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Starbucks to introduce instant coffee


Toliver
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I'm posting it here instead of the Coffee forum since it's really about fast food/drinks.

The short article:

"Starbucks to introduce instant coffee"

...this won’t be your father’s instant coffee. She said Starbucks has developed technology to “absolutely replicate the taste of Starbucks coffee in an instant form.” Starbucks has been working on the project for 20 years, Varma said.

We had a family friend who travelled quite a bit and she always brought either Nescafé or Taster's Choice with her whenever she would visit us. I thought they tasted okay but were quite a bit different than the real thing. This new product sounds like it could be an improvement. I'd be willing to give it a try and see how it tastes.

Has anyone been in a test market for the product?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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On the Seattle media boards, there are a lot of snarky comments about Via having to taste burnt in order to best capture the Starbuck's experience.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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Is it freeze dried? Is it a liquid concentrate?

How exactly does this work in the store? Do you walk out with a hot cup of coffee or do you get a packet of it in whatever form it's in then mix it up elsewhere?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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How exactly does this work in the store?  Do you walk out with a hot cup of coffee or do you get a packet of it in whatever form it's in then mix it up elsewhere?

Starbucks already has a number of branded products in grocery stores (coffee beans, ice cream), so perhaps that's the market for it?

My mother will happy. *wry*

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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How exactly does this work in the store?  Do you walk out with a hot cup of coffee or do you get a packet of it in whatever form it's in then mix it up elsewhere?

Starbucks already has a number of branded products in grocery stores (coffee beans, ice cream), so perhaps that's the market for it?

My mother will happy. *wry*

Right.. They do. But based on what I read, this will be sold in their actual coffee shops. I suppose it may be sold in other outlets as well, but if it's sold in the coffee shops, is the intent for the customer to actually walk out of the store with a hot cup of coffee made with this instant stuff??

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Clearly Starbusk is feeling the pain from the economy and so many store closings and layoffs:

"Starbucks has been looking to reposition itself away from its reputation as a purveyor of $4 fancy coffee drinks. It reported a big drop in U.S. same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least a year -- in its fiscal first quarter, which ended Jan. 31."

So it's time to release a magical new product:

"The company has been working on the product for more than 20 years and has a patent pending on the technology that will allow it to "absolutely replicate the taste of Starbucks coffee in an instant form," spokesman Vivek Varma said in an e-mail to employees."

I guess we'll find out more when Howard Schultz formally announces the product next Tuesday. Who knows how it will work out for them long term, but for now $3.95 "breakfast pairings" might be a good idea. This is a company with a history of very canny business decisions, so I wouldn't count them out. I just hope that their regular cup of joe doesn't suffer along the way; I still have $22 on my gift card.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I think this is a mistake. A lot of what makes Starbucks as popular as it is comes from the idea that you're getting a high-class product. Whether you are or not is debatable but irrelevant. Instant coffee is not a high-class product, and will probably alienate the customer base Starbucks already has. When Starbucks becomes the Folgers of coffee shops, it can say goodbye to those who frequent it for the prestige for sure.

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How exactly does this work in the store?  Do you walk out with a hot cup of coffee or do you get a packet of it in whatever form it's in then mix it up elsewhere?

Starbucks already has a number of branded products in grocery stores (coffee beans, ice cream), so perhaps that's the market for it?

My mother will happy. *wry*

Right.. They do. But based on what I read, this will be sold in their actual coffee shops. I suppose it may be sold in other outlets as well, but if it's sold in the coffee shops, is the intent for the customer to actually walk out of the store with a hot cup of coffee made with this instant stuff??

What I gather from the article is that customers will walk out with hot coffee. It seems as though it's being pitched at those who are in a rush. Can't wait the whole 2 minutes for your $4 coffee? Wait 30 seconds for $4 instant coffee!

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I doubt they will sell the reconstituted coffee in the stores, other than as samplings. I think this will be something to take away to your home or office.

"The new product, called Via, will be sold at Starbucks stores in packs of three for $2.95 and packs of 12 for $9.95, according to the Wall Street Journal. Customers can "brew" the coffee by emptying the granules into hot water."

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Can someone explain to me the appeal of instant coffee? Is it really much faster than standard coffee? You've got to heat the water, which already takes longer than my Bunn does to brew.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet I can grind my beans and brew the coffee in less time than it takes to heat the water for the instant.

ETA: Also, that's really expensive, considering I can get the real thing for less per cup, and if I'm making it anyway, what exactly am I paying for?

Edited by MikeHartnett (log)
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I would not rule out instant coffee right away, I am curious to see/try what Starbucks comes out with, it could be good to our surprise. I used to drink packaged instant coffee in college, they are cheap and creamer and sugar has already been added, so it's very convenient for me at that time as a student living in dorm room. And just add more water if you think it's too sweet.

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Can someone explain to me the appeal of instant coffee?  Is it really much faster than standard coffee?  You've got to heat the water, which already takes longer than my Bunn does to brew.

In fact, I'd be willing to bet I can grind my beans and brew the coffee in less time than it takes to heat the water for the instant.

ETA: Also, that's really expensive, considering I can get the real thing for less per cup, and if I'm making it anyway, what exactly am I paying for?

It's less mess and requires less equipment which can be important in something like an office or dorm room environment. Also, some places have hot water on tap.

PS: I am a guy.

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How exactly does this work in the store?  Do you walk out with a hot cup of coffee or do you get a packet of it in whatever form it's in then mix it up elsewhere?

Starbucks already has a number of branded products in grocery stores (coffee beans, ice cream), so perhaps that's the market for it?

