I work from home and loathe milky coffee, so grabbing a Starbucks isn’t a priority in my life. Occasionally I pick up a black venti red eye between external meetings if I am flagging or sleep deprived, but that’s it. I’m more interested in the coffee I drink at home.

Because I drink my coffee black, without any artificial sugars or syrups or any of that weird shit, how it tastes straight is of paramount importance to me. I want a strong, bitter taste with a round finish that doesn’t taste burnt or caramel-y.

As you may have gathered I’m English, so instant, as we call it, is ubiquitous back home. I’m not going to pretend it’s better than freshly brewed coffee, but Nescafé’s Black Gold, Cap Colombie & Alta Rica, or Carte Noire are more than adequate as backup everyday drinks when you can’t be bothered to brew a pot for one person, certainly better than most filter/drip coffees you buy from stands or corner stores – and they are strong, with absolutely no relation to the insipid instant coffee you can buy in American supermarkets.

The only reason why I don’t bother with instant here in the US is because of the dearth of good instant on the American market, & I am presuming that that is why Starbucks are pushing their new instant coffee, Via, right now.

But Christ it’s expensive: $2.95 for three servings!

The most expensive UK instant coffee I could find on Ocado.com was Nescafé Black Gold at £3.55 per 100g grams. A serving is considered to be 1.8gms. That makes a serving cost of 6p or 9c give or take.

How HOW can Starbucks justify $1 a serving?! It’s not as though Starbucks coffee is *that* delicious in the first place.

And, here’s the kicker: Via is absolutely disgusting. I was given a sample at a Starbucks store yesterday: it tastes acrid & charred with no roundness. Possibly the most disgusting coffee, instant, or fresh brewed, I have ever tasted: I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the little sampler cup. Yuck.

Good luck with that Starbucks.

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22 comments

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Instant coffee is ok when I have to have coffee and there's no other option. Like in the middle of the night, while studying for exams, where boiling water is almost too much work. Otherwise, you can easily just use a french press for a single serving. I really prefer that. I picked up some of the VIA stuff (had a coupon) and it is pretty bad. Do not get it! it is a waste of money.

As for their campaign, Starbucks is saying 'If you can't get to a Starbucks to get our fresh brew (like your office doesn't have Starbucks beans or you have to drive too far from your office to get Starbucks), you can have nearly the same thing using Starbucks instant coffee.' I don't think that's a conflicting message. And Starbucks regular brew (not the espresso drinks) doesn't cost much more than McDonalds and often people choose Starbucks because they have soy and lactose free milk options etc.

Have you heard the saying? "Starbucks is consistently mediocre." The good thing about Starbucks is that its pretty much the same anywhere. I like ordering a specific drink at Starbucks and I know it will taste approximately the same (obviously some locations are still slightly better than others). So whether I'm in New York or Vancouver or Beijing, I'm gonna get the same thing in the morning.

[I am from Vancouver BC…where Starbucks are found right across the street from each other and both have line ups…so Starbucks something I know too well]

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ha ha ha ha ha ha!
I sort of like instant coffee if I am pretending it is not actually the same drink as real coffee.
We call it having a Mellow Bird's moment (my aunt actually only likes instant – that being her brand of choice).
But VIA? Starbucks, you can F*CK right off with that price tag and ridiculous claim! I laughed my ass off when I saw them selling it when we were in there buying a $2 chocolate milk and an Americano yesterday. My best bit, though (and you would have loved this) was when Two poked the display cutout -the red, life-size cardboard silhouette, bearing a pocket of real, individual VIA portions – and said 'WHO DAT?' and it slowly fell over, scattering sachets across the floor which he then delightedly stomped on because they were so CRUNCHY.
We left soon after that.

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Starbucks is vile whatever the mix, and I'll say nothing more on the matter.

I do agree on instant coffee – I adore instant gold roast and don't understand why instant is always seen as somehow inferior to 'real' coffee. To me, it is like chocolate – of course we all like Green and Blacks Mayan or fancy Swiss 80% dark chocolate… but who doesn't also love a Snickers?? Well, instant coffee is my Snickers, and I refuse to apologise for it.

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I hate Starbucks brewed coffee; Pike's Place might as well be called Pike's Puke. But the Via is extraordinarily horrible. I ordered a free sample from the website when they had the press release a few months ago, and immediately spilled out the cup I brewed. Disgusting.

If I go instant, I turn to Medaglia d'Oro espresso. It actually froths, which I love.

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"Any of that weird shit," hilarious.

I'm not into VIA because of Starbucks' horrible, grammatically incorrect slogan: Bring it Along. SHUDDER. Had they encouraged me to Take it Along, I might have acquiesced.

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I thought I was the only person on the Planet that loathed Starbucks – I had it once and it just tasted of hot water and waxed cups …

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Interesting. I think the thing about Starbucks is people aren't really loving the coffee/ tea- they are loving the hot milk. At the moment only AMT in London will give me a hot milk and really in the morning that is what I want. So if you want more money from me Starbucks/ Nero/ Costa/ Coffee Republic give me a hot milk!

When I want a coffee I agree I want a strong Italian type coffee- and for that Cafe Nero here is pretty good.

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I treat instant coffee like a 4th hot drink option at home: tea, fruit tea, proper coffee or instant coffee. I use Carte Noir which I think tastes the nicest (and I don't drink Nescafe as I don't buy Nestle products) of all the instant coffees available in England.

I haven't seen the Via product in England. Is that something we have to look forward to?

And on the subject of starbucks, my preferred drink is mostly milk & caramel. I wouldn't say it was 'coffee' like I would order in France or Italy or after a meal but it is soothing on a cold morning on the way to work.

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After a month travelling the US and Canada, and thinking all the time of a recent Financial Times article bemoaning the tasteless malt on offer everywhere (with the additional affront that full fat milk has apparently been banned), I finally found coffee heaven in Orens in New York. Great coffee with a new blend every day offering variety and spice. Still a problem with the milk however..

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eeek, I’m right there with you. I adore coffee. I couldn’t deal with the Starbucks instant either. My coffee has to be strong, full bodied and **NO** weird sugar GARBAGE. I do add non-fat/1% milk, however, doctor’s orders… 😉 and now I love it. Consider trying Peet’s coffee. You will have to brew it, but they ship (in the US) and it is so fresh and delicious. I make it extra strong and it is never **yuck** carmel-ly. Rather expensive, I suppose, but sooo worth it.

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It really was DISGUSTING! LLGxx

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