A new brew

Starbucks starts selling instant coffee, but will latte buyers stomach it?

Starbucks, the coffee giant best known for its $4 lattes, is going down market… way down market. This week, it started offering the lowliest form of java—instant coffee. The company sees a huge opportunity in the cheap drink, and a chance to reverse falling revenues. The instant coffee market is worth US$21 billion worldwide. Starbucks will sell its instant drink under the name Via. It will come in three packs for US$2.95 and 12 packs for US$9.95. The price point should appeal to consumers who’ve been switching to cheaper types of coffee drinks the recession. But the challenge will be whether instant coffee will appeal at all to the average Starbuck’s customer. The company says that Via exceeded expectations in test runs in the U.S. and London.

Associated Press

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