NEWS: Starbucks Refreshers To Come In VIA Form

Albert Square Starbucks

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey! I REALLY like those Starbucks Refreshers, so much so that I wish they came in a snortable form.”

If so, your wish will soon come true because next month Starbucks will offer a VIA Ready Brew version of their Refreshers.

(Note: Please don’t snort the VIA Refreshers)

Some of you might be thinking, “Hey! Those Starbucks Refreshers thingies sound familiar.” They should because earlier this year Starbucks introduced a line of ready-to-drink canned Refreshers, which you’ve probably passed by at your local grocery store. Here’s a Google search query for canned Starbucks Refreshers reviews.

According to the blog, Starbucks Melody, Starbucks VIA Refreshers will be hitting stores on July 10 and come in two flavors: Very Berry Hibiscus and Cool Lime. Making one is as easy as making a regular VIA coffee–just add water and stir. A Starbucks VIA Refreshers package will contain five mix packets, each of which will make a 16-ounce serving.

If you’ve sampled a Starbucks VIA Refresher, let us know what you thought of it in the comments below.

Source: Starbucks Melody

REVIEW: International Delight Original Iced Coffee

International Delight Original Iced Coffee

I’m gonna find me a long straw and make me a sessanta coffee with this half gallon of International Delight Original Iced Coffee.

What’s a sessanta?

What? You don’t stick random words into Google Translate when you’re bored? For those of you too lazy to click this link and then hit your browser’s back button when you’re done, here are a few hints to help you figure out what sessanta is. If venti is Italian for twenty, trenta is Italian for thirty, and a half gallon contains 64 ounces, then sessanta is…

That’s right, you guessed it…a bladder-filling amount of coffee.

Well, the International Delight Original Iced Coffee isn’t just coffee, there’s also dairy…lots of dairy. If you like your iced coffee as black as I like my iPads, you will not enjoy this.

There’s possibly an udder’s worth of dairy. How much dairy is that? Let’s just say when you’re drinking it you shouldn’t be around one of those people who might say in a douchey tone, “Would you like more coffee with your cream?”

Actually, it shouldn’t be surprising it tastes like it’s mostly dairy since International Delight is known for making the poor excuse for coffee your damn co-worker makes every morning taste better with their liquid coffee creamers that come in flavors like hazelnut, French vanilla, Cinnabon, and Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream.

But what about the coffee?

It’s made with 100 percent premium Arabica coffee, which is known for its never-bitter flavor and it’s the same variety of beans Starbucks uses. So if the International Delight Original Iced Coffee uses the same coffee as Starbucks, it must have a Starbucks-like price. For a half gallon, you’d think it would cost about a kigillion dollars, but a carton is around the same price as a trenta-sized Starbucks iced coffee.

As I said earlier, International Delight went heavy on the dairy by adding skim milk and cream to the coffee, both of which gave the iced coffee a pleasing creamy consistency. Or it could’ve been the ingredients gellan gum and carrageenan that gave it its viscosity. The iced coffee is also very sweet, thanks to the sugar and corn syrup added.

International Delight Original Iced Coffee Closeup

A cup of International Delight Original Iced Coffee tastes like I’m drinking melted coffee ice cream. But I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Because while this stuff is really yummy, I can’t help but think how unhealthy it would be to drink this creamy beverage regularly.

Yes, regularly.

International Delight is hoping you drink their iced coffee instead of visiting Starbucks, which for some of you is a daily ritual. Sure, by not going to Starbucks you avoid long lines, easy listening music, and the possibility of having your name horribly misspelled on your cup, but a 12-ounce sweetened Starbucks iced coffee with whole milk has 90 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 18 grams of sugar, while a 12-ounce glass of International Delight Original Iced Coffee has 225 calories, 3.75 grams of fat, and 34 grams of sugar.

