It looks as though Starbucks is chasing the instant coffee market... which is typically aimed at bargain, price-based shoppers (far cheaper than getting a $2-$4 coffee in the stores). Convenience is also a factor as brewing coffee can be a hassle during the morning rush.

But instant coffees taste more like coffee-flavored water than a great cup of joe. Perhaps Starbucks' new VIA will change that (I will update once my free sample arrives). The price per cup comes out to be about 50% of an in-store coffee: a 12 pack costs $9.95 and a grande coffee is $1.85. If the taste is up-to-par - and I assume it will be - this is a great fit for hotel chains and included in-room amenities. It is also an opportunity for Starbucks can also upsell the VIA Tumblr.

VIA™ Ready Brew Italian Roast Coffee by Starbucks Coffee

A big, bold, full-bodied cup of coffee, with an aroma that lingers all day.

We know. We say the words "instant coffee" and you immediately think of something lifeless and flat. No smell. Even less taste.

We're about to change all that. Now you can enjoy our bold and roasty-sweet Italian Roast in an instant. Just tear open a pack of Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew and add water. Let the coffee brew 10 seconds, stir, breathe it all in and enjoy.

It's not instant coffee the way you know it. This is genuine, dark-roasted Starbucks® coffee. 100% arabica and ethically sourced. Isn't it wonderful? There's now an instant coffee that you can start a whole new tradition with.