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August 30, 2010


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James Connolly





..What was that somebody said earlier about brand dilution?

I wonder if they'll ever get to a Caramel Macchiato or White Mocha Via?


Can we please get off the VIA bandwagon? Lets focus on what this company used to be about.....whole bean coffee...If they're not willing to do that, Starbucks should Really just change their name to VIA Instant Coffee Company. And just get rid of Starbucks name and logo all together.

Flavored puke still tastes like puke

One of my "proudest" Starbucks moments last week was a day we had negative Via sales. Not only did we not sell a single pack of Via, someone RETURNED their gift of Via and a Via tumbler.

So I think this flavored Via is a great idea.


Time to buy stock friends.


I love that I heard about this first on a blog, rather than at work. This is also how I found out about Organic Yukon and Decaf VIA.

But then again, it is Monday, and I haven't gone in to work yet.

The sad thing, is that I'm sure these flavored instant coffees will be a hit. My store suddenly began hitting our daily targets when the Iced VIA came out...


I hope Christmas Blend won't be a type of Via

Spider Jerusalem

what is this i don't even

James Connolly

Don't think about it too long, Spider, or blood will shoot from your eye.


Don't you see? The company is never going to ever be about what it used to be about. We're all about innovating. Whole bean coffee is really, really passe for the Starbucks brand. If you ever want to know what Starbucks used to be about you'll have to visit Pike Place Market because I guarantee you'll never find it in your average store

Spider Jerusalem

there's a fine line between "innovating" and "brand dilution to appeal to the lowest common denominator."

Double Blended

I thought the point was to give people something to keep them going between trips to Starbucks, not to give them something that is cheaper and still Starbucks so they don't have to come in as often. Shooting the company in the foot, one brilliant idea at a time!

Georgia Latte

Christmas blend will be available in VIA


Georgia Latte, I hope you're lying.
I really, really do.

Clark Kent

Super! Can't wait! (Stabs self in eye)


OMG I am sooooo serial when I say I can't like WAAAAAAAIT for Flavored Viaaaaaaaa... Omigooooooood...

Georgia Latte

Nope not lying...


This is the most sincere thread I have EVER come across -- perhaps anywhere on the web...


Comments on weather Via dilutes the brand or is a bad decision yadda yadda aside....(because really, it doesn't matter anymore, via exits and always will)...

The flavored via is DELICIOUS. especially made with milk. And it is of course going to sell very well, add alot of profit to the company


Chock Full O'Nuts wasn't Just a coffee.... look up the history, Repeat.


This whole bit about how "starbucks needs to get back to their core..." is ridiculous. Either you're just stupid or completely oblivious (maybe both?), but starbucks' core these days -is- via. Deal with it or head out. All your whining about how things were or how Starbucks is messing up solves nothing and only causes angst for you and your select group of friends/ whiners. Clearly starbucks is doing something right because they're making cash.

Get over it or get out. It's pretty simple.


Oh dang, you mean all I have to do is quit? And here I was, scheming to make enough money to buy a majority share of the company...


Starbucks Via might taste awful, but at least its fast and overpriced!

Starbucks is now a convenience store, not a coffee shop. We're going to start selling gas in the parking lot. Pathetic.


And we continue our march to mediocrity - woohoo!


"And we continue our march to mediocrity - woohoo! "

I find it hard to believe that Starbucks could improve that much that fast.

Darth Sidamo.

@baristamclane. I couldnt have said it better.

Truth is that I am a terrible liar. I will not lie to a customer. Call it old fashoned. That is why some quite a few years ago I quit my job that paid significantly more than Sbux to join a company where I felt had its head on straight and offered the highest quality of SOMETHING in the world. You dont need to lie to somebody when you really are the premium purveyor of coffee in the world. There were no goals that were impossible, because the product for the most part was actually really really good.

A company where the employees are actually angry in the cheapening in our product is a good thing. The fault here isnt in the people working for the company at this level, it is in the people that keep cheapening things at store level for profit. Profit for a company that never had a problem making cash by being the premium purveyor of coffee.

This best part of this product is not all but quite a few people were actually kind of behind this product to start. The incredible push and even more watering down has by then lost most of these people.

The whole "tell your VIA story" is what I enjoy the most because they just assume everybody at the store level loves this stuff. Like its not even possible for them to come out with a bad product. That cheap product, is what I cannot lie about to customers that I have built relationships with over years.


Has there ever been a positive thread on this website. How 'bout...Tell me about a community event your store executed or What makes your favorite customer so great. I come to this site about every two weeks and seems as though there's about 30-50 extremely negative (past)partners who do nothing but bash their (previous)job.

