I decided to bite the bullet today and pony up $3 for a 3-pack of Starbucks VIA.
My best option for backpacking so far has been Medaglia D'Oro instant espresso – which isn't terrible.
So does Starbucks VIA live up to it's hype?
In its dry form, the instant coffee resembled very finely ground regular coffee, and doesn't at all look like the typical freeze-dried granules of the revolting varieties like Nescafe and Folgers.
The taste test? I wouldn't go as far as to call it great – but it's actually pretty decent. On the trail – I expect it will be fabulous. It has the grittiness and texture of real brewed black coffee, and almost tastes like the real thing.
I mixed it with less water than recommended to make it nice and strong, and noticed it left a concentration in the bottom that was very bitter where the grounds didn't completely dissolve.
Definitely coming on some trips with me this year
Cool – we can have a taste-off. I just ordered some Nescafe Espresso (import) based on the BPL thread – http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=463&startat=20. Will let you know how it compares.
I tried to score some free samples of the new instant Starbucks product to no avail about a week ago. Then, yesterday morning a friend comes strolling into the BPL office and he has a three pack of the stuff in hand that his dad (who was visiting from Chicago) had brought with him to share.
So, a few minutes ago I brought some water to 180 deg F, added it to my cup with the “soluble microground coffee” and am sipping away as I type. * sip * My first impressions are very good. The quantity of grounds in the packet are the right amount so that a twelve ounce mug of hot water doesn’t dilute the flavor (the problem with Taster’s Choice instant). And the coffee bean chosen by Starbucks has a rich and quality flavor (unlike Folger’s instant).
Pretty much every starbucks in seattle has a big VIA display in their stores. I imagine it will roll out to other cities soon. Meanwhile, I beleive you can buy it online.
I’ll have to keep my eyes open. Although at $1 apiece I may continue to settle for Folgers singles.
Don’t see in any Starbucks in Vancouver yet, even near Broadway and Main where all the big backpackers store are located.