I've taste-tested two varieties of Starbucks new Via "ready brew" coffee and it tastes just like instant to me. I rate it a solid C- compared to fresh-brewed java or not quite as good as the "not too terribly terrible" assessment made by fellow blogger Dana Blankenhorn.
Starbucks did blind testing to see if it could fool its customers, but I don't drink coffee with a blindfold. From Oct. 2-5, Starbucks customers could see if they could blindly pick Via Columbia or fresh-brewed Pike Place. I'm not sure if Starbucks compiled the results.
My coffee happens to be Starbucks French Roast, a dark and hardy brew that we buy in 2.5 pound bags of whole beans at Costco. I drink two cups every morning. Via-agra is not even close.
I tried the Italian Roast and the Columbia versions. Both tasted like instant with that somewhat bitter freeze-dried after taste.
It didn't have the punch of the freshly-brewed French Roast. Actually, I twittered about Via and got the following response from a former colleague: "Chew it raw, no water. It's a repurposed Tasters' Choice trick from college..." Make sure you brush afterward.
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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com