Starbucks Breakfast Blend Via Ready Brew (launches in the Fall in the US)

Today (July 25, 2011) I tried Breakfast Blend Via Ready Brew for the first time.  This is the newest entry in the current lineup of Via Ready Brew offerings, which already includes  Colombia, Italian Roast, Iced Via, a promotional Iced Caramel Via Ready Brew, and other flavored Vias.  To date, I think the “Tribute Blend” promotional Via Ready Brew offering has been my favorite one.  I tasted the Via using the “cupping” method of tasting and comparing coffees.  It would take me a whole blog post to describe exactly what a coffee “cupping” is, so rather than re-write that here, if you need a refresher about “cuppings,” take a look at this article:

An introduction to a coffee cupping – Arabian Mocha Sanani

I dropped by 15th Avenue Coffee and Tea Starbucks today, and tried out the coffees with a very knowledgeable partner there.  She prepared some Breakfast Blend whole bean to be cupped side by side with Breakfast Blend Via Ready Brew.  For a little more comparison, towards the end we also compared the Italian Roast Via Ready brew with the two Breakfast Blends.

Before I talk further about the Via, I have to comment again that I still think this is a beautiful store.  It has been open about two years, and still strikes me as very unique and visually interesting to look at.  Here are a few store photos that I took today:


The friendly barista Amanda prepared the whole bean coffee and set up the cupping table:

After about three to four minutes of brewing the whole bean Breakfast Blend, Amanda removed the crust so that it can be “slurped” for tasting:





We were joined by “Matty” who is a partner at another store who happened to drop by this store:

We discussed what we were tasting, and we all agreed that the whole bean coffee was the best.  The two Breakfast Blends were definitely the same blend and shared a similar thin-bodied mouth-feel, and some of the same tasting notes, but the Via was a less complex coffee.  Both Breakfast Blends had the characteristic hints of banana in them and a fresh flavor (the whole bean coffee was almost juicy to me), though the Via seemed to have a slightly salty finish to it.  At the end we threw in the Italian Roast to compare and the difference was dramatic.  Italian Roast Via tastes very roasty.  It is heavier in the mouth and has a greater flavor of the roast profile than the Breakfast Blend.

Overall I thought the Breakfast Blend Via was pretty good.  Maybe it wasn’t an “A+” but it was a solid “B.”  You could taste that it was the quintessential lighter breakfast profile, and it had some Latin American origin flavors.  Right now, the Breakfast Blend Via is a UK and Ireland Via offering only.

And when we were all done, here is what the cupping table looked like:

What do you think?  By the way, I think I heard somewhere that Starbucks will be discontinuing the Cinnamon Spice flavor Via.  Apparently it didn’t sell well.

Speaking of changes in the Via lineup, in the Q3 quarterly conference call on July 28, 2011, Howard Schultz mentioned that both Breakfast Blend Via and House Blend Via would be coming “in the Fall.”  I haven’t tried the House Blend Via yet, but as soon as I get the chance to try that, I’ll share that here too. So coming soon – Breakfast Blend and House Blend!

If you liked this article, I also suggest that you read the previous article about Italian Roast Via Ready Brew Now Offered in a Jar in the UK.

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  • denise r

    Well, I guess this BBlend VIA will likely make some people very happy but I’m sure it’s not something I would buy. I just wish they would stop the VIA expansion (which I know is only wishful thinking)….am glad to hear they may be pullling the cinnamon VIA, I think it’s almost tasteless re: any “flavor”.
    I agree with you Melody, that the Tribute VIA so far has been the most worthwhile one for me. Next to that, I like to keep the Italian roast and decaf Ital. That’s about it, altho I also think the sweet for ICED VIA is good.

    someone has to stop the VIA!!! I know they can’t keep up their quotos at my regular store…. and I hear that from a few places.

  • purple1

    Denise- I too am not sure about Via and at my local store it seems to just sit there and I never see anyone purchasing it. I love the counter at this store. Why do you think SB is pushing Via in the stores the way they are?

  • Patrick Mooney

    No more Cinnamon Spice!!! I will have to stock up when next over – that was my fav!

  • Chris

    BB Via is selling very well here in the UK. Generally we prefer the milder roats so this was always going to be a big seller, like the whole bean.

  • Michelle

    I find Breakfast Blend to be way too mild for me, so I anticipate I’ll feel the same way about the VIA version.

    I would far rather see a Sumatra version of VIA than Breakfast Blend or House Blend for that matter.

  • Ben

    Haha, you CUPPED a VIA product? Can we stop pretending VIA tastes like whole bean coffee, freshly ground, and pressed from a glass Bodum? It tastes like better than average instant coffee because that’s what it is.

  • Melody

    @Ben – Cupping a Via Ready Brew, amounts to slurp and compare. Obviously it doesn’t form a ‘crust’ after brewing like the whole bean version. No crust to break on the Via. It’s astonishingly good for what it is. No, it doesn’t have the complexity of wonderful whole bean coffee.

  • Anthony

    Hints of banana, huh? I wonder if you can get Breakfast Blend through the Clover. I might try it iced over the weekend.