Also, the carton says nothing about its caffeine content. I need to know how much caffeine it has because I need to supplement if it has too little, and if it has too much I need to make sure I don’t do any spontaneous parkouring to burn off the excess energy. After drinking it, I did feel a slight energy boost, but I’m not sure if it was the caffeine from the coffee, the sugar, or both.

Again, the International Delight Original Iced Coffee is damn good. It’s so good that will hold an open carton above my open mouth and bang the carton’s sides with my other hand to get every last drop of it. However, because of its high sugar content it would be a horrible idea to stick a straw into one and make it a sessanta iced coffee.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 150 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 15% calcium, and 4% iron.)

Item: International Delight Original Iced Coffee
Price: $4.99
Size: Half gallon
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: My goodness, it’s yummy. Creamy. Smooth. It’s like drinking melted coffee ice cream. Cheaper than Starbucks. It’s a frickin’ half gallon of iced coffee. Google Translate.
Cons: Too easy to drink. Lots of dairy. Lots of sugar. Don’t know caffeine content. It’s like drinking melted ice cream. Your co-worker not knowing how to make coffee.

NEWS: After Years of Making Other Coffees Taste Better, International Delight Finally Offers Their Own Coffee

International Delight Iced Coffee on shelf/center>

Update: Click here to read our International Delight Iced Coffee review

Since I’m not a regular coffee drinker, I don’t follow what International Delight Coffee Creamer puts out. Actually, to be honest, before I did research for this post, I was confused between International Delight and General Foods International. But I learned one produces creamer, while the other produces coffee.

Oh wait, that’s no longer the case because International Delight is now offering ready-to-drink iced coffee, which is made using 100 percent premium Arabica coffee and comes in three flavors – Mocha, Vanilla, and Original.

So no longer do you have to walk into a Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Dunkin’ Donuts, or independent coffeehouse to pick up an iced coffee. Instead, you can walk up to your fridge, take out the half-gallon carton of International Delight’s Iced Coffee, and pour yourself a glass…or drink it straight out of the carton.

A cup serving of International Delight’s Iced Coffee has 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein. A half-gallon of International Delights Iced Coffee has a suggested retail price of $3.99.

REVIEW: Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee

Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Iced Coffee

I feel sorry for the Starbucks baristas out there who have to deal with complex drink orders from insane customers. They say the customer is always right, but those who order an iced ristretto 5-shot grande with 5/8 decaf, six ice cubes, 2-pumps sugar free caramel, 4-pumps caramel, soy, whole milk, extra whip, 12 Splenda, double cupped, and hand stirred to a temperature of 43 degrees have got to be wrong.

Do they feel like their complex order somehow makes them some kind of Starbucks alchemist?

Or are they trying to impress the people behind them in line with the fact that they know how to order something at Starbucks?

Or do they enjoy being a barista puppeteer, making Starbucks employees do their bidding with their purse strings?

You know what, Starbucks baristas? I’m your break from the batty bastards and bitches who order elaborate beverages, because from now on, when I roll into a Starbucks, I’m only there to either use the restroom, steal napkins, be creepy, or to pick up a pack of your new Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee, all of which don’t involve you lifting any of your well-worked fingers. I’m your coffee break, your latte lull, your ristretto recess, your half-caf hiatus, your Venti vacation, and your Asian persuasion.

Each packet of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee is made up of microgrounded 100 percent natural roasted arabica beans, a little bit of caramel flavor, and cane sugar. This powdery partnership produces a Grande of iced coffee goodness, if you’re willing to do all of the following: measure 16 ounces of water, rip off the packet top, pour the contents of the packet into the 16 ounces of water, and then stir it until the powder dissolves.

Or if you have children, you can dress them up in a green Starbucks apron, tell them you’re “playing Starbucks,” and make them do all the work.

