Instant coffee at Starbucks

Not everyone is buying the company's claim that it'll be good as regular brew

When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz reclaimed the top job at the coffee chain last year, the company’s investors and employees heralded his return as if it were the Second Coming. After overdosing on a caffeine-infused expansion plan under Schultz’ predecessor, the company saw its market share eroded by the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds, one time purveyors of drip coffee swill that have dramatically improved their caffeine offering. So after weeks of hyping a new strategy, what does Starbucks offer as a way to fight back? Instant coffee. The company claims its new line, called Via, will taste just as good as what’s brewed by its baristas. Fortune magazine isn’t buying it, though. “If Schultz doesn’t produce the next Frappucino soon, consistent innovation might not be enough – and his instant coffee won’t be the only thing in hot water.”