Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Superior (And Expensive) Cup Of Instant Coffee: Starbucks Colombia Via.

The Good: Easy to prepare, Does not taste bad, Good, basic coffee taste
The Bad: Exceptionally expensive, Environmental impact of packaging, Nothing overly distinctive on the taste front.
The Basics: A surprisingly good, but very basic, instant coffee, Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia coffee is expensive, but worth it for instant coffee enthusiasts on-the-go!

I am not a huge fan of “adjectives” foods, foods where the flavor is defined by a location or some abstract term like “Summer Fun” or “Hearth’s Brew.” With coffee, having the flavor of the coffee defined by where the beans came from is not at all uncommon. So, Starbucks having an instant coffee in its Via line called “Colombia” is not exactly atypical for a coffee company. I shall admit up front that I am not a sophisticated coffee connoisseur to be able to taste the difference between Colombian, Peruvian or Mexican coffee beans. I’m not sure how a “Colombia” coffee is “supposed” to taste.

As it is, the resulting flavor from the Colombia coffee is very simply coffee-flavored. While it tastes good, these Via packets are still a bit pricy and it is very hard to justify the expense of this instant coffee when one could get quite a bit more regular-brew coffee for the same price as the 8-serving pack.


Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia 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 eight packets and at a standard price of about $7.99 per box, they are wickedly expensive by my count.

Ease Of Preparation

Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia instant coffee mix is exceptionally simple to make. The single serving is the packet and six 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 near-boiling water over the powder and stir. Stir the powder until there are no blobs of coffee granules visible in the water. The beverage will have an exceptionally dark color to it, almost black.


The Starbucks Via Colombia smells like a dark, rich coffee. There was nothing distinctive in the aroma; this is very much a basic coffee scent.

Rather predictably, then, the Colombia is a very strong coffee taste. While this is labeled as a “Medium” coffee, it has a lot of the properties of a bolder, darker coffee. Full-flavored, with a hint of a slight nutty aftertaste, this coffee is rich without being oppressive or overly bitter. In fact, this might be the best instant coffee to hold its own with additives like sugar or creamer.

On its own, though, the coffee is more bland than incredible.


Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia instant coffee is simply instant ground coffee and therefore is entirely lacking in nutritional value. There are only five calories per packet and that’s it, as far as the nutritional value goes. There is also caffeine, but how much is a mystery. The caffeine in it is sufficient enough that I am a little jittery after drinking the full six to eight ounces!

This is made exclusively of Colombian instant coffee.


So long as one gets Starbucks Via Ready Brew Colombia 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 July 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 Via Colombia might be expensive, but for an instant coffee, it is remarkably rich and serves as a great base for coffee drinkers who have the taste, but not the time, for great coffee.

For other Starbucks reviews, please visit my reviews of:
Starbucks Via Vanilla Coffee
Starbucks Cafe Estima Coffee
Starbucks Via Iced 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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