  • Melody

    @Anthony, the partner I was with who did this cupping with me is shockingly knowledgeable about coffee. I stutter and stammer around her. She’s managed to get a lot of education directly from the coffee department. I could detect a little bit of the banana notes but it’s very light. After all was done, we did some further coffee education comparing a pour over of Organic Shade Grown Mexico to a Clover brew of it. Holy moly. OSGM is one of the finest coffees ever on the Clover. If you want a slightly lighter coffee on the Clover, I weigh in favor of OSGM. I don’t want to discourage you away from BB, but a single origin coffee like OSGM blows away a blend like BB. It’s soft and wonderful, and you’ll get the nutty notes, citrus, and a slight acidity, and a medium softer body. Try this! But let it cool off a bit before drinking it too hot. You get more flavor when a coffee cools down.

  • Hayley

    I agree too that VIA is good for what it is (well the Tribute VIA is, definitely not the Cinnamon flavor). I have a one on hand as a just in case – half the packets reside at my desk at work, and they other half at home or for travel. Though it cannot compare to the whole bean coffee but it is a great option. I agree I wish they would focus on other things aside from their whole lineup of whole beans having a VIA counterpart, but it’s good to have the options.

  • Anthony

    Organic Shade Grown Mexico. Got it. I’ll have it iced; I can’t possibly drink anything hot in this weather.

  • LatteRose

    It’s only been two years? Seems longer! Will also try the OSGM iced!

  • Diele

    Cinnamon spice via should be gone in most stores as it has expired. I am not a huge fan of any via, but there is no denying it is amazing in the instant coffee market. Every store I have worked at sells at least $100 in a week and loads more with the special offers(tall beverage or a $1 off). There is another coupon for all Via(excluding 3-packs) starting tomorrow that stores will be passing out. It is definitely here to stay.

  • Chris W.

    Working over 40 hours a week makes me grateful to have VIA at home, so that I can have a quick cup of coffee at home without brewing an entire press / pot and making my wife (who is still nursing our 2 month old baby girl) jealous and start jonesing for her caffeine fix. I also love having packets with me on an 8 hour plus day at school, where I can just get a cup of hot water from multiple sources, and voila, instant Third Place!
    My vote for favorite VIA is Christmas Blend, with Tribute a close second (still have a couple packets of each hanging around). Italian is my go-to flavor, so I doubt I’ll be consuming much of either of these anytime soon.
    I am interested in the upcoming K-Cup offerings by Starbucks. My parents own a Keurig brewer that they use for travel and single cup brewing at home. I think this is an extension of the VIA market, and will be a growing segment for a few years.

  • joe

    Anybody know of any way that i could get this? I would like to order some and have it sent to me for my partners to try but it doesn’t seem like it can be ordered from the UK site? Anybody have some ideas?

  • denise r

    The breakfast blend VIA has been canned…it will not be happening……at least that’s what I was told yesterday by a reliable sm. He said they decided NOT to do it. Not gonna happen, at least not in the US . this makes me more VIA (now)…not in the cafes at least. It’s just too much. :)

  • Diele

    As a partner, I haven’t seen anything about it. Maybe it will be Fall 2? I think I would have heard about it by now, but who knows.

  • Melody

    @Deniser Thanks for the info. Im a little disappointed that Breakfast Blend Via has been axed for the Fall. I know u dont want more Vias. I thought BB made some sense.@Diele Thnx also for confirming it is not coming. Maybe Winter!

  • Diele

    Fall 2 is a coffee journey for a month. Perhaps for the holidays? Only time will tell. Breakfast blend hasn’t been a big seller at any store I have worked at, but I know a few customers who would like it. I personally would love Verona.

  • Melody

    I’ve been meaning to come back to this thread. I heard from one partner on twitter that Breakfast Blend Via is launching but as a CPG item only! Will not be in stores. Has anyone else heard this?

  • DigiMom

    I’m grieving over the loss of the cinnamon spice via. I would love to see the flavored coffees in decaf too.

  • Melody

    @DigiMom – Thanks for commenting. Apparently Cinnamon Spice wasn’t a big seller. I need to do another thread about Via but just haven’t gotten around to it. The House Blend Via and Breakfast Blend Via are both grocery store items only, though I haven’t yet seen them at my local grocery.
    Thanks for stopping by DigiMom!

  • Serena Hines

    I just wish they would stop the VIA expansion (which I know is only wishful thinking)….am glad to hear they may be pullling the cinnamon VIA, I think it’s almost tasteless re: any “flavor”. I agree with you Melody, that the Tribute VIA so far has been the most worthwhile one for me. Not gonna happen, at least not in the US . this makes me more VIA (now)…not in the cafes at least.

  • Diele

    It is nice to see it in company stores in the Via Sampler Holiday pack. :)

  • Meagan Carpenter

    I personally would love Verona. Got it. Maybe it will be Fall 2? I just wish they would stop the VIA expansion (which I know is only wishful thinking)….am glad to hear they may be pullling the cinnamon VIA, I think it’s almost tasteless re: any “flavor”.

  • Karen Maclennan

    I absolutely love the Breakfast Blend Via, our local Starbucks is out of stock at the moment and it isn’t available to order on-line either so I was very disappointed. I have found another outlet, travelling distance away, who has 6 packets left so will be making that journey very soon!

  • Melody

    @KarenMaclennan – I am going to assume you are in the UK? The Breakfast Blend Starbucks Via Ready Brew was never sold inside the actual retail stores in the US. I think they tried it as a CPG item (hence this article) but I haven’t seen it around in ages. It is still sold in the UK?

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