I was a teacher for two years and quit when I felt half as bad as you guys. And to scoff at the idea of quitting is stupid. There's a million things you can do for a job. Most of which involve selling something you're not invested in, dealing with an unispiring boss, and obnoxious customers. So give any of those a try and see how it goes. Maybe your narcissistic generation can create a blog about that.

So..Darth Sidamo and all you other little turds, just shut the heck up. A wiser man than me said "Be the change you want to see"


The attitude of "get over it" is another way of saying "I don't care how we make a buck. just gimme my paycheck."

I haven't tried this Via yet, but right now I sort of feel like this should have been a CPG only item.


@Duh: "Clearly starbucks is doing something right because they're making cash."
That's not clear to me at all. The 2 are not logically connected. BP is making lots of money too -- what are THEY doing right?

@RomenkoIsLame: "If Starbucks didn't try to "make a buck" they wouldn't be able to offer their partners insurance ..."
I think the point here is not whether or not *$ makes money; it's that they have chosen to make more profit for themselves (executives, share-leeches) at the expense of all those nice gestures you mentioned. They aren't making that much more money, they ARE changing what they do with it -- to the detriment of the people who actually do the work, to make them the money.

@everyone who tells posters here to stop whining: where do you suggest they whine? At work? If you're lucky enough to be synchronous with the values at your workplace, great for you. Most of the people posting here used to feel that way, but something has rotted in that relationship, and it's not them.
Romenko is not lame, he is providing a valuable place for us to say what is on our minds. If you expect this site to be pro-Starbucks now, you're either stupid or a troll. My vote is for both.


I think the "stop whining" folks may need to take their own advice. This site provides a forum to express frustration, so dissatisfied employees are likely to use it. If you detest reading it so, perhaps you should cease visiting and... um... whining.


I think all this emphasis on grocery store products should give more credence to those who thought Starbucks was being readied for sale to Pepsi.

A Non eMoose

Maybe the "stop whining" brigade would rejoice at retail companies just moving to straight-up robots as their entire labor force. Robots don't "whine" or complain or vent, just like good little mindless employees.


I quit. I stayed way too long...this company sold out a long time ago. But hey, its true. You can get a job other places, doing much better things. Now that I'm done I have no reason to read this site, thank god. Thanks for nothing, Starbucks.


I will predict that you will see Via vending machines in various places by next year. If you hadn't thought of it already SSC,(because I know they are watching) then what % is my cut? I expect at least a cool 15.


There is a thought....there are already Seattle's Best instant espresso drink machines at AMC Theatres.

I sort of thought they would train someone to make their drinks, but it comes out of one machine at the press of a button.

Darth Sidamo.

I am the change I want to be. Accepting the horrible product they are giving us and letting it be accomplishes nothing. Civil rights and labor laws were started in the way of people getting together to discuss opinions and ideas of how it could be done better.

You live in a pessimistic generation if you think all jobs are terrible and you might as well accept it because you have no voice and it will never change.

This website is a discussion tool for partners as well as customers. The headlines are very clear. If you do not want to read it then do not click. Pretty simple.

I believe there is a word for people that talk about how negative people are and then end with "You are all turds." That word is hypocrite. Flexing your muscles behind a keyboard I believe is what truly makes you a "turd".

Austin Bearista

I'm a partner (15#####) and I drink Via at least 5 times a week. It doesn't taste as good as french press because it is an instant coffee, but it is the BEST instant coffee on the market. It tastes better than Pike Place Roast.
I don't consume any artificial flavorings, but I am happy that flavored Via is coming out because IT WILL BE EASIER TO SELL and people will get to have convenient high-quality instant coffee with flavors they enjoy.

Instant coffee can only be created with a large backing of capital because it requires advanced technology. Starbucks is the first *coffee roasting company* in history to have the resources needed to create a product of this caliber. Remember that >90% of the employees of the company have a real passion for coffee; that's why Via is so good. (Though not as good as real coffee, no lies)

I'm sorry your SS/ASM/SM/DM is riding you so hard to sell this, and I understand that it makes you more bitter than an cup of over-extracted house blend, but that doesn't change the fact that Via is a major source of revenue and a good instant coffee.


Austin, you joined Starbucks after they jumped the shark. Via itself is a decent product, but its about the concept and the mindset behind it, especially compared to the Starbucks of the olden days. And I sincerely do not think that Starbucks is as full of passion for coffee as you think they are. I truly believe that all the partners who are directly responsible for roasting, shipping, and purchasing for the company do, but as for the suits and the stores, morale is low, tastings are non existent, and the idea of coffee masters are tales of the past.


I was always interested in dried ice cream and that other stuff they sent into space.Its VIA and TANG mixed together for me in the morning.


I think Austin is right. So is Peaches. Starbucks isn't what it used to be. Oh well. Get over it or get out.


