Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Starbucks Via Instant Coffee

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 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.