Starbucks “helped produce a nation of coffee snobs willing to pay $4 a cup,” said Lance Benzel in The Colorado Springs Gazette. Now it's trying to get “the very coffee aficionados who honed their tastes—and raised their standards—with Starbucks” to embrace its new instant coffee, VIA Ready Brew. VIA hits stores nationwide Tuesday, and Starbucks has “high hopes” it can get coffee fans to rethink how they drink coffee—again.
It’s doing more than hoping, said Emily Bryson York in Advertising Age. The famously advertising-shy company is spending real money to promote its “much-lauded instant product”—it launched the VIA ad campaign on Saturday Night Live. Instant coffee is a $17 billion market, globally, with American coffee drinkers “a small minority," so there’s clearly room for growth.
The "success or failure" could come down to taste, said Trent Rowe in The Ledger of Lakeland, Fla. In my taste test, the instant Italian Roast could “best be described as a nondescript brew,” maybe even a little “wimpy.” The price isn’t, though—at 12 packets for $10.
That’s kind of “expensive for instant coffee, but not for a Starbucks coffee,” said Talk About Coffee. And while the independent taste reviews have been “mixed,” they “trend toward the positive.” If nothing else, VIA lives up to its “ad line —‘not your mother’s instant coffee’—with plenty of room to spare,” and it might be a nice option for hikes or late nights at the office.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How to make classic pulled pork
- How The Killing survived two cancellations and ended on its own terms
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
Subscribe to the Week