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