Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vastly Overpriced, Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced Is Still Worth Picking Up.

The Good: Easy to prepare, Good taste when chilled.
The Bad: Exceptionally expensive, Environmental impact of packaging
The Basics: A good, but not superlative, instant iced coffee beverage, Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced coffee is more average than exceptional.

Sometimes, my wife and I have pretty significant differences of opinions on some things. So, for example, she has been drinking Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced like it’s water for the past few weeks and I have discovered I am not wild about it (especially the expense of it). I’ve also noticed that she uses a lot of coffee creamer in hers, whereas, for the purpose of reviews, I try to see just how a product stands on its own. Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced is good on its own, but only when it is actually chilled.


Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced instant coffee is part of Starbucks's new premium instant coffee line and one suspects that the company is trying to compete with the established home-brewing coffee companies, like Taster’s Choice. This mix now comes in plastic tubes in cardboard containers easily found in the grocery store. The box has six packets and at a standard price of about $7.99 per box, that is wickedly expensive by my count.

Ease Of Preparation

Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced instant coffee mix is exceptionally simple to make. The single serving is the packet and sixteen fl. oz. of water. There is no measuring of the product involved, so this is a very simple beverage to prepare.

The top of the single-serve packet has a perforated edge and one need simply tear open the top, which is quite easy, and pour the contents of the packet into a mug that is at least eight ounces large. Then, simply pour cold water over the powder and stir or shake. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of coffee granules visible in the water. The beverage will have a light brown color to it. After mixing it up, I highly recommend freezing the beverage in order to get it to taste as good as it can!


The Starbucks Via Iced has a surprisingly faint coffee scent to it. This led me to anticipate that the drink would be fairly mild, weak even.

Fortunately, Starbucks manages to surprise still! While not the darkest coffee flavor, the Via Iced has a strong enough flavor to clearly be coffee. This iced coffee is a little drier than some, arguably from the sugar that is in it. This does not have a very bitter flavor because it comes presweetened.

Chilled, as it is intended to be, the flavors of both the coffee and the sweetener are heightened. Iced, as it is intended to be, Via Iced is actually a fairly smoky-flavored coffee drink that is sweet enough to cut the usual bitter aftertaste that coffee has! This is actually delicious when properly cooled.


Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced instant coffee is a coffee mix and therefore is entirely lacking in nutritional value. There are two hundred calories per packet and 24 grams of carbs (22 grams of sugar). There is also caffeine, but how much is a mystery. This is not a beverage intended to be a health drink or a drink one might survive on. The caffeine in it is sufficient enough that I am a little jittery after drinking the full sixteen ounces!


So long as one gets Starbucks Via Ready Brew Iced instant coffee mix in the packet, it ought to stay usable. Visiting my local supermarket, most of the packages of this instant coffee had an expiration date over a year away, though the ones I bought on clearance expire in May of this year. One assumes it will last quite a while and dissolve appropriately when one attempts to use it. The packets, for those of us who consider the environmental impact of such things, are terribly wasteful and expensive. The foil/plastic wrappers are not recyclable anywhere I've been.

Cleanup is very easy as well. If the product spills while dumping it into the mug, simply wipe it up or brush it up with a dry or damp cloth. If it has already been reconstituted with water into coffee, simply wipe it up. Light fabrics are likely to stain if this gets on them, in which case consult your fabric care guide to clean it up.


Starbucks is selling its name and its very pricy coffee directly to consumers and I, for one, am not overly impressed with the Via Iced.

For other coffee reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Tim Horton’s Fine Grind Coffee
Taster’s Choice Gourmet Roast Instant Coffee
Starbucks Cafe Estima Coffee


For other food or drink reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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