July 19, 2010

Starbucks Via Iced Coffee Review


Starbucks recently announced a new Starbucks Via variety for iced coffee - just in time for the warm summer weather. Starbucks Via - for hot coffee was launched last year with fanfare offering it as the way to have high quality Starbucks coffee away from home. The idea behind Starbucks Via is that when you combine instant coffee and microground coffee beans you get a better tasting drink. Starbucks up-versioned the Via product by adding sugar to make it "Lightly Sweetened".

So while most people (including me) thought that the Via for hot coffee was fairy mediocre, the Starbucks Via for Iced Coffee looks promising. I recently grabbed a pack at a Starbucks store on the way to our beach vacation where I had plenty of time to enjoy cool coffee and hot weather. See below for our thoughts and suggestions...... I was on my way to vacation and picked up a package of these in the airport Starbucks - someone had grabbed one of the packets out of mine - sadly only got 4 for the price of five.

Overall Opinion - Pretty Good Drink, Quick to Make and Quick to Enjoy


The Starbucks Via for Iced Coffee is a pretty good way to enjoy a quick coffee while on the go or when you don't have time or patience to brew your own iced coffee. The flavor is a medium roasted coffee with a few top notes, but overall flavor comes in the form of good solid coffee base notes with a solid acidity balance. I drank it alone and with milk, over ice and just cold water to experiment. For me, the colder the better, and a splash of milk was a good addition (I usually drink iced coffee with milk). Overall it is fairly sweet - not exactly make your teeth hurt sweet but certainly on the sweet side. Note the suspended microground coffee makes this a fairly opaque coffee drink giving it the look of a strong cup to back the flavor profile.

I prefer a shot of espresso or two from one of my machines, over ice versus the Via Iced Coffee, but I suspect the Via Iced Coffee will be good for a lot of people's tastes.

Grit - The microground coffee was an issue when I drank the hot Starbucks Via, as it left sediment down the bottom of the cup. Iced Via is no different, and I had to either down the coffee in a few minutes, keep swirling the iced cubes or flat out stir the coffee to keep the finely ground coffee suspended. This wasn't a surprise to me given what I saw with the Hot Via, but an unwelcome occurrence again.

How Many Calories in a Starbucks Via Iced Coffee?

Well, according to the label, there are only 50 calories (from the 11 grams of sugar and some attributable to the coffee), which isn't so bad. The problem is that a serving size is 1/2 packet, or an 8 ounce glass. The packet actually makes 16 ounces (according to the directions), so your Starbucks Via Iced Coffee has 100 calories per pack, before any milk. Not terrible either, but I hate it when manufacturers don't take the opportunity to clarify what calorie level is in each serving as recommended by the manufacturer. With the extra sugar, the packet is quite a bit larger than the regular Via pouches, but still very easy to stow in a backpack, desk drawer or a purse.


Starbucks Via for Iced Coffee is priced at $5.95 for 5 packets, pretty steep when you consider the 133 grams in the package is mostly sugar. This could get pricy if you aren't used to buying coffee outside the home, but is a fair price to pay if you want to skip the coffee shop or coffee machine and grab a quick afternoon pick-me-up. If you are replacing ESE pods of a Nespresso capsule that you use to brew iced coffee, the price isn't bad; I pay about $0.50+ per cup when I use those, and I usually brew a double.

Starbucks Via Iced Coffee is available at Starbucks Stores and at its online store.

Starbucks Via for hot coffee on the left vs. Via Iced Pouch on the right

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Posted by Scott Martin at July 19, 2010 9:58 AM
Recent Comments

Starbucks should consider creating some sort of filter system (i.e. like you see on conventional tea bags) to prevent the micro-grit in both the hot & cold versions of their VIA drinks. Not sure how they could go about it, plus it would probably result in the overall cost going up a bit, but I think that's one of the #1 reasons why users don't care for VIA in the first place... too much grit.

Posted by: SH at July 21, 2010 10:22 AM
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