Starbucks is making a big hoopla about their new instant coffee called VIA which they rolled out nationwide recently.  They claim it is an instant coffee that tastes like freshly brewed.  They use a proprietary process they are calling a microgrind, and by looking at, making the stuff, and tasting it I'm thinking there's some dehydrated and/or freeze-dried coffee in there too.

Nevertheless, it's VIA VIA VIA everywhere you look inside your local Starbucks right now and their CEO Howard Schultz is starting to sound like he's reversing global warming with comments like: "

"We know that as more people try this product, 
more people will like it and adopt it into their 
daily routine so they will never be without great coffee."

Thank god.  Well I like coffee and I like instant, and they were donating some of their revenue to "the troops" and I like the troops, so I decided to buy some and try it out.

My first opportunity was to add some to some crappy diner coffee, that worked marvelously.  No joke, during a breakfast meeting at a greasy spoon I added 1/4 of the packet each time my mug was refilled with what would have otherwise have been brown water.  Pretty delish, actually.

Now as far as other instant coffees go, I've had my share of Nescafé, mostly while travelling abroad, which is now being touted as "Sustainability Instant Coffee" - but, does anyone else have a problem with their grammar there?  Good for them and the environment unfortunately it's not the best coffee.

I wanted to do a taste test and I didn't have any Nescafé but I did have some Emergen-C Premium Roast Coffee instant... coffee?  Instant vitamins?  Coffee vitamins?  Mmm.

The Emergen-C product is sugar free and caffeine-free which makes me wonder what it is actually made from.  Instant decaffeinated coffee, natural flavors, caramel color, tapioca starch, silica, citric acid, stevia.  There are 10 flavors of Emergen-C still on their website, but one of them is not Premium Coffee Roast anymore.  I wonder... maybe it was the silica.

I boiled some water and placed the contents of each packet into a different mug.  I also brewed some real coffee.  The VIA dissolved immediately, the Emergen-C foamed up like all its fruit-flavored siblings.  I thought that was odd.

I added a half teaspoon of sugar and about a tablespoon of milk to each.  I tasted the Emergen-C first and my initial reaction was, "Euch, that's horrible!"  I tasted the VIA next and was pleasantly surprised.  It really does deliver a cup of joe more true to the real thing than, well, than any of its predecessors..

The Emergen-C does deliver however "500mg Vitamin C as Seven Mineral Ascorbates... 28 Mineral Complexes and B Vitamins."  VIA has nothing on that - except the other Vitamin C, Vitamin Caffeine.  

The first sip of the Emergen-C was sour and unpleasant, but over the course of the cup it actually became bearable.  I started to think things like: I've actually been served worse in hotels and airplanes before.  If I were on a mountain top, I wouldn't mind one of these.

As for VIA, I think Starbucks is on to something.  I'd rather brew my own but I'm now keeping a packet in the car for when a client wants to meet at Denny's.

Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Humor