CoffeeNate #22 ::VIA™ vs. Starbucks® Brewed Coffee “Challenge”

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Well, it’s that time again.  Time for me to go undercover and investigate what I consider outrageous claims made by Starbucks® concerning their new instant coffee, VIA™.  They released the line of instant coffees, which are being promoted as being AS GOOD as regular brewed coffee.  They claim that their instant coffee is different because it contains ‘micro-ground’ coffee.  Um, ground coffee does not dissolve in water, no matter how ‘micro’ it may be.  Fine ground coffee, allowed to steep in water will always, always, always be bitter and offer many off notes in the flavor.   Pardon my laughter, but the assertion that I won’t be able to tell the difference is ridiculous.  Perhaps they felt the need to make such an off based claim due to the large price tag, or maybe there are enough of their customers who will blindly believe whatever they say.   The VIA™ costs more than $1/8oz serving, more than brewing your own Jamaican Blue Mountain at home.  If you visit their website, it says that they bet that you cannot tell the difference between the instant and the regular brewed coffee…I took that ‘challenge’!

I apologize for the crappy camera work, but remember…this was a top secret, hidden camera assignment!  I got the barista to prepare the Colombian version of  VIA™ and also a cup of brewed Pikes Place Roast brewed coffee.  The moment I wiffed the two beverages I ‘instantly’ knew which was which.  The cilantro/jalapeno/cat urine scent of the instant was overpowering and actually had the same effect as snorting horse radish.  The Pike’s Place was mellow and smooth.  The results of the tasting was very similar, with the instant having a long and pronounced bitter flavor that lingered on my tongue like the Novocaine you get from the dentist.  Conversely, the brewed cup had a sweet mellow flavor, and it was very clean.  I tried to enter this whole deal with an open mind, but c’mon…really, is this is a joke?!  Instant coffee claiming to be as good as brewed coffee?  Umm, ok?  I have also tried cappuccino at the gas station…guess what…it doesn’t taste like real cappuccino!  The bottom line is that instant coffee, of any kind, can never duplicate the taste of actual properly brewed coffee.  Now VIA™ is much better than any other INSTANT coffee flavored beverage I have ever tried, but it is still instant ‘kawphee’.  Case closed!

If you are looking for ways to make great coffee in a pinch, just check out my post on making great coffee while camping.  In addition to using these techniques while camping, you can easily use these methods whenever your resources are limited to hot water!  You don’t have to sacrifice great taste for convenience.

Surprise, you have a chance to win some really great coffee from my friends at SpeakEasyCoffee.  Speak Easy is based in southern Ontario in Canada.  The site is very simple, but the coffee is amazing!  You can check out their site, and also follow them on Twitter @SpeakEasyCoffee It’s easy to enter!

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At the end of November, I will draw a winner and you will be able to choose which coffee you would like to try.  Speak Easy will ship it directly to you at absolutely no charge!  Enjoy 🙂

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