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Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

Camping Can Do: Make Coffee Anywhere

A few weeks ago Starbucks sent us a sample of VIA, its new instant coffee. Being a bit of a coffee snob I was kind of grossed out but decided to try it on my upcoming climbing trip anyway.

The best thing VIA has going for it is its size — it's small. Normally when I pack for camping I bring the works: coffee beans, portable grinder, and a french press. I was so happy to have more space in my pack and I definitely noticed a lighter load on my back. Score one for VIA! Was it as good as the Blue Bottle coffee I normally bring with me? Uh, no. Not even close, but I didn't expect it to be.

I think the point of VIA is convenience — you can have a OK cup of coffee anywhere and it'll be easy. It's definitely the best instant coffee I've ever tried and it even tasted better than some drip coffee I've had. Although the Colombian blend I tried was a bit bitter at the end, it had a nice, mellow flavor too. For a touch of sweetness, I added another camping shortcut to the mix —shelf stable Horizon organic vanilla milk. My companion, who is no coffee snob, said it was the best cup of coffee he's ever had while camping.


Though I won't be using VIA at home, I think it's a good choice for backpacking, camping, or for traveling anywhere you need coffee quickly. From now on, I'll be bringing it with me on all of my climbing trips.



Join The Conversation
julea julea 7 years
I work at Starbucks-- they are REALLY on us to sell, sell, sell this stuff. Although it's not bad, and would come in hand, like you said, camping, or at hotels with crappy coffee, or at the office, or in recipes, etc, it's tough when they base your job performance on how much you sell. :( I don't like to push people! I feel like, ppl come to Sbucks for a coffee and a snack, not to be harassed. Anyway, take pity on your barista and buy a 3-pack or something. Please? Sigh.
vanillabean vanillabean 7 years
Starbucks was running a taste challenge promotion couple of weeks ago--and I guessed right, I could taste the difference. But it is good for the convenience, or in an emergency, a great back up when the real thing isn't available. Oh, and for the troops! They were taking customer donations -- perfect for that situation.
GirlOverboard GirlOverboard 7 years
I have a few little packets at my desk that I got as a free sample from my local Starbucks. I have yet to actually try it, but I may give it a shot tomorrow. Normally in any situation where I need a pick me up but a cup of coffee just isn't feasible for whatever reason, I go for one of those 5 hour energy shots. They're the only thing I've tried that keeps me going without a crash (as long as I only drink 1/3 of the shot at a time)... but we're hoping to get a couple of hikes and at least one more short camping trip in before it gets too cold so being able to just boil water on a portable stove then add one of these packets will (hopefully) be a good way to perk me up and keep me warm. We'll see!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I can't stand instant coffee. I'd rather go without any coffee or else drink tea...anything but that instant crap.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I hate instant coffee with a vengeance. I'd rather drink red bull which gives me huge chest pains. When camping I take tea. :)
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
It's actually better than the drip coffee in my office, and so I keep several packets in my purse in case I need an afternoon pick-me-up and I don't have time to walk to Starbucks to get the non-instant variety. I should add that the first time I bought some VIA packets, the starbucks people were really pushing the fact that it's apparently "natural" and doesn't contain the "bad chemicals" that other instant coffee has in it. I didn't really follow up on these claims, though.
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