Starbucks Via to Add Instant Flavors

Starbucks Via to Add Instant Flavors

Starbucks is going to be adding a few flavored options the the relatively new "instant" Via line - including vanilla, mocha, caramel and cinnamon. These new flavors will be hitting stores this fall and all are derived from natural ingredients. This is a big leap forward for the Seattle coffee giant who has been taking increasing market share for "instant" coffee since the Via introduction. This is great news, right?

Well... I don't know about that. I am actually not a big fan of this line because I can grind my coffee fresh from home using a very fancy coffee machine - so I might be a little impartial, but, to me it seems like they are doing the "one step forward, two steps back" approach to customer loyalty and retention. I understand not everyone has a coffee machine that will grind the coffee for them - but even the pre ground stuff is better than the Via (in my opinion). This company is built on fresh coffee, hand made products, friendly service, and great environment - the back bone to all of this being a very large fan base. In recent times they have made a few mistakes - like getting so large in such a short time, diluting the brand, and other big corporate no-no's.

Then it seemed like they reined it all in - slowed down the store openings, focused on the coffee and the customer again, and started to think about providing the service we had all come to know and love. With the introduction of the Via line I really feel that they are taking two steps back again - regardless of the brand name - "instant coffee" is a dehydrated and over processed product that will always be inferior to the original. Via might be slightly better tasting than the other offerings but it is still a highly processed product which steers clear of the core values of the company and at $1.19 per package ( $5.95 divided by 5 packages per box) you can get the same stuff FRESH - right from the store! Now they are going to add "flavors" to this frankencoffee - because adding your own sugar and flavorings in addition to the water is too difficult? I guess I just don't understand it all.

I applaud the company in most respects and I am thankful they are keeping a large portion of the Seattle area (and nationwide) employed - but this is just such a bad idea, that seems like it will only get worse.