Thursday, October 22, 2009

Enjoying a Starbucks Via

I really enjoy coffee. I don't however consider myself a coffee snob: I'm not one who'll say "oh, I never drink so-and-so, it's total garbage." But times have to be pretty tough for me to opt for the instant coffee. I'll take one of those "coffee single" dunk-the-bag-in-boiling-water contraptions if I'm going to be without easy access to my favorite caffeinated beverage: camping, company travel, the end of the world, etc. But powdered instant coffee? Blech. Only if I'm really desperate.

A few weeks ago Starbucks introduced their Via instant coffee. They said I would not be able to tell the difference. Yeah sure, I thought, and at a buck a cup, I'm not going to bother to find out.

I found myself at my neighborhood Starbucks, and was buying a drink on a gift card someone had given me, and because I had some room left over on the card, I decided to buy the three-pack.

At the house, I decided to give it a try. I dumped the packet out into my mug, and the first two things I noted were that it is ground almost as fine as flour, and that it smelled really good. I then heated up some water and poured it in, and gave it a good stir. I tasted it, and really was surprised at how good it is, and that I really would not have guessed it was instant. So, if you like Starbucks coffee in general, you're probably going to like Via.

I still have a touch of sticker shock, though. At a dollar a cup, it's wildly more expensive than most any kind of homebrew, let alone powdered instant. You get to make the cost/benefit decision. For me, I envision myself with a couple of packs the next time I go camping, or perhaps find myself going somewhere where good coffee isn't nearby.

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