Starbucks Coffee Company announced it will launch its Starbucks VIA Ready Brew at all U.S. locations tomorrow. Starbucks VIA is 100 percent natural roasted arabica coffee in an instant form that is rich and full bodied just like a fresh-brewed cup of Starbucks coffee. Starbucks VIA is made with a proprietary, U.S. patent-pending microgrind technology to preserve the coffee’s taste, quality, and freshness.

“We believe Starbucks VIA will change the way people drink coffee and where they enjoy it. It took 20 years for us to create a coffee that delivers Starbucks coffee quality in an instant, and we’re excited to make that available throughout the U.S. and Canada,” says Starbucks chairman, president, and CEO Howard Schultz. “We know that as more people try this product, more people will like it and adopt it into their daily routine so they will never be without great coffee. We’re so confident that you won’t be able to tell the difference between Starbucks VIA and our brewed coffee, we’re inviting customers into our stores to see if they can tell the difference.”

From October 2 to 5, Starbucks invites customers to join the Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Taste Challenge at their favorite U.S. Starbucks location. Participants can taste Colombia Starbucks VIA next to fresh-brewed Pike Place Roast and challenge themselves to guess which one is Starbucks VIA. Starbucks VIA Taste Challenge participants will receive a coupon for a complimentary Tall brewed coffee on their next visit as well as an offer for $1 off a Starbucks VIA Ready Brew purchase.

Tomorrow’s launch also marks the end of the Starbucks VIA Road Trip, featuring comedian Erin Foley, who traveled from coast-to-coast to preview Starbucks VIA with coffee lovers in the U.S. and Canada. The Starbucks VIA Road Trip kicked off in Seattle on September 15 and made official stops in Vancouver, Canada; Denver; Chicago; Boston; and New York, along with many towns and sites in-between. The trip will make its final stop tomorrow in Times Square where Starbucks chief financial officer Troy Alstead will ring the NASDAQ opening bell to celebrate the arrival of Starbucks VIA.

Made with a U.S. patent-pending technology and the highest-quality coffee beans sourced from 3 percent of the world’s top coffee, Starbucks VIA Ready Brew is 100 percent natural roasted arabica coffee. It can be made by adding hot or cold water that brews the coffee in an instant.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew is pre-portioned into single-serve packets and is packaged in books of three or boxes of 12. It is available in both Starbucks Italian Roast and Starbucks Colombia. The suggested retail price for the U.S. is $2.95 for a three-pack and $9.95 for a 12-pack.

Starbucks VIA Ready Brew was already voted “Most Innovative New Product of the Year” in the U.K. by Allegra Strategies1 and “Best New Consumer Product” by Progressive Grocer magazine in the U.S.

The instant brew will now be available through specialty outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), United Airlines U.S. flights over two hours, Omni Hotels, and select Marriott locations.

“With a $21 billion global instant coffee business, and instant coffee representing 40 percent of overall global coffee sales, we believe Starbucks is uniquely positioned to capture a significant share of this market,” Schultz says. “We believe there is tremendous opportunity to both grow the current instant coffee market as well as introduce consumers to an entirely new coffee occasion.”

Menu Innovations, News, Starbucks