Is the way that Starbucks manufactures its Via instant coffee product different from the way that other instant coffees are manufacture

Is the way that Starbucks manufactures its Via instant coffee product different from the way that other instant coffees are manufactured?

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  1. Basically, it is an patent-pending blend of microground coffee and freeze dried coffee.
    I don’t use Via very often, but find it a very close store bought substitute when I’m travelling (and there are no Starbucks to be found).
    Andrew Linnemann, director of green coffee quality and operations at Starbucks had the following to say in this article.

    Via is a combination of dried coffee and “micro-ground” coffee. According to Linnemann the dried part follows what is recognizable as industry procedure. Starbucks takes its beans and makes a liquid coffee extract, which gets reduced to dried form. But whereas your typical instant coffee maker is focused on yield and output, the Starbucks gang focused on taste, Linnemann says. Start with better beans, brew the coffee, and then break the coffee drying process down into smaller sub-steps to preserve the flavor. All with no chemicals. “We use the same equipment as the other guys, but how we use the equipment is much different,” Linnemann says. What that likely means is that the yield in the Starbucks process is much lower (the extraction level is lower). That is by far a more expensive way to go but one that preserves more of the flavor. It may also explain why Starbucks is charging around $1 per packet of the stuff.
    So far so good. “But it is the micro-grinding technology where we really cracked the code,” Linnemann says. Aha! Now we are getting to the real “bean” of the matter. “The key is how do you grind freshly roasted coffee fine enough to preserve its character, add flavor and texture without adding grit?” Linnemann says. And how does Starbucks do it? “I can’t tell you that,” Mr. Green Bean says laughing. He did say, “it’s as if the coffee bean went to a spa.” Which means exactly what?
    So Starbucks is serious about keeping this micro-grinding technology a secret, at least for another 18 months or so and the patent is made public. Clair Hicks, a professor of food science at the University of Kentucky, figures what Starbucks does is a lot like grinding pepper. “You can seen how it would release more of the flavor components, and could improve the taste,” Hicks says. ‘My first bet is that they take the extract and the micro-grounds and run the whole thing through a freeze-drier.”


    source: Starbucks’ new high-tech coffee – Fortune Tech

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