After tearing open a packet of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee, it farts out a strong caramel aroma. That caramel aroma is also present after the powder is mixed with water. When I drink it, it starts off with a nice caramel flavor, which quickly gives way to the bitterness of the coffee. However, thanks to the caramel flavoring, I’m finding it much easier to drink than regular Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee, which I usually sweeten with either a little more sugar or chocolate syrup.

I really enjoyed the regular Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee, but I have to say I prefer this caramel version more. Adding a little vanilla soy milk makes it even better, although the caramel iced coffee already has 24 grams of sugar, so adding soy milk gives it a little more. While that may sound sweet, it’s not as sweet as I am for giving Starbucks baristas a quick breve breather from impossible drink orders by not ordering anything and just picking up a 5-pack of Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 packet – 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 20 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee
Price: $5.95
Size: 5 pack
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Better tasting and easier to drink than regular Starbuck VIA Iced Coffee. Easy to make. Great with a little vanilla soy milk. Makes a Grande of iced coffee. Cheaper than ordering the same drink from Starbucks. Giving baristas a break from making complex drink orders from douchebags. Nice energy pick-me-up.
Cons: Might have too much sugar for those who care about consuming too much sugar. You have to stir or shake it yourself, unless you have children who can do it for you. Waiting in line behind someone who orders complex Starbucks drinks. At home, you have no access to the Starbucks bar.

NEWS: Take Work Away From Starbucks Baristas By Purchasing Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee

Bucko in the Snow

Update: Click here to read our Starbucks VIA Caramel Iced Coffee review

Last year, Starbucks added an iced coffee version to their VIA instant coffee line and I wrote a review so positive that it makes me sound like ABC TV Minneapolis movie critic Rusty Gatenby who the said the following about Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “Biggest action movie of the summer? How about biggest action movie EVER!”

Sounds like someone wants to be quoted in a Transformers: Dark of the Moon commercial. Oh wait, he was.

Anyhoo, my positive review of Starbucks’ VIA Iced Coffee had me hoping for a sequel from them, and they delivered.

This week, the Giant Green Coffee Machine released a new iced coffee flavor — caramel. Just like the regular VIA Iced Coffee, Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Ice Coffee is made using “a special blend of medium roast coffee made from 100 percent high-quality arabica beans.”

Each VIA packet makes 16 fluid ounces of iced coffee.

Oh, wait. It’s Starbucks.

Each VIA packet makes a Grande of iced coffee.

Starbucks VIA Caramel Flavored Iced Coffee is available for a limited time in 5-packs at a suggested retail price of $5.95.

REVIEW: Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Vanilla Flavored Coffee

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Vanilla Flavored Coffee

People love to hate Starbucks. If you choose to believe the haters, Starbucks is Big Brother, has committed genocide on hundreds of small business coffee shops, and will single-handedly destroy the planet. Anyone who purchases coffee from Starbucks is a soulless yuppy who will rot in sheeple hell.

I have to admit, I get a little bitter (Coffee pun? You decide!) when I think about Starbucks putting mom ‘n’ pop coffee shops out of business. I also have to admit, Starbucks makes some damn delicious coffee. Fortunately, I am not a yuppy (although I may be soulless), and my bank account dictates where I purchase my coffee, which means I get it pre-ground in a bag from the grocery store.

There are other coffee options other than buying it from a coffee shop and brewing your own at home. One of those options is instant coffee. Starbucks already offers pre-ground bags of their coffee, and now they’re shoving their noses into the instant coffee market. Starbucks wants to make sure that no matter how you like your coffee, you’re going to be drinking their coffee. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

So they launched a new line of instant coffee called VIA. It made me wonder: what are the benefits of instant coffee? To whom are instant coffee manufacturers marketing? I posited this question to a group of friends and got these answers:

1. People who like bad things
2. People without coffeemakers
3. Extremely lazy people
4. One guy’s grandma who isn’t a coffee snob who only wanted a single cup of coffee while only getting one dish dirty
5. People who are camping
6. People who are only interested in coffee for its medicinal qualities and don’t have the need or patience for a good cup of it

