith in Starbucks! The directions say to start with the cold water first; I disagree. It works much better if you pour the mix in the cup first and the water on top. Stirring with a spoon took longer than I’d hoped to dissolve the grounds. (Did I mention I’m impatient?) However, shaking the mixture in an enclosed container (like the VIA Shaker Tumbler, which comes complete with measurements on the side) works much more efficiently. Another trick (while not ideal if you’re truly “on-the-go”) is to use two cups and pour the coffee from one to another until it’s fully dissolved. Once dissolved, just add ice & you’re good to go! VIA comes lightly sweetened, but I prefer to add sugar and milk (and occasionally a little chocolate syrup for an iced mocha). And, the taste? Iced VIA does not disappoint. Each packet makes 16 oz. of coffee. A 5-pack box costs $5.95, but Starbucks and are currently issuing $1 instant coupons, for a total of $4.95 per box.


Cool Coffee Maker That Will Never Be

There are a lot of really, er… interesting coffee pot designs that we all know will never make it to our local supplier. Every now and then there is a design that is simple and really should get a manufacturer’s attention. Sadly, this one looks and works in concept very well but will get missed by the masses.

There is nothing new here in the science of coffee making. In fact, there are makers on the market that look similar. This ‘gravity defying’ coffee maker by Lina Fischer would look great in the middle of the table when coffee drinkers come together. The Yanko Design site has this posted on their Form Beyond Function Web site. Hmmm…. think someone should tell IKEA about this design?


The Caffeine Infographic

Randy Krum and his CoolInfographics site is well known for digging up fun Infographics all sorts of subjects. Many of the graphics on his site he did himself, including The Caffeine Poster.

He has taken the time to research and create a graphic that takes us through the many popular drinks that contain Caffeine (excluding Tea). Colas, drip coffee, Starbucks, Einstein Bros, the Energy Drinks and many more top brands. As well, Randy noted key items in the chart, like coffee half life in the human body is 4.9 hours and ‘the jitters’ set in at 300mg of caffeine.

Fun for this particular poster is that he took the time to do a ‘Making-of. It covers how he collected data, what software he used to build the infographic and even his notes in his moleskin along the way. I enjoyed his parts on where the data came from and his first few attempts at the graphic till he got it just right. I would say he had a winner here. Maybe there will be enough interest for him to end up doing a poster, which he mentions is under consideration. Also under consideration is looking over this poster before you buy your next drink now that you have the facts.


Maple Bacon Flavored Coffee… Really?

Doing so many meetings at a variety of coffee houses around the world, I see and hear folks order some interesting combinations of drinks. Most get to the point that I’m not sure why they have coffee in the mix, they end up with a super sweet drink to push down the coffee taste. I appriciate everyone has their own tastes. That is why when I saw the below, I just had to mention it. The folks back at the office will try it when our order gets in, just because they will try ‘anything’ bacon.

In full disclosure, I heard about the coffee from visiting one of my advertisers over on the right. Just looking around at what was different, and this option really hit me as ‘different’.

Even though they list the name as Maple Bacon flavored, I’m wondering if it will be less sweet than adding syrups in the finished drip coffee. More of a flavor ‘with’ the coffee rather than over the top.

Watch for a review here. Maybe some face shots if folks really love it or… they don’t. They loved the Mint Chocolate I brought in last week from the same folks, but this might be a stretch. Fun!


Costco Introduces Instant Coffee Drink Packets

Brandy has been keeping her eyes open for new instant coffee offerings. And it appears she has found a box of Cappuccino that Costco is selling under their Kirkland brand name. Here is what Brandy found:

Kirkland Signature Café Cappuccino™ is a little like a coffee house in a packet. You can make it hot, iced, or blend it for a cost-efficient, do-it-yourself frappuccino.

Ideally, I appreciate the convenience of premeasured, prepackaged coffee, but only if it’s worthwhile. This one is. Personally, I love that it comes in a premeasured packet, as opposed to a canister. I can carry it with me (and I don’t have to worry about how much mix to use).

The consistency of this mix is much better than similarly marketed easy-prep cappuccino mixes. This one doesn’t settle to the bottom quickly and doesn’t come off as watery-tasting (which I find to be the fatal flaw in Folgers and Hills Bros. cappuccino mixes). That gave me the confidence to be a little more creative. (Such liberties are not recommended with inferior coffee mixes; trust me.)

But, let’s not lose sight of the most important part: The espresso! Many competitors’ brands contain the instant coffee, but lack the instant espresso. What’s the point? So, if you’re too lazy to lug your espresso machine around with you (or too cheap to buy one in the first place), this could be a viable alternative.

I prefer iced coffee, which we were able to easily achieve. The package also suggests blending, which I also did. Simply add milk (or water) and ice and mix in the blender. I topped it off with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and even forewent my morning trip to Starbucks. (We also blended it with vanilla ice cream and served it in shot glasses with whipped cream and sprinkles for a dessert treat.)

Kirkland Signature Café Cappuccino retails for about $1 a serving, which allows you to give your wallet and your barista a break.

These are big packets! Here is the Kirkland instant cappuccino next to the Starbucks VIA.