My mother will happy. *wry*

Right.. They do. But based on what I read, this will be sold in their actual coffee shops. I suppose it may be sold in other outlets as well, but if it's sold in the coffee shops, is the intent for the customer to actually walk out of the store with a hot cup of coffee made with this instant stuff??

What I gather from the article is that customers will walk out with hot coffee. It seems as though it's being pitched at those who are in a rush. Can't wait the whole 2 minutes for your $4 coffee? Wait 30 seconds for $4 instant coffee!

I am not sure how much time it saves if you were just going to buy drip coffee. you still have to stand in line and pay. And you still need them to fill a cup with hot water. If they can fill the cup with hot water, they can fill it with brewed coffee.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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You are not buying instant coffee reconstituted at the store. It is sold in 3 and 12 packs for home and office coffee. Available at Target, Costco, and on-line, as well as retail shops. Not that hard to understand. But at close to $1.00 a cup?

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Long time lurker, choosing instant Starbucks (of all things) to speak up. :blink:

As an experiment, I signed up with a few survey sites to see if they actually were worthwhile, and one of them sent me the new instant Starbucks in exchange for a review.

What arrived was a giant zipper baggie filled with silver foil tubes--you know the Crystal Light style single serving drink tubes? Those.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had zero expectations, since Starbucks to me tastes burnt and strangely oily--I'll pick WaWa coffee over S-bucks any day of the week. This didn't have that weird flavor combo--it just tasted like coffee. Didn't knock my socks off, but it didn't offend me, either. And I can kind of understand the appeal for someone in a one coffee drinker home: you heat up just enough water in the kettle for one person, pour in the packet and done.

I'm spoiled by my boyfriend's home roasted stuff, but if someone gave me a cup of this I wouldn't have to gag it down.

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Long time lurker, choosing instant Starbucks (of all things) to speak up. :blink:

. . .

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had zero expectations, since Starbucks to me tastes burnt and strangely oily--I'll pick WaWa coffee over S-bucks any day of the week. This didn't have that weird flavor combo--it just tasted like coffee. Didn't knock my socks off, but it didn't offend me, either. And I can kind of understand the appeal for someone in a one coffee drinker home: you heat up just enough water in the kettle for one person, pour in the packet and done.

I'm spoiled by my boyfriend's home roasted stuff, but if someone gave me a cup of this I wouldn't have to gag it down.

Thanks for speaking up! It's nice to hear from someone who has actually tried it. Have you had any other instant coffee with which you can compare it to? I read a review that said while it wasn't as good as freshly-brewed coffee, it was better than other instant brands.

Were you by chance able to see the ingredient list? I'm wondering if they add some "extras" to it to make it more like freshly-brewed coffee.

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Here is an article from my new coffee supplier about it:

http://londiniumcoffee.blogspot.com/2009/0...ts-time-to.html

I agree - Starbucks would increase sales if they sold great coffee. Every time I'm in London I will actually arrange to go to Fernandez & Wells (sometimes twice in the same day) to grab a £3 ($6) cup of coffee and a £3.50 ($7) pastry, because they are gorgeous (and yet F&W has the worst seating in London). I have visited the Starbucks literally under my flat window only once this year, and it was because the person I was meeting absolutely insisted.

Good coffee is not hard nor expensive to make - you just need a good bean (which as Starbucks you can get from helping improve your suppliers' operations much like Toyota does), a decent roast (not a BBQ), and enough coffee in the grind.

What surprises me is that a company like Starbucks cannot grasp this. First, Schultz based his initial business model on providing great coffee to the masses, originally. So if he retains any kind of influence over the business surely he should know not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Second, the whole method study/costcutting/etc. approach to recessions really isn't taught in leading business schools anymore (recent graduates perhaps you can check this is true?), so those HBS MBAs currently running the company should know better themselves. With companies like Dunkin' Donuts competing in the low-cost area, they won't last very long!

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Long time lurker, choosing instant Starbucks (of all things) to speak up. :blink:

. . .

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I had zero expectations, since Starbucks to me tastes burnt and strangely oily--I'll pick WaWa coffee over S-bucks any day of the week. This didn't have that weird flavor combo--it just tasted like coffee. Didn't knock my socks off, but it didn't offend me, either. And I can kind of understand the appeal for someone in a one coffee drinker home: you heat up just enough water in the kettle for one person, pour in the packet and done.

I'm spoiled by my boyfriend's home roasted stuff, but if someone gave me a cup of this I wouldn't have to gag it down.

Thanks for speaking up! It's nice to hear from someone who has actually tried it. Have you had any other instant coffee with which you can compare it to? I read a review that said while it wasn't as good as freshly-brewed coffee, it was better than other instant brands.

Were you by chance able to see the ingredient list? I'm wondering if they add some "extras" to it to make it more like freshly-brewed coffee.

Hi, Prasantrin! Unfortunately (not really), I've never had any other instant coffee so I have no basis for comparison. Comparing it to freshly brewed...well, it depends. It would certainly stand up to Maxwell House, Folgers, or similar store brands--heck, I'd even pick it over regular Starbucks brew.

No ingredient list or packaging was included--this was back in October, so my memory is a little foggy--there may have been a Starbucks label on the bag, but that's about it. Apparently, I'm willing to ingest whatever someone sends me without much verification as to what it is. :blink:

I guess I would describe this as a weekday coffee--if you're like me and only give yourself a few minutes to get up and out the door, this is a decent alternative. When I have the time, though, I'll stick to the home roasted and the French press. I'm obviously not a coffee connoisseur--more like a coffee crackhead who'll resort to anything to get her fix--so YMMV.

Edited by meredith h. (log)
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