Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Starbucks VIA Coffees

Something different for today. A review of the Starbucks VIA "instant" coffee. The banner ads at all Starbucks cafes definitely piqued my curiosity so I had to give them a try!

  Purchased two packs of 3 single-serve sachets. 


There are only two blends available in Malaysia at the moment. The Italian Roast (Extra Bold) and Colombia (Medium).


Somehow I thought they would be bigger .. for whatever reason. Although it is much smaller than expected it is great for carrying it around. The tagline for the VIA is 'Never be without great coffee'.
 

The 'ready brew' coffee consists of Arabica coffee beans that are micro-ground. The powder is extremely fine. Once the package is torn open, it smells exactly as if you walked into a Starbucks cafe!

A little over 1 teaspoon of microground coffee in each packet

Left: Starbucks VIA Italian Roast
Right: Maxwell House Master Blend Ground Coffee*

Right: Starbucks VIA Italian Roast
Left: Maxwell House (in equivalent amount)*



Right: Starbucks VIA Italian Roast
(without stirring)


* - After taking the pictures, realized that the Maxwell House is mostly used for coffee machines/press as it is quite coarse. Unfortunately other coffees were not available in the house for comparison purposes. It would have been a better sampling with plain Nescafe coffee although I think Nescafe is ground like that (but more geometric).

The coffee itself is pretty much like those little coffee packets found in hotels. It's basically just black coffee. Add sweetener, creamer according to preference. It is definitely Starbucks coffee so if you're addicted to their coffee blends/grounds, this would be great to tote along on the go.


Pros
  1. Starbucks flavor - right out of the packet
  2. Cost - less than RM3 for Starbucks 'flavor' compared to going into the cafe itself
  3. Portability - Great for on-the-go, fits perfectly in a handbag and the quality packaging that doesn't feel like it will break apart being jostled in a bag
  4. Micro-ground - melts right in, barely need to stir it in
Cons
  1. Cost - If as daily coffee it might add up but still cheaper than any coffee on the Starbucks menu
  2. Selection - Only 2 blends available for now, there's a wider range and even seasoned coffee for the VIA range in the US .. but it is perhaps a matter of time until they show up on our shores
  3. Flavor - husband didn't find it all that spectacular, comparable to other brands
My Verdict
I quite like them especially the Italian Roast as I'm all about having coffee black. As to whether they're worth it for a daily coffee? Probably not. It does have the Starbucks flavor sealed in but Nescafe black is pretty good as well, and I am addicted to the bold bitterness of Maxwell House (albeit having to go through the trouble of using a coffee machine/press).

The Starbucks VIA coffees are priced at RM8 for a 3-pack and RM24 for an 8-pack. They are available at all Starbucks cafes.

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