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A Tale of Three Flavors: Trying out Starbucks’ Via Flavored Coffee

Posted Oct 10 2010 10:21am

I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately.  A lot.  I am generally more of a tea drinker.  My usual morning:  Wake up,  make tea,  write/read blogs.

The stress of job and apartment searching has led to several restless nights over the past week. Living in San Francisco is expensive.  Luckily, I met a very cool potential roommate the other day.  She is in the same boat as I am,  looking for someone to share the costs of living while we get on our feet.  I went to the city on Friday to check out an apartment with her;  the apartment was given to someone else.  Back to searching, but I do have more hope now that I have someone to look with.

So lack of sleep = exponential growth in my coffee consumption.

On a recent trip to Starbucks, the friendly barista let me know that my drink would be free if I tried out their new flavored Via packets.  Why not?  I went home with a box of Via Cinnamon Spice as well as samples of the Vanilla and Caramel flavors.

Thus began my quest to try out all of the Starbucks Via Flavors.

At home with my new instant coffee, the first thing I notice is the description on the box. “Natural, lightly sweetened.”  Oops.  That means added sugar!  I usually avoid such things.

Let’s take a look at the nutrition label:

Okay, so only 60 calories per serving. That isn’t that bad.  However, the first ingredient is sugar, and that is where all of the calories are coming from.  On principle, I usually avoid drinks with added sugar.  I prefer my calories to be justified…

…But I’d decided to try them all, and I did!  First flavor up:  Cinnamon Spice

If you aren’t familiar with Starbucks Via, they are packets of instant coffee powder which you pour into a mug with hot water.  I have never actually tried the original, unflavored Via,  so I can’t compare these to the original.  Their best asset is their convenience–making coffee doesn’t usually appeal to me, it seems like so much work!

The powder blended very quickly and to a good consistency.  I didn’t even stir this cup!  Shown:  Cinnamon Spice Via packet + hot water + soy milk.  I liked the Cinnamon Spice–it reminded me of the Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte which I like to get.

Next up:  Vanilla

A lighter flavor, nice and aromatic.  Still a little too sweet for my taste, though.

Last but not least:  Caramel

I was surprised I liked this one so much.  Usually I prefer my coffee to be less sweet, and this was definitely the sweetest out of the three.  Maybe because I expect caramel to be very sweet?  This was like liquid candy.

Here you can see the powder before water is added.

My verdict:

While I enjoyed trying the different Starbucks Via flavors,  I think my favorite part was their convenience.  I would definitely prefer these and be more likely to buy them again in the future if Starbucks came out with a sugar-free version.  As I said before,  I love going to Starbucks to order their Skinny lattes, which are made with sugar-free syrup.

As for now,  I will probably buy Via again in the future, but I will stick to the unflavored, unsweetened version.  I enjoyed the flavors, but I am not a fan of drinks with added sugar.

Have you tried any of Starbucks’ Vias, either flavored or original? What was your opinion?

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