Starbucks VIA Taste Test – Episode #75

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Jason Coffee
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Jason reviews Starbucks Via and compares it to regular brewed coffee to see if he can taste the difference between the two in this blind tasting.

Starbucks Via Review

They conducted many of these taste tests in Starbucks coffee shops around the United States but they used scolding hot water. A person’s palette needs the coffee to be significantly cooler for them to really be able to differentiate the flavor profiles of two different beverages of the same type. This plays a major factor in deciding which one tastes better. With this fact in mind Jason allowed the coffee to cool a bit before comparing the flavor of these to coffees. In one cup he had regular brewed coffee, in the other Starbucks Via, let’s see if he can tell the difference.

Coffee & Description

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

An instant coffee by Starbucks that they say tastes just as good as regular coffee.

Question of the Day?

Have you tried Starbucks VIA or other instant coffee with ganoderma? What do you think?

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  1. Jen

    Thanks for the taste test. The reason I buy Via is b/c it tastes better than the vending machine at work during a long afternoon! But my first choice would be fresh brewed. =)

  2. Steve

    I tried it and it reminded me of the coffee teabags that Folgers or someone used to make. It’s pretty good as instant coffees go but not brewed quality. The texture or “mouth feel” is definitely not the same.

    The only instant I have ever cared for was a liquid coffee extract called Java Juice and even it wasn’t quite as good as freshly brewed coffee. Keep in mind, I like strong, bold coffee and I drink it black so I can tell the difference between drip and French press.

  3. Chanda Glover

    I like how Jason points out how the marketing campaign, if true, will is like Starbucks shooting themselves in the foot. I can’t answer the QOTD because I haven’t had it.

  4. Mark

    I won’t say you’re full of crap. I’m sure Via doesn’t stand up to fresh-ground-fresh-brewed, but Via is very good, especially for instant, and I would not be surprised if the majority of people could not tell the difference. I have tried the taste test challenge myself. Maybe I will next time the local shop is set up for that. Make sure you don’t use too much water. Each packet is only good for 8oz. I keep some Via in my desk for when I’m too lazy to walk over to the store or to brew some in my press. Were Via as good as the fresh brew, people would still buy fresh in store. I’m not the only coffee snob that enjoys the ritual involved in ordering that drink.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  5. Jack

    It probably tastes watered down because you didn’t make it right. You should use about 3/4 of a cup of water. Any more than that and it will taste watered down.

  6. Cindy

    I just recently picked up the VIA as I plan to stick some packages in my luggage for an upcoming trip to a foreign land. I am a real coffee lover and I happen to like Starbucks coffee. In the contest of best instant coffee, I think it stands up as one of the best available -doesn’t have that bitter after taste that most have. In the contest of best afternoon coffee within six blocks of my office, it kicks the cafeteria urns and vending machines right out of the park! But to say it is as good as the real freshly-brewed deal, not so much… Good in a pinch. That’s my vote. cgn

  7. Michael

    Wow…I really like your blog…as a coffee lover…I will be deep into it but persona comes across great in the video clips…enjoyed all 10 minutes of the Starbucks test…thanks for saving me…I have had their sample packs here for a few weeks and did not dive in…glad I used my instincts. Would you help me out and drive by my blog?

  8. Make Money with Blogs

    I love starbucks coffee. I used to drink it several times a day. But coffee was killing me internally, but I still enjoy visiting the establishment and now I just purchase their tea instead. Thanks for providing this info.

  9. Reshanda

    Thanks for the review.

    QOTD: I tried the Via months ago when they released it in Seattle and a few other places I guess as a trial run. I felt the same way as you. I thought that Via was the best instant coffee I ever tasted. But I could not bring myself to compare it to regular brewed coffee.

  10. Anne

    Loved the review. I had no doubt you could pick the impostor! =)

    QOTD- I tried this from a free sample sent to me a few months back. I poured it out almost immediately. I am not a huge coffee connoisseur, but that does not mean I don’t appreciate a good cup of coffee.

  11. Debbie

    I have tried Starbuck’s Via and it IS the best instant coffee I’ve ever tasted. Lacking an espresso machine at home, I found the Via to be a GREAT base for a homemade iced mocha. I love coffee and enjoy fantastic cafe drinks, but in a pinch, Via is my choice for a frugal latte or mocha at home!

  12. Mike from Daily Shot Of Coffee

    I totally agree with you that Starbucks is making a huge marketing mistake saying you can’t tell the difference between their regular coffee and their instant. That’s not really the message I want to send.

    I was able to pick out the instant when I did the taste test, but it was difficult. They have the coffee so hot that it was hard to pick out the differences. However, once it cools down, they become very obvious.

    I don’t ever drink instant coffee, but if I had to, I’d go with VIA. It’s the best instant that I’ve had yet.

  13. Hope

    I did the taste test at my local Starbucks (well, one of many in my area) and I was absolutely able to tell the difference. That being said, the instant coffee is pretty good! It’s a lot better than the store brand I’ve been buying, and with the coupon I received for doing the test, it was only a dollar. But for the price of 2.99 for the tiny pack, I don’t think so.

  14. Mike B

    QOTD — I DO NOT like Via!! I would equate it with some very old, very stale coffee. A barista at my local starbucks told me that they had a “professional coffee taster” come in and he couldn’t tell the difference…

    I would be surprised if any coffee enthusiast couldn’t tell the difference between Via and an fresh roasted, traditionally brewed cup of coffee.

    I also agree with Neil, I think the marketing campaigns say Via is “pretty good” but that may only be because starbuck’s daily Pikes Place brew is not that good.

  15. Melissa

    I had been wondering about this, so thanks for reviewing! Next time you should do a blind Dunkin Donuts v. Starbucks coffee like those commercials.

    QOTD: I haven’t tried Via. I figured it wasn’t as good, so glad I don’t have to bother with it now!

  16. Neil

    Jason, thanks for the comparison.

    qotd? I have not had a chance to taste Starbucks Via so I cannot comment personally. I did hear another podcaster (non coffee related podcast) make a comment along the lines of your observation about Starbucks promotion — he said the problem he had with the promotion was not that Starbucks Via is that good, but that their regular brew is that bad. You probably know that I am not a huge Starbucks fan so I have to admit that I laughed at that comment.

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