Mabie and I decided to treat ourselves to Starbucks Coffee yesterday and we got something extra to go along with our two grande Cafe Mochas and slice of Mango Yogurt Cheesecake. The friendly baristas threw in a sample of the coffee giant's latest product, VIA Ready Brew. Essentially it's the closest Starbucks has ever had to instant coffee.
|Does VIA have an uphill battle against frappuccinos?|
|Three steps to genuine brewed coffee|
It's patently amazing how such a small, thin sachet, with barely a handful of "microground" coffee beans, can release such a strong, full-bodied mug of coffee. Drink VIA Colombian as black coffee, and it's as if you ordered a Cafe Americano (essentially, an espresso shot with added hot water) from the baristas themselves. It's that strong.
Adding a teaspoon and a half of sugar cuts the bitterness more than it would in a Cafe Americano, though, purely because there's less water for the sugar to saturate. Still, given how much smaller the sachet is compared to most instant coffee out there, VIA is strong stuff, and great for real coffee enthusiasts.
There lies the rub, however...
From my narrow point of observation, Starbucks and its competitors have split personalities. They have made coffee-blended cold drinks their bread and butter. They may offer exotic coffee variants from around the world, but I don't exactly see people my age enthused about the nuances and flavor notes of, say, Guatemala Casi Cielo beans vs. Ethiopia Sidamo beans. People my age, they're more likely to just order a Java Chip Frappuccino or a Caramel Macchiato - and maybe add more whipped cream or caramel syrup. Beans and brews comparisons, I'd usually hear about from my mom or my aunt Hedwig, because we're fond of tasting different kinds of wine, beer, or other similar-looking drinks and picking out how they differ from each other (e.g. "Carlo Rossi's red wine is very sweet, while a Napa Valley Racehorse Red is very very dry").
|Mango Yogurt Cheesecake at Starbucks|
Which is a shame. I hope I'm wrong. I'm hoping there are more coffee enthusiasts my age than I think there are, who are open to tasting new roasts, brews, basically everything beyond the ubiquitous blended-coffee drink. Openness to new things is always good - especially in VIA's case, where you can have your premium coffee fix and save some money in the process :)