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 Starbucks.com are currently issuing $1 instant coupons, for a total of $4.95 per box.


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Has Starbucks VIA set the standard too high?

Brandy is back! After she her first Instant Coffee with the new Starbucks, I asked if she would take a look at some of the other options available in the little ‘easy carry’ options getting so popular these days. She did and…

In having the opportunity to try Nescafé Taster’s Choice single serve coffee packets, I realized that not all instant coffee is created equal. The single packet of 100% Columbian freeze-dried coffee, while convenient, provides only 6 ounces of coffee. Starbucks VIA makes 8 ounces and, for me, 2 ounces makes a huge difference. The Nescafé website even says, “If you want more than 6 ounces, you may need to use an extra stick.” True story. Unless you want to drink it from a thimble, you’ll probably want to use two packets. The Columbian brew was more than I bargained for. The texture was smooth (dissolved like a dream); the flavor was not. The flavor was definitely strong, but not what I would call “rich.” I found it overpowering, with a bitter after-taste that could only be called a “twang.” At first, I tried it only with sugar, but about halfway through my cup, I ended up with creamer that never really cut, but only competed with the intense flavor of the coffee. Since the flavor was so extreme, I wondered if the 6 ounces of water was an underestimate; it was not. Adding extra water only results in a watered-down cup of coffee. At 180 mg of caffeine, if you’re just looking for a quick jolt, a packet of Nescafé Taster’s Choice will get the job done. If you’re looking to enjoy a well-balanced, flavorful cup of coffee, I think you should look somewhere else.
Coffee cup


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Instant Coffee in the Espresso lover’s house

The office has decided they are going green by having us bring our own mugs in And they do not want coffee grounds down the drain so no more fresh ground coffee in the maker or use of Presses. No matter how they ask, grounds from people’s Press’s still make it down the drain causing a clog and the folks downstairs end up getting wet from our backed up pipes.

Starbucks introducing their ‘Instant’ coffee is rather timely. Not that instant could possibly replace our fresh ground drip or Press… or could it? If you watch the ads, you might believe that your getting the same cup of coffee you would if you walked into the local corner Starbucks location and asked for a cup of drip coffee… all you need is hot water, a cup and some free WiFi.

The packaging is a switch from little envelopes to thin tubes… all inside of boxes carrying the usual look of the artwork in the Starbucks stores. If you visit the Starbucks Web site, they offer you a chance to give your views of their Instant. They also offer back a area of recipes you can make using a tube or two.

For a local ‘taste test’, I reached out to Brandy for her thoughts on the new Starbuck Instant – exchanging a few tubes of dried dark goodness for a few of her thoughts. Many thanks to her for jumping in with her insight!

“I was given a box of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, Italian Roast (Extra Bold). In exchange, I was asked for a paragraph of my thoughts. Not a bad deal. Free coffee and a chance to give my opinion? Count me in!

Not being a coffee connoisseur (I have a regular Starbucks order and pretty much stick to it), I don’t know much about instant coffee… and the things I’ve heard are not good. I’ve heard that it can be weak, less-flavorful, and sometimes fails to dissolve. But, I figured if it was any of those things, I’d gotten it for free, even if it was swill!

However, as it turns out, it dissolved well in the water (I made mine with hot water, while the website boasts you can make it either hot or cold) and was actually more flavorful than the (Archer Farms) coffee I brewed at my house just yesterday! Starbucks calls their VIA “full-bodied” and I have to agree. Honestly, it was pretty strong! And, it wasn’t as bitter as some of the Starbucks drip coffee I’ve tried. There were no coffee grounds floating in my cup while drinking the coffee, although my last sip left a trail of small granules down the inside of my cup. (Never having had instant coffee, maybe this is typical for all of them. This would have been the only give-away on the Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge.) Would I drink VIA again? Yes, I would. Will it stop me from taking the trip to my local Starbucks once a week? Definitely not. It works well on-the-go (it’s fast and easy) and tastes pretty good… but, my friendly baristas would miss me. :-)”

So, coffee to go without the clean up or the atmosphere – looks like a box of tubes will be handy on my desk for those times too many people will catch me sneaking into the kitchen with my secret Press.

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