Instant coffee smackdown

Swiss giant Nestle isn't about to roll over and let Starbucks steal customers

By Kim Peterson Nov 18, 2009 2:31PM
Starbucks introduced its own instant coffee product last month, and immediately insulted the competition by calling other instant coffees "flat and lifeless."

That talk isn't sitting too well with Nestlé, the Swiss company who makes the well-known Nescafé Tasters Choice instant coffee.
So Nestlé is striking back, launching a nationwide campaign calling Starbucks' new Via product "a lot of hype."

A new coffee war is on.

MarketWatch reports that Nestlé employees are handing out samples and $1 coupons in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

The samples have the tagline: "A lot of hype or a lot of flavor. Taste for yourself."

Why all the attention? In this economy, people may be more open to trying instant coffee, which is cheaper -- certainly more so than your average cup at Starbucks.

Also, the U.S. is just a newbie when it comes to instant stuff. This country has only 5% of the instant coffee market, which amounts to $21 billion worldwide, MarketWatch reports.

Starbucks seized the opportunity with its Via Ready Brew, and even put out a video (you can watch it here) showing how Via is superior to other instant coffees.


Via costs about $1 per single serving, though the price drops as you buy larger quantities. Nescafé is significantly cheaper -- at least in my town.


I have to admit that I haven't tried either company's instant coffees. Can anyone share their experiences? Which one is better, and how do they stack up against other coffee?

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