November 4, 2010

Review: Starbucks VIA Caramel and Mocha Instant Coffee

Review Single Serve Coffeestarbucks__via_Packaging.JPG

Upon a recent stop at our local Starbucks, we decided to try-out 2 of the new flavored VIA varieties which had piqued our interest the most... their Caramel & Mocha flavors. Here's a quick review of both touching on a few key points.

First impressions

By now, anyone who's tried previous incarnations of VIA realize what it's "known for"... the residual microgrit of the undiluted coffee grounds left at the bottom of your cup. We were expecting more of the same and yes, such was the case but not as bad as before. We think Starbucks might be listening to customer complaints and are likely working on reducing the amount of undiluted solids in their mixes since we experienced far less than with their previous unflavored varieties.

Pricing in America is $6.95 USD per 6-pack while our Canadian Correspondent, SH, reported pricing in Canada is $1 more at $7.95 CAD per 6-pack. If you decide to purchase all 4 flavors you can be pushing anywhere from $28 USD to $36 CAD depending which state/province you're in and add taxes. Rather steep for instant coffee, although when you look at where Starbucks supposedly sourced some of their ingredients plus the global trend of rising coffee bean prices, it can somewhat justify their final pricing.

One good thing is that Starbucks locations are currently running a promotion where they'll give you $1 off via a rebate card which is valid until Nov. 15th (offer not valid on 3-packs). SH reported that his Starbucks even gave him 3 extra cards for his next purchase. In other unrelated news, Starbucks in Canada are slowly starting to get the same food menu items as what's currently available in USA, so it's nice to see all stores in North America will eventually be selling the same products. We wish more companies would adopt this approach.

Appearance & aroma

Each flavor mix contains microgrind coffee, flavoring powder and generous amounts of cane sugar. You can clearly see the cane sugar crystals although it was difficult to tell the difference between the coffee granules & the flavoring powder. When brewed black, you don't notice any difference, but once some cream is added (trust us, you DON'T need sugar), the true colors burst forth. The Caramel had a tan/beige color traditional of caramel sauce and the mocha looked more like a cup of hot chocolate than a cup of coffee. Nice visual impact overall. As for aroma, each flavor's scent lived-up to its namesake. The caramel had nice notes of buttery caramel present and the mocha had notes of dark chocolate throughout.

starbucks__via_Mocha_Powder.JPG

Taste

Ah yes, the most important category. What good is an instant coffee if it tastes horrible? Well, thankfully, that's not the case here. We think people who have yet to try a flavored coffee at a Starbucks (seriously, do such people exist?) will be a bit jarred by the punch of sweetness in these VIA flavors, but for those of us who are familiar with Starbucks penchant for drowning their specialty drinks in flavored coffee syrups, these taste on-par with what you'd get at your local location. Suffice it to say they're both VERY reminiscent of Davinci or Torani flavored coffee syrups. A quick gander at Starbuck's VIA site revealed yet another option for these drinks... use hot milk instead of water. Hmm... we'll have to give that a try sometime, but we opted to stick with the traditional prep method for this review.

starbucks__via_Mocha_Comparison.jpg
Mocha before and after some cream added.

starbucks__via_Caramel_Comparison.jpg
Caramel before and after some cream added.

Overall

Starbucks have been openly promoting the fact that these flavored VIA varieties are made with all-natural ingredients sourced from various areas of the World. If that's truly the case, then we can understand the pricing and compared to some other flavored instant coffees, we have to admit VIA has them beat flavor-wise.

Bottom line is Starbucks has managed to take the taste of their in-house flavored coffees and recreate them in portable, single-use instant packets. There's actual substance here... you won't feel that you're drinking dull, bland brown water with what's offered in this lineup. If you're still undecided, pick the flavor you'd most like to try... vanilla, cinnamon, caramel or mocha & have at it. Chances are if you don't like the taste, someone else in your family probably will.

If we were to score these 2 instant coffees using our usual scale, we'd have to rate both in the low 90 range at "exceptional" when compared to other brands of flavored instant coffees.

You can find all 4 flavors at your local Starbucks for $6.95 USD or $7.95 CAD per 6-pack (don't forget about the current $1 discount until Nov 15). They can also be purchased online in America via (heh, pun intended) www.starbucksstore.com.

We would like to note that we purchased these VIA instant coffees for the purpose of this review.

Read More in: Coffee Concentrates & Extracts | Reviews | Starbucks Single Serve Coffee

Share this Article with others: social bookmarking

Related Articles:

Came straight to this page? Visit Single Serve Coffee for all the latest news.

Posted by Jay Brewer at November 4, 2010 7:43 AM

Recent Comments
Post a comment









Remember personal info?




Please enter the letter "c" in the field below:
Please press Post only once. Submission of comments takes up to 20 seconds because of Spam Filtering.

Join the Mailing List Mailing List
Enter your Email

Subscribe - RSS

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg

Recent Reviews
Recent Comments
Jean Smith: I am sorry to report I will no longer byuy read more
AO: I would probably stick to a Java Stout or maybe read more
DAngel: Has anyone tried the new Target Market Pantry Classic coffee read more
Thomas Davie: I hunted around and read the Cnet review for the read more
AO: I remember reading about this here a couple years ago. read more
SSC Forums

FoodPire

KCup_Ambassador_2.0_Badge-02.jpg

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Visit our other properties at Blogpire.com!

All items Copyright © 1999-2014 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy