Posted by: gruvenreuven | October 6, 2009

Starbuck’s VIA for Shabbos

Starbucks VIAAs an avid (and snobby) coffee drinker, I am always confronted as to what to do on Shabbos. Typically, I may brew a pot of coffee before Shabbos and drink it cold during Shabbos, or buy one of Starbucks’s travelers and nip from it all Shabbos.

The funny thing is, while I have no problems easily downing a pot of coffee a day during the week, my Shabbos coffee drinking is much more relaxed. That being the case I usually end up with a lot of wasted coffee.

So what’s a Frumma Yid to do?

Last week Starbucks introduced it’s VIA instant coffee line. While a coffee snob like myself would normally shun instant coffee, I gave it a try. To be honest, it’s not too bad. I can tell the difference between their Italian roast, and the VIA version of the product, but for Instant coffee, it’s not bad.

VIA did give me an idea thought… What if I tried VIA on Shabbos? So I picked up a $2.95 3pack of their Italian Roast. VIA is so fine, that mixing with cold water isn’t a problem (If you like cold coffee), the coffee dissolves very well.

So here’s my thoughts:

  • Opening the packet on Shabbos is a bit challenging. You need the skill of a neurosurgeon to open the packet without slicing through the printed letters.
  • At close to a dollar an 8oz cup, it’s a fairly expensive proposition. ($2.95-3pack, $9.95-12pack)
  • The caffeine boost is eye opening for an Instant. I had a little extra step in my walk to Shul this Shabbos/Yom Tov. Kept me going until Musaf.
  • The 8oz packet serving size is a bit small. As a Venti drinker, I could go for a larger packet, or better yet a more smartly priced jar.
  • The taste is fine for an instant
  • Mixing one packet with 16oz of water is NOT recommended
  • Overall, Starbuck’s VIA is a great coffee alternative for Shabbos coffee, that is if you want to treat yourself. I think the biggest draw back is by far the price. To be honest, that alone will be keeping me from buying it. For those that say, it’s a bit cheaper in price compared to the barista served version, I say… Remember… it is instant.

    As a BIG Starbucks fan, here’s my dirty little secret…. I do drink Instant! For my cold Shabbos coffee instant coffee, I’ll be staying with Elite’s Turkish Instant Coffee. An $8something Jar last me forever. Not only that, its taste reminds me of my summers visiting my grandparents in Israel, as they drink it. Yes, I know Elite is the Maxwell House of Israel, but it’s really not that bad. Because Elite like VIA is also very finely ground, it dissolves well in cold water. If Starbucks would match its price, I’d switch in an Instant. (No pun intended)



    1. I am a huge fan of the iced coffee, so for me brewing a pot before Shabbat is perfect. I typically am not home for Shabbat so I don’t really have that option though haha.

      As far as instant, its really hot or miss. The Elite is very good, much better than maxwell house. My favorite though is Nestle’s Tasters Choice. Their regular is good but their Vanilla and Hazelnut is outstanding. Plus I buy a box of 20 packets for $3 or the big huge container at BJs that makes 200 cups is only $9. Much better priced than VIA.

      Plus you can go here and get a coupon:

    2. Look at Mishnah Berurah שיט, לג and just make yourself a pot of filtered coffee, knowing that there’s no good reason to actually consider it borer.

      • It’s not that it’s Filtered… More so that I usually don’t end up finishing a full Pot of Coffee over Shabbos.

    3. I don’t get it… if you open the package wrong, you’re erasing letters, but it’s not a problem to patronize Starbucks and have them do the work for you?

      As I read it, if the commandment says that your manservant or maidservant are not to work, that implies people working for you. You’re not even to have your livestock and foreigners work… certainly baristas are precluded, no?

      • Absolutely, buying a coffee on Shabbos would be prohibited. No, No… My wife bought the Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets before Shabbos. I just opened them and mixed them with cold water on Shabbos.

    4. Gotcha. My misunderstanding.

    5. I have some of the packets but haven’t tried them yet. When I tried them in-store, it burnt my tongue 😦

      I am a cold-coffee drinker, however, so I like that it can be “cold brewed” as it were.

      I used to hate instant coffee. But the Elite isn’t so bad. Thank G-d for our hosts who always brew a pot of regular right before Shabbos 🙂

    6. elite’s turkish is the most potent stuff ever! i only get it in Israel though… Can you help me get my blog off the ground by blogrolling me please? please reply by e-mail…

    7. Reuven,
      I totally agree with you. Via has been out since Pesach here in Chicago. I, too, brew before Shabbos and drink cold.
      My wife isn’t a big iced fan, so Via w/ half&half is perfect for her on Shabbos morning.

      Sadly, it’s not kosher l’Pesach (I spoke with the KSA).

    8. I LOVE Via. I came to Israel for 5 months and brought it with me. I can’t stand the instant stuff here.

      They are now coming out with flavored varieties and you can buy a box of 50 online for pretty cheap. I think I figured out that it was .79 per cup for me. However, I often will use half a packet since I tend to slowly sip and that cut my cost literally in half. 🙂

      Via is an instant coffee revolution. Prior to coming to Israel, I worked in an office where the brewed coffee was horrid. I was drinking a pack of Via a day and getting lattes at Starbucks on special occasions (aka at least once a week). Cut way back on my *$ spending! 🙂

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