VIA ™ is a new instant coffee product sold by Starbucks and though they probably won’t ever use the word “instant” in its description that’s what it is. You make it by simply adding water – hot or cold. VIA comes in a little beef jerky size packet and it is a horrendously bad idea! If Starbucks doesn’t take VIA off the market soon I’m afraid it will have a long term, devastating effect on the brand. And please don’t write me saying how strong last week’s sales were. Creating an instant Starbucks experience is counter to what the brand stands for. This move is akin to the failed over-exposure of Krispy Kreme… selling old donuts in gas stations.
Most everyone has been to a Starbucks and knows its sounds and smells. Some of the sounds, unfortunately, have been removed thanks to the addition of time-saving espresso machines. Another mistake. (Remember the jarring thump thump the barista made as s/he settled your ground coffee into the metal espresso vessel?)
The store, the cup, the cardboard cup insulator, beans and music — the starched baristas all contribute to the rich coffee experience. Instant Starbucks removes it all. Thousands of consumers will pour the VIA granules into their chipped Dodgers cups tainted by a hints of soap and say “Hmm, tastes like Folgers.” Lose the VIA, Howard Schultz…and fast. Bad experiment. Peace!