Industry News | October 12, 2009

Starbucks' VIA Goes Decaf

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In two weeks since the national availability of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, and a four-day customer taste challenge in all U.S. and Canada Starbucks stores, early indicators show that Starbucks VIA is exceeding expectations. In response to customers’ No. 1 product request upon tasting Starbucks VIA Ready Brew, the company will offer a decaf option starting November 17 in all U.S. company-operated and licensed locations. In addition, Starbucks’ newest product innovation recently received critical acclaim from Progressive Grocer in its annual 2009 Editors’ Pick as “Best New Consumer Product.”

Beginning November 17, U.S. customers will have access to a cup of Starbucks Decaf Italian Roast in an instant. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Decaf Italian Roast is made with the same high-quality arabica coffee and is naturally decaffeinated. The arabica coffee used in the Decaf Italian is roasted according to the specific Starbucks Roast profile to deliver the aroma, body, and flavor expected from Starbucks brewed coffee. It can be made by adding hot (or cold) water, which brews the coffee in an instant.

“Many of our customers have been surprised and impressed to learn they were drinking instant coffee,” says Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks U.S. “We are encouraged by our early results and positive response from both our customers and our partners. Our reinvention of this category has given us the ability to create the authentic taste and quality of Starbucks coffee in an instant form.”

Now through November 10, customers who share their experiences with Starbucks through photos, videos, and short stories online can also enter to win one of five Starbucks VIA Experience Contests. Highlights from the last two weeks can be seen on YouTube, including highlights of customer submissions, the first week’s television ads, or the Starbucks VIA Coast to Coast Road Trip. Earlier this month, comedian Erin Foley and Starbucks official Tweeter Brad Nelson set out to taste Starbucks VIA with customers through a coast-to-coast Starbucks VIA Road Trip, hitting 14 states and Vancouver, Canada.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Decaf Italian Roast is pre-portioned into single-serve packets and is packaged in books of three or boxes of 12. The suggested retail price for the U.S. is $2.95 for a three-pack and $10.95 for a 12-pack, making a cup of Starbucks coffee available for less than $1 a cup.