REVIEW: Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte

Written by | February 10, 2014

Topics: 3 Rating, Coffee, Starbucks

Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte

I have personally ordered maybe four different things at a Starbucks in my lifetime. This is not because I never go to Starbucks, but because I find myself with a crippling stammer and irrational fear every time I approach the register.

My method was usually to ask a friend to order for me, and then order whatever they gave me for the next three years if it was good. I am consistently tempted to ask for a mocha-chocalata-yaya and see what comes out. Forget the “secret menu” guides all over the Internet. I need a manual for navigating the printed one.

The problem is, I can’t really bring myself to like black coffee. I love the smell. I love the energy. I love the idea of permanently staining my teeth in rebellion against my body at a young age. But every time I have a cup I cringe a little and leave most of it sitting there. And, being an ignorant novice coffee drinker, I don’t know how to make anything but black coffee. I’m not sophisticated enough to like the coffee I can make at home, but I’m too afraid to learn how to order anything I might actually like.

I dreamed that these Starbucks Via Lattes would fill this void. I could finally learn to drink a morning coffee like a real adult without having to embarrass myself in front of a barista. The idea of not having to put on pants to get said morning coffee was equally appealing.

I purchased an individual trial pack at Starbucks for a dollar, choosing to try the vanilla over the mocha. I was first shocked by the size of these. They are not your normal instant coffee packet, but probably four times larger.

Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte Instructions

The instructions are pretty minimal, but include a little infographic that tells you what to do. It seemed pretty straight forward, and I do have a high school diploma, so I assumed I had it under control. I made a cup of hot water with a Keurig machine, dumped the packet in, and stirred. It was not until I finished making it that I realized I was not supposed to pour the powder into the boiling water. So maybe words would’ve been helpful.

Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte Powder

I was then surprised by the color. There did not appear to be any coffee granules at all in this pouch. Instead, there was an endless stream of a powdery white substance. Although many do refer to coffee as their crack, so maybe this makes some sense.

Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte Closeup

This drink was really sweet. And not in the good way of “hot chocolate sweet” or “vanilla milkshake sweet.” It was like a cup of hot, watery milk with six packets of sugar. I was even hoping some more coffee taste would come through, but it was nonexistent. Since the ingredients list both dairy powder and sugar before coffee, I probably should have expected this. But if even I am wishing for some stronger coffee flavor, you know you’ve taken it too far.

I could not finish this. It was intolerably sweet, and this is coming from the girl who will treat frosting as a cookie dip and add extra Oreos to cookies and cream ice cream. Maybe if iced and blended this could make a decent at home Frappuccino? But that seems like far too much work for something coming from an instant package.

This did not solve my coffee dilemmas. My only hope at this point is that Starbucks starts up a delivery service with a tracker like Domino’s so I can order my coffee online without human interaction and know when to put my pants on before it arrives. Until then, you will find me drinking one of my four safe things at Starbucks, dreaming of the day I can join the elite ranks of the people who know how to order drinks with names that take a full minute to say.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 130 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Starbucks Via Latte Vanilla Latte
Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 1 packet
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: At home convenience. Simple assembly. Generous serving. Not any more sugar than most Starbucks drinks. Confusing baristas with Moulin Rouge references. Good movie stunt double for cocaine. Potential for fancier at home drinks. No pants, still service.
Cons: Sickly sweet. Impossible to drink whole cup. Minimal coffee taste. All powdered milk and sugar. Not being able to read picture instructions as an adult. Lack of coffee aroma. Domino’s Pizza Tracker not expanding to other businesses.






10 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. sarah says:

    I too have the same fear but when I do go the one thing I have learned is to ALWAYS say no whip and to put 1/2 the amount of syrup in as they are beyond disgustingly sweet!

  2. mi reyna says:

    I think you’re supposed to add coffee not water..

  3. Kat C says:

    I enjoy Starbucks waaay more often than I should and I was really disappointed in this product too. I think the VIA iced coffee is great, but this variety tasted like powedered milk to me.

  4. Steve says:

    I liked the taste – actually tasted like a latte to me, but when you get down to the dregs there is a powdery residue that is not good. I stirred and stirred to my heart’s content and still wound up with the residue.

  5. Sandy says:

    Go to Starbucks and order a plain latte to start with. You can add sugar as you like. If you make it a breve (half and half) it is all the better. Then if you want to add flavors later you can experiment!

  6. Logan says:

    If this is too sweet and you’re looking for more coffee taste, maybe brew coffee at home and add this? It’s a little more effort than just boiling water, but it might make you feel more like a grown up and you’ll have coffee for guests who might drink it.

  7. Kelley says:

    “My only hope at this point is that Starbucks starts up a delivery service with a tracker like Domino’s so I can order my coffee online without human interaction and know when to put my pants on before it arrives.”

    It’s like you just described about half of my life. Try GrubHub if it’s available in your area – the bare minimum of human interaction (and pants) and you’ll never have disposable income again. But your stomach will be happy.

  8. angela says:

    I loved the Starbucks via mocha but this new product is horrible. Unfortunately, Starbucks has discontinued the previous version so I am currently buying up all the stock I can find. The mocha latte is gritty and leaves sludge in the cup; it’s too sweet with an odd aftertaste. Not a good way to start the day at all.

  9. Lila says:

    I googled this stuff just to make sure I am not the only one who thought it was disgustingly sweet…glad I’m not a freak. It is horrible! A coffee abomination! It tastes exactly like the Maxwell House International Cafe “Cafe Vienna” flavored instant coffee. I bought it thinking that it would be a good alternative to airplane coffee, but I think airplane coffee might trump this product. Two thumbs down, Starbucks!



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