Starbucks' new high-tech coffee

October 2, 2009: 10:52 AM ET

Think of the new Via product as "instant 2.0"

It's been decades since coffee has received an upgrade. Sure, there has been a steady beat of packaging improvements. All those cute, colorful foil pods that get popped into machines that then spit out a variety of brews. But according to coffee historian Mark Pendergrast, not since coffee giants General Foods (now part of Kraft (KFT) )and Nestle (NSRGY) spent millions in the late 1960s figuring out how to freeze-dry our morning addiction, has the actual coffee been the subject of a technological push forward.starbucks_instant_coffee.jc

Let's face it, that has been a good thing. No offense to all you Taster's Choice die-hards, but trying to improve upon a well-roasted coffee bean, ground to perfection and then brewed to your personal taste (I'll take a double espresso with a little bit of foam) has mostly been a big mistake. We have all benefited from coffee's return to its low-tech origins. But now the company that arguably has benefited the most from the artisan approach to coffee, Starbucks (SBUX), is taking us back to the future with its new line of instant coffee dubbed Via. More

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