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There were numerous press reports yesterday saying that Starbucks, still seeking the magic formula that will help it rise from a sales and profit slump that in one year has turned it from being a golden business model to a poster child for misreading the marketplace, is about to introduce a new product – instant coffee.

Now, suffice it to say that while the company is not handing out details just yet, this isn’t be described as just any old instant coffee. Starbucks reportedly has been working on the concept for two decades, it supposedly replicates the Starbucks taste, and is being described in some places not as “instant coffee” but rather as “soluble coffee.”

Called “Via,” the product reportedly will start being sold in stores next week. CEO Howard Schultz is said to be making the formal announcement of the product on Tuesday.
KC's View:
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but will instant coffee called by another name taste any different?

I guess we’ll find out next week.

Timing is everything, and the problem with this announcement is that, no matter how long Starbucks has been working on the product and how good it tastes, the company continues to look desperate. Make this announcement two years ago, and maybe it looks revolutionary. Make it today, and it becomes fodder for jokes.