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The Breakfast Blend Taste Test!

July 12, 2011 1 comment

On Thursday 8th July 2011, we launched our new range of VIA products to the public in the form of Breakfast Blend! Breakfast Blend is the lightest coffee we do and is ideal for those first morning drinks to get you started for the day. So it was the perfect coffee to be brought into the VIA family, already populated by Comlumbia and Italian Roast.

So with the VIA in full operation, I decided to do a coffee tasting with a difference with my partners. Our Coffee Tastings normally consist of trying one of our coffees with a food pairing and expereincing the different aspects of the coffee. The smell, the taste, how bold it is, aftertaste, etc. But with this particlar coffee tasting, I decided to do a taste test between the Breakfast Blend VIA and Breakfast Blend – French Press! I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to test out my partners taste buds and see how well the Breakfast Blend VIA held up against the french version and if it was really real coffee in an instant!

I started by setting up the coffees. With the Breakfast Blend beans, I used a french press as I personally think its the best way to drink coffee. You get more of the favours and taste from a simple french press (prove me wrong!). I measured the right amount and started to

get things rolling! With all this, I thought of a great way to orginize the cups. I went about labelling the bottom of the cups so I knew which was which, but no one else did. This was a test that I wanted to fully embrace and not mess up. I was getting excited by the taste test as I was really wasn’t sure how it would go. Would they know straight away, and put all my hard work to waste or would it open doors to the power of VIA and what it can do for coffee drinkers everywhere?

I’ve always been a strong believer of VIA from when I first heard about it, and how it could really change the way we drink coffee at home. Finally a coffee that you could drink in an instant at home that didn’t taste of something horrid. That’s actually one of the reasons I didn’t drink coffee til working at Starbucks; home coffee never tasted good. It never sat right with me. But VIA finally came and gave me the taste I craved at home when I wasn’t near a starbucks.

Copyright James S Warwick

So with this love of VIA and what it can do for people, I wanted to show everyone else that VIA isn’t an instant but ‘an coffee in an instant’ and shouldn’t be dismissed as ‘well its not quite the same as ‘proper’ coffee is it?’ So this was my way of doing just that; to show the blur between the two. And what better way that to test it on our own partners. The ones that should know coffee inside out and truely know which is which!

Everything was in place for the tasting. I had four cups of VIA in one side of the tray, and four cups of french press on the other. I knewwhich was which, but the other partners did not. I got each one of the partners to try one from each line, doing the usual tecniques required in a tasting as well as sampling some lemon loaf cake as lemon goes well with Breakfast Blend.

Each one had a taste and thought about it for a while, each one taking their time to fully endulge in the drinks and give a verdict on them.

 Everyone said that the Breakfast Blend was very light and easily drinkable. Something that would be perfect for the mornings to start the day with as it picked you up but didn’t leave a aftertaste with them. It had hints of citrus and went well with the lemon that was offered.

What the partners didn’t agree on however was which was which in the cups. Four of my partners tried both and it was 2 vs 2 to regards to what was what. One partner remarked saying ‘This one is 100% french press as its stronger and goes down better than the other one. I know its french press’. What was remarkable was that he was actually drinking the VIA when thinking it was the french press! The VIA was seen by two of the partners as the french press and the french press as VIA! The other two (both been with the company for a collected 10 years in Starbucks) knew which was which. But this was still a fantastic result for me. This showed that the line between the french press version and VIA was almost unseen, something that Howard wanted to begin with. VIA wasn’t to be seen as a cheap version of coffee, but to make it easily to get that Starbucks experience at home. And this proved it. Everyone remarked how close they were in taste and how no one would be able to tell if it VIA was sold as drip coffee.

That was music to my ears. This was what Starbucks intended and they have knocked it out of the park. This shows that VIA should be seen as not as the little sister of Starbucks coffee but as a massive component to bringing Starbucks to the homes of millions!

I wish everyone would be able to experience the Breakfast Blend VIA in their stores soon as its a perfect morning drink to get you up for the day and ready to tackle anything! Right now its only available in the UK (aren’t we lucky!) but I have sent some over to a oversees friend so I’m sure you will get a verdit from her and you never know, you may be seeing it in stores soon!

 I’m off to bed now as it’s 1:01am over here and I’ve been on this for most of the day. I hope you enjoyed the blog and please give me feedback on what you think. This is still very much a learning process for me, and I hope you enjoy the blogs I do! Until next time everyone.

All photographs are property of James Stuart Warwick Photography (apart from the Breakfast Blend VIA 12 Pack, taken from starbucks.co.uk) so if you wish to use them, please credit! Thank you