Coffee culture is evolving, from simple espresso makers to Japanese Syphon bars, French presses, and the reinvention of instant. Now that American entrepreneurs are ready to import $20,000 machines to serve up a nuanced brew, The Luxury Spot is on a quest to try out some alternatives to Dunkin, Starbucks, and our reliable coffee maker.
Launching this month with tremendous fanfare, Starbucks is expanding its brand to include a premium instant coffee called VIA, available in two flavors. Starbucks claims to use only premium beans that are properly roasted, and have added a mysterious additional step to make it taste just like the original.
They sent us some coffee packs to try, as well as the stylish VIA tumbler. We substituted VIA for our morning and afternoon coffee sessions to see if it was worthy.
Preparation was easy, just add hot water and stir. The flavor was balanced and nice, certainly better than other instant coffees Iâ€™ve tried, but it still had the distinct charred bite of instant coffee. Many Starbucks fans enjoy the bitterness of their regular brew, which VIA couldnâ€™t exactly match. Still itâ€™s a suitable replacement for your coffee break, especially if you donâ€™t have the chance to step outside. At $1 a cup, however, its more than 5x the cost of comparable Folgers.
*** of a possible 5
$9.99 for 12 servings @ any Starbucks location or
Ronco Coffeetime Cold Brew System
Cold brew methods claim to produce coffee concentrate with a less acidic taste, perfect for cold coffee beverages and a milder hot cup. You essentially let the grounds infuse cold for a period of 12 hours, strain into a container, and thatâ€™s it.
The Coffeetime System is a very simple and easy set to perform this operation, is easy to clean and works well. The coffee concentrate it produced was not as espresso concentrated as Iâ€™d imagined, but I was surprised by the great taste and less acidic brew. Its great to have a bottle of concentrate in the fridge for use in coffee deserts, iced coffees, or a microwaved to go cup.
**** of a possible 5.
$19.99 @ Walmart, Walgreens, or Here