I’ve written some pretty mean things about Starbucks. I hate their coffee and I think they know that. Yet, they still keep inviting me to their events and I still keep going. They may believe that any press is good press but there’s no guarantee that I will write about it at all. ( I often go to press events and never report on it. Some of them are complete snoozers.) Maybe they think they’ll convince me one day, or that the guilt from all the schwag and free lunches will turn me? In the words of Borat, “Is Not.” (read it like iz snot) Personally, I keep going to these events because I do always learn something, however small it is. I meet other writers and bloggers (which I love), and I got a free lunch at Craftbar.

VIA packet

This Luncheon started with a brief intro and story of how VIA, Starbucks instant coffee, came about. I think they want us to call it “ready brew” and not instant coffee, but it’s instant coffee.  They have a patent pending microground technology that supposedly makes their Columbia “ready brew” taste exactly like the Pike Place Roast (freshly brewed). I’m not scientific enough to know if that’s just marketing fluff but I will tell you that I hate the Columbia VIA as much as I hate Park Place Roast (that one time I tried it).

VIA microground

I don’t remember well enough what Starbucks coffee tastes like to know if it’s the same but you can try it for yourself. From October 2nd to October 5th, you can go to any Starbucks in the US and take the Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge. All participants will get a certificate for a free 12oz brewed coffee and a coupon for $1 off of a 3 or 12-pack of VIA.

VIA packets

Starbucks is releasing two flavors of VIA. I’ve already mentioned that the Columbia tastes terrible to me, acidic as always, but they have an Italian Roast that is tolerable. I’d accept it if I was on a plane. I’d take it over Sanka. But, I’m not ready to go buy it yet, and I’m probably not even going to drink the packets they gave me.

Starbucks Schwag

By the way, if anyone wants this Starbucks schwag, leave a comment telling me you want it. You have to be willing to pick it up in NYC because I’m not willing to mail it. If there’s more than 1 person, I’ll do one of the random number generator things. I don’t know what they think anyone would do with this score pad though. That’s a lot of paper. I guess you can have a taste challenge party. =/

VIA score sheet

On to more fun things. Lunch at Craftbar was really good. We started with a very fresh salad of mixed greens with refreshing shallot vinaigrette. The “fried” chicken isn’t actually fried so it wasn’t quite as crispy but it was so juicy and flavorful. The warm chocolate brownie was pretty average but hey, it was a free lunch.

mixed greens with shallot vinaigrette "Fried" organic chicken

I had a great time chatting with the ladies sitting at my table:

Courtney Adams of Uptown Comfort
Ingrid Abramovitch of Artisan Books
Maris Callahan of In Good Taste
Sarah Caron of Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Sarah LeTrent of AOL Living: Food

So, Starbucks, you got me to write a post about VIA (no coercing, they didn’t even ask if I was going to post about it), but it was only semi-positive. I do have to stay honest, but it seems you can understand that, so I hope you’ll keep inviting me to your events. Cheers!

posted by jessica at 01:44 PM Filed under News, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.