Consumptivity

Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee

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Best instant coffee

Since I switched careers from advertising to teaching, I only miss two things (besides the money): being able to go to the bathroom whenever I want and the coffee. I’ll never be able to do anything about #1 (no pun intended) as the law requires me to be in my classroom if there’s even one student there, but I have to do something about the coffee. I got spoiled by usually good coffee or, at worst, Keurig coffee, whenever I wanted it. Since my school has no teacher’s lounge and I don’t have to have a full-on coffee machine (see #1), I usually get a cup of coffee on my way to work and that’s it. It’s a step down from 3 cups + per day.

Enter Starbucks VIA. During planning periods, I can find an office with a microwave, heat up some water and make something like coffee with these handy packets. Is it the best coffee you’ve ever had? LOL no. Is it even…good? Meh, it’s diner-quality at best. However, if you really need that caffeine fix and you don’t have access to a machine, this is the best option that I’ve found.

On sale at Costco, it comes out to about 40¢ per cup. Starbucks, Amazon and grocers sell them, too. You may be able to find a better price. There are different varieties, but Costco stocks the Colombian one, so that’s what I use. I’ve tried to make iced coffee with it, too, but I didn’t like the results. I think it needs hot water to dissolve properly. I tried a few others and don’t recommend. Cafe Bustelo, a Cuban-style brand popular in NYC, sells a similar product that goes for about 16¢ per cup, but it’s too harsh even for me. Trader Joe’s sells a version with sugar and powdered creamer that’s, I think about 25¢ per cup, but it tastes weak to me (YMMV; I don’t take milk or sugar in mine). I’ve also tried a few traditional instant coffees and I don’t particularly like them. They’re usually a coarser grind that doesn’t dissolve as well as the micro-ground examples above. VIA is a good option if you need coffee and have access to hot water. Recommended for teachers everywhere!

-- Ben Rothfeld 12/20/18