I will grant answer five as completely valid. Four and six, go buy one of those little one-cup or four-cup coffeemakers. I was the only coffee drinker in my household growing up. I resorted to instant for a little while, then grew tired of the lack of quality and bothered my parents until they bought me a little coffeemaker. Three minutes of effort and waiting were well worth it. Answers one through three are just unacceptable. Okay, maybe number one has some legs. If you enjoy being constantly disappointed, please, have a cup of instant coffee with your bowl of off-brand corn flakes and a side of already-cooked microwave bacon. It takes all kinds.

So has Starbucks transformed instant coffee into a valid form of caffeine consumption? We shall see.

VIA comes in several different iterations. There are different roasts, decaf, iced, and also flavored varieties. I can’t say I’ve ever known someone who drank black instant coffee, so I went with a flavored version. I chose Vanilla, but there’s also Caramel, Cinnamon Spice, and Mocha.

Making Starbucks VIA Ready Brew couldn’t be easier. It’s so easy, they don’t even need to more than two words in the instructions on the back of the package. When I tore open the flavor packet and dumped the contents into my mug, I was immediately met with the smell of vanilla flavoring. It actually filled my entire kitchen. After bringing a small amount of water to a low boil, I measured out eight ounces and poured it into my mug with the flavor powder waiting patiently at the bottom. I was surprised at how fast it dissolved; it only took a few stirs to transform it into a smooth, dark liquid that looked just like brewed coffee. I was also surprised at how dark it was, until I remembered that this is flavored coffee, not a fancy Vente latte with soy milk, two shots of espresso, extra foam and whipped cream. I can’t think Starbucks without imagining an overcomplicated coffee beverage that has more components than ordering a burger at Five Guys.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Vanilla Flavored Coffee Powder

So how does Starbucks VIA stack up to a cup of brewed coffee? Well, I think my friends left one thing off the list: the office workplace. I have worked at several different office environments, and the coffee has always been notoriously awful. I don’t know what it is about office coffee, but it always blows. It’s like the office itself sucks all the soul out of the coffee, much in the same manner it sucks the soul out of all the cubicle monkeys working there. Since VIA comes in individual packets and many office water coolers have a hot water option, I could actually see VIA being a VIAble (sorry) alternative to disgusting office coffee.

That said, VIA is still instant coffee, and for some reason all instant coffee has a slightly off taste. I suppose you could say that instant coffee is to coffee what a banana Runt is to a banana. They share a similar taste, but you could tell blindfolded what’s the imitator and what’s the real deal. I enjoyed the vanilla flavoring; it was strong but not cloying, sweet without being so sugary it made me feel ill. The coffee takes a background to the vanilla, but it remains as rich as you can get out of powdered coffee.

So, has Starbucks revolutionized the instant coffee industry? In my opinion, no, but I’d put VIA a cut above other instant coffees I’ve tasted. I don’t know if you can ever really nail the flavor of a fresh pot of coffee in powdered form, but VIA manages to inject some richness into their product, and they didn’t step over the line with the sugar or the vanilla flavoring. Coming in individual packets is a big bonus; if you’ve got hot water, you’ve got coffee, and there’s something to be said for that. One real obstacle that VIA has is pricing. I bought a box of six packets for $6.95; at a little over a dollar a pouch, that certainly beats the price of a Vente mocha latte, but can’t compete with brewing your own coffee and investing in a travel mug.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet (16g) – 60 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Vanilla Flavored Coffee
Price: $6.95
Size: 6 pack
Purchased at: Starbucks
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: A step above other instant coffees. Five Guys burgers. Easy to transport anywhere. Nice vanilla taste. Friends with questionably useful suggestions.
Cons: Way more expensive than brewing your own coffee. Soulless yuppies. Still has that instant coffee flavor. Already-cooked microwave bacon. Encourages lazy coffee drinkers.