I'm picky about where I get my coffee from and generally I avoid Starbucks if there's any other alternative nearby. Today I opted for convenience over taste and went to Starbucks. They had samples of the new VIA Ready Brew coffee available for sample, so I took one just to see how it tastes. Quite honestly, it's far better than I expected. That doesn't mean VIA is great or that I'll be switching from finding Stumptown or Zoka whenever possible, but I would drink it over coffee at the local diner.
The flavor is nothing like Folgers Crystals or any of the other jar instants you see on the store shelves. It's a bit like getting an Americano at Starbucks, which isn't a great Americano, but it's reliable. Instead of being giant coffee chunks like other instants, VIA Ready Brew if finely ground and smells like you just opened a free bag of beans when you tear open the little pouch. You stir the powder into hot water and you're ready to go. As the title says, while I wouldn't trade my brewed coffee for instant, as instant coffees go, Starbucks VIA Ready Brew is at the top of the heap.