I too miss the good 'ol days before VIA. Women couldn't vote. People died from chicken pox. I could expect to die by 60. Things change.

I'm sorry your liberal arts degree didn't lead to the job with ACORN or Greenpeace you were counting on. Maybe the independent coffee house down the road will be hiring soon and you can tweet/blog on some other site about how you don't have insurance, there's no consistency from day to day, or even how the disaffected youth behind that counter isn't so much fun-despite the fact they get show tatoos and piercings.

PS Couldn't help but notice two of my post got deleted 'cuz the all-seeing eye didn't like their message. I'd love to be able to create my own threads on this site istead of being baited down the weekly bashing of Starbucks. How 'bout having everyone write a little about how their store helps the community.

Austin Bearista

@peaches - Starbucks came from a corporate takeover, there was never a shark to jump. The story about starting out as a small business and trying to be the best at coffee is a lie.

Companies exist for the benefit of their owners (shareholders) and never "to be the best coffee company" or "to impact our community". Companies do those things ONLY WHEN IT RAISES THE PRICE OF A SHARE.

This is economics in 2010 so get used to it plz.

SSC Drone

@GrassIsAlwaysGreener - well said

Starbucks wouldn't last another 5-10 years if the whole bean purists (elitists?) got their way.

A successful company has to change and innovate. Flavored Via takes a great product and draws in more customers. That is a good thing - if you like to keep a job and work for a living.


Its just beans and water folks. Yes I love...ed my job but things change not always for the better and we have to deal with it.
The managment that is set free to run stores into the ground is my issue. I work in a store that has to be the worst store in the company , yes I will have to take part of the blame, but when customers, partners, and managers give feedback to DM's and nothing is done to help the retaliation given by these so called Managers then ..... where else do you turn. Two weeks notice. It is sad and such a relief just saying those words. Then the retaliation starts...the backstabbing resumes, the gossip is spread, the shifts......become shit and the watchfull eye is on to find the one thing to write you up on.....but the count down continues...... and you wonder where the hell is Howard...


omg wtf via

2 Time Barista, 1000's Time customer

So many people in this thread with the attitude that the company needs to evolve, you're right. It does. But it shouldn't come at the expense of the people who make the connection with the customers. 12 years ago, when I was a barista, the company made it's name by providing great coffee and a third place for people to retreat to between work and home. There was a communal feeling between the partners and customers, because the partners weren't just vehicles for sales, they were owners in the company as well. Starbucks might need to sell what they said they never would, but the aggressive tactics, that benefit only the shareholders, isn't the way to do it. What you end up with is green aproned McDonald's workers.

The "if you don't like it, leave" is such a detrimental way of handling this problem. These are people who actually care about the product. Those who don't care, will just do what they are told because it's a paycheck.

I'm a heavy user and it makes me cringe when I go into my favorite stores, where they know me, only to have my favorite baristas painfully "sell" me Via. It's truly sad. I don't go into Starbucks because their product is awesome, I actually prefer Peet's, I go because of the people and how they make me feel.


I don't think the question is that the company will grow, change, and innovate. Sure, that will happen. It could have been new Vivanno flavors; it could have been sorbetto; it could have been chantico ... so many things have been tried. Maybe it will be the new "refreshers" in San Diego. Nobody is saying live in some nostalgia.

The question is _how_ these things happen. Long-term, those who rubber stamp every decision the corporation makes are just as dangerous to the business as those who suggest zero beverage innovation. Right now, it's very popular on Starbucks Gossip to jump on the band wagon of rubber stamping every Starbucks move. Mocha Via likely will sell - Maybe it's a fabulous innovation. But how will it sell? What sales tactics? And what channels are best for it? Somebody has to be thinking big picture, and long term results/brand image.


The via is fantastic for camping. Price, availability, flavor - it beats every other instant coffee on the market. I'm excited - now I won't have to bring sugar packets out with me.


I agree with Melody and 2TimeBarista, Starbucks will change regardless of the market/the partners. The common concerns, I THINK, are how these changes are happening as well as if the ones approving these changes understand the impacts.

It's great that Bucks is selling Via. I've heard the profit margin is somewhere around 75-80%. Who wouldn't want that? Pulling out of the economic slump USA had, I'm sure anyone would fight for that huge of a return on a product. The company is vigorously shaving off any "useless" expenses (labor, labor, blahblahblahh) in an effort to further boost it's bottom line. Yeah, it's all being done just for Wall Street. But do they realize the long-term effect of this intense shift in the company's vision? One day, they may turn into the "Starbuckian Via & Frappuccino Company" if they push themselves too far. And that may not be good.

End rant. I can't think of anything new or different to contribute.

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