Vince and I stopped by a Starbucks tonight (I'm still trying to find some good local coffee roasters in San Diego - because really, Starbucks is not my cup of tea - please excuse a bad pun.... or not a pun because it's coffee and not tea, hmm) anyways, as I was ordering I notice a giant display for a new Starbucks product, Via, the instant coffee packet. Now, let me stop right here to say that no genuine, self-loving coffee shop would ever imagine to sell instant coffee. Yet, as I was ordering and marveling over this new addition, a loyal employee handed me four sample packets of Via and began the scripted praise of this break-through coffee innovation that tastes just as good as the real deal. Again, let me stop right here, this employee said that in taste tests she and the other baristas couldn't tell the difference between Via, the instant coffee, and the fresh brewed coffee that is the Starbucks staple. What exactly should we conclude from this statement? That either, the employees are so coffee illiterate that they cannot tell the difference between instant and brewed coffee, or Starbucks brewed coffee is of such poor quality that even a powdered-just-add-water version can easily compare in a tastes tests. Neither option bodes well for Starbucks, so can I humbly offer to this corporation that they cease and desist selling this product or at the very least, stop advertising it as an equal alternative to their genuine coffee?
I suppose I should at least try the Via packets I was given by this coffee-expert of an employee, and if by some miracle they really are as good as brewed coffee - I will be forced to come back to eat my words. If not, I will continue my search for a genuine local coffee shop with renewed fervor.