Recently, Starbucks wowed the world when they announced that they were releasing a line of gourmet instant coffees, in the hopes of capturing an untapped market. The coffee-loving world was immediately agitated, how could an instant coffee qualify as gourmet and was it possible for Starbucks to create something palatable? (Most instant coffee is unmitigated swill, at least in the eyes of the coffee snob.)
I got my hands on a couple of VIA samples late last week and have spent the last few days trying it out, often subbing it in for my regular morning cup. So far, I've been pleasantly surprised by the taste. It's got a fairly full and rich flavor and isn't plagued by the thin, bitter taste that accompanies so many other traditional instant coffees. I did find that it was missing some of the finishing notes that freshly ground and brewed coffee has, but it was far better than some of the brewed coffee I've consumed on airplanes and at diners over the years.
One thing I discovered when making this coffee is that you've got to take care while pouring out your hot water. Each little packet has enough coffee crystals to make an eight ounce cup of coffee, and so if you add more than that, you'll end up with a watery cup. I find this a little disappointing, as I typically drink a cup of coffee that's closer to 12 ounces each morning. If I were to become a VIA regular, I'd end up measuring out half packets all the time, I practice that would get really frustrating. It would be nice if this coffee came in a larger, multi-serving package, so that I could measure out the amount of coffee I wanted, without the constraints of the packet.