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December 2, 2009

VIA Ready Brew Instant Coffee from Starbucks

100% Arabica beans. Italian roast (Extra Bold) or Colombian (Medium) and even Decaf (Extra Bold).  Quick, easy and instant.   I would love to say, "I secretly replaced my husband's freshly ground whole bean brew with a Starbucks VIA Ready Brew."  Except that I can't.  He did try some one slow afternoon when he needed a pick me up.  He liked it and had no idea it was instant until I told him.  I drank all the rest.

It is no secret that I am a fan of Starbucks.  They are everywhere and the only place near me that consistently offers a decent latte and they don't ask me if I want a ton of flavoring in it or whipped cream on it. It's a latte!  It makes me happy.  It's the little things, right?  So I admit to being eager to try this product but also skeptical because it's instant coffee.  First, I was surprised at how the granules are so fine.  They are not like tiny pebbles that I remember from most instant coffees.  This makes VIA ($9.99/12 servings) a great quick and easy option to have on hand when baking or cooking.   Yes, really.  Did you know that a bit of coffee adds a richness to chocolate dishes without the coffee taste.  By microgrinding the coffee beans SBUX has made VIA the only instant coffee that keeps it's oils, which gives it that bolder, more complex taste that other instants do not possess.

VIA's are perfect for those mornings or moments when you want or need a cup of coffee real fast and you don't have time for a whole pot or french press to brew.  The skeptical, instant-coffee-hating side of me didn't want to like VIA, but then I drank the Italian roast and the Colombian and liked them both.  More than I thought too.  It's not Folgers or Maxwell House freeze-dried nonsense. It didn't rip my stomach apart or have a sour, or bitter aftertaste like other instants tend to do either.  I prefer the Italian roast with its deeper flavor even in the Decaf version.  I like that VIA is so compact in size and is very "take'n'go".  I have carried it in my purse, diaper bag and it would be so wonderful to have in a desk at work.  No more jetting out of work for coffee!  No more chunky office brew! 

My only issue with VIA is the packaging.  It comes in 12 servings per pack and that's not a lot.  You can easily go through that in a few days.  Sure, you can purchase the 48 pack for $34.95 but when you consider that a bag of whole beans or a canister of instant coffee is a lot less for the same amount of joe it begins to feel like you are paying for the Starbucks name all over again.  There should be more to a pack for a bit less in price.  Yes, you are paying for quality but again, it is instant coffee. 

However, the great taste is there and VIA makes an excellent on-the-go cup of coffee.  It is nice to have in the house for those dire one-cup situations or when that single guest just wants decaf. 

MPR Rating:  Four Stars.

Disclaimer: MPR was not paid for this posting. Products were received and kept for testing purposes. The opinions in this review are solely my own.