www.marilynbrant.com

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Great Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew Taste Test!!

I'm so excited about this event!

Those of you who know me already know I love coffee (especially with whipped cream and chocolate sauce and those little white-chocolate shavings, but I digress...), and I drink it on the go with alarming frequency. So, it was a thrilling moment when I discovered these new Starbucks VIA™ Ready Brew packets last month because they came in two flavors (the Colombia and the Italian Roast), were in very convenient little pouches, and all I had to do was open one, add 8oz. of hot or cold water, stir it up and voilà! I tried it, I loved it and I thought it would be an excellent coffee accompaniment while reading books...so I gave some away. Anything to add further joy to the fun that was AustenFest, right?

Well, things got even more exciting when Starbucks, thanks to their representative Jason, offered to send me additional packets to give away for other online contests, or with my books or, really, to whomever I wanted.

"Wow!" I thought. "How great is that?!"

And--since I'd heard the product was only available online or at stores in Chicago, Seattle and London--I suspected there were A LOT of people who probably hadn't tried it yet. So, then I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a taste test?" (I always wanted to host a taste test!) Then a bunch of other people could get a sneak preview of VIA™, too, and they could tell me how they enjoyed fixing their coffee. (Because I'd love some new, creative ideas!) And they'd also let me know whether they preferred the Colombia to the Italian Roast or vice versa, and if they liked to drink it hot or cold or with some kind of topping...

I figured, "Hey, 20 or 25 of us will have a really good time doing this."

Then, at the end of last week, I found out I'd be getting a box with 150 individual servings of each flavor--that is, 300 packets!! (Thank you, Jason! :)

So, Dear Coffee-Loving Friends in the Blogosphere, we're gonna have some serious taste-testing fun...

I have samples for 150 new participants, not including the people who won the VIA™ coffee along with the B&N giftcards or the ARCs of According to Jane. [You don't need to sign up below because your coffee has already been sent to you, so you're all set to take part in the event next month!] Here's how it'll work for those who don't have the packets yet:

1. All you have to do is be one of the first 150 people to sign up in the comment section of THIS post before Saturday, August 8, 2009. You can sign in with your Blogger account or, if you'd rather, you can sign in as Anonymous and use just your first name or your initials or a nickname to distinguish yourself from the other participants.

2. Then, please email me (marilynbrant AT gmail DOT com) with your name and mailing address, also by August 8th, so I can send you two coffee packets: one of the Colombia and one of the Italian Roast. Absolutely NO names, addresses or emails will be shared with anyone else!! It's just me privately sending them out to you.

3. Finally, in the later part of August, after the packets have had a chance to arrive in your mailboxes (I'll send them anywhere, btw, so you don't have to live in the U.S.), I'll put up a blog post specifically for everyone who tried the coffee so they can share what they liked or didn't like about it. Oooh! And maybe we'll do a coffee poll! (I don't know how to create these yet, but I have friends who do...right, Caryn? L.A.? :) Or maybe some sort of a prize for Most Imaginative Coffee Creation! I, personally, want to get one of those nifty tumblers someday that can hold up to six VIA™ packets so, perhaps, that would be a cool prize...or maybe one of the 12-pack boxes of coffee...or a Starbucks giftcard...or a couple of novels...or some tasty chocolate truffles... Still deciding, but you get the idea!

Anyway, sign up and tell your coffee-drinking friends to sign up, too. I'll be away at the Romance Writers of America's National Conference in Washington D.C. over the next week and a half (it's a roadtrip with a few extra stops...) but, after I return, I will respond to every email I receive so I can let participants know that I have their addresses for the taste test. Then, I will buy a box of envelopes and prepare to do a mass mailing of coffee and more coffee... Whoo-hoo!

So, are you in?!

80 comments:

Erica said...

Oooooh! I already have my packets, but this sounds like a hoot. The only taste test I've participated in was coke v. pepsi, when I was a child. I picked Coke, it was sponsored by Pepsi...left me feeling very, very guilty.

Pamala Knight said...

Look at you getting all marketing savvy!! What a wonderful promotion Marilyn and as your 'sometimes partner in coffee crime', I will be anxious to test drive the newest offering from Starbucks.

Too bad you can't do the taste test like the old Coke versus Pepsi challenges that use to be popular on television. Those looked like fun--hot, sweaty outdoors, crush of people type fun, but fun nonetheless. LOL!

Heather Long said...

Count me in. I've been drinking Starbuck's for years and the idea of these packets is too delicious an opportunity to pass up!

Renee G said...

This sounds fun. I'll go e-mail you now.

Ruth said...

Erica (Ackery) sent me over, and this sounds like fun ... I'll send you an email ASAP.

Marilyn Brant said...

Erica~Thanks for tweeting about this! Good news w/this is that there's no guilt involved here--both are Starbucks :).

Pamala~LOL, I loved those commercials...and all the sweaty people! Probably, though, the coffee would make them even sweatier, unless we did a winter thing and the crush was from all of them trying to stay warm!

Heather~Welcome! Glad to have another Starbucks coffee fan onboard!!

Renee~Excellent! I'll be off to check email in a moment...

Ruth~Erica's wonderful, isn't she? Glad to have you joining in also!

Joelle said...

What fun....I like all the chocolate and whip cream type stuff in my coffee..but my husband likes his black...so he's going to the main tasting. Then I'll add sprinkles and see how I like it:) Thanks, Erica for sending out a tweet about this.

Tanya J said...

MMMMM! I would love to try this!!!

emmy said...

I am a little late to the "coffee party" but I have dying to try that coffee.I tried to get some awhile back but Starbucks was out of the samples at that time.

Hopefully better late than never!

Maria Geraci said...

Oh, I love Starbucks! As a matter of fact, I'm drinking some now. Count me in:)

Marilyn Brant said...

Joelle~I think we could get matching coffee drinks sometime :). Glad to have you and your hubby joining in!

Tanya J~Great!! You're in!

Emmy~You'll definitely get some now, and you're not late at all! The party's just getting started here :).

Maria~You rock! Of course, I'm counting you in... See you in D.C.!

**I will ALWAYS send a reply email to participants, so if you sent me your mailing address (marilynbrant@gmail.com) and haven't gotten an email back, please resend!**

Joyce said...

Okay I think I got this figured out??!!
See I just needed some caffeine motivation - sign me up!

Tiffany said...

Oooh -- Coffee is my drug of choice. I didn't win anything relating to coffee before, so I qualify, right?

Marilyn Brant said...

Yay, Joyce, you did it!!! So proud of you, my friend :). Caffeine is an *excellent* motivator, isn't it?!

Tiffany~great to see you back! And, yes, of course you can do this, too! Your AustenFest prize was sent out before I got the coffee or I would've sent some then. Glad you'll be a part of it!

Robin said...

How fun, Marilyn! I don't drink coffee (except the blended full of sugar ones) so don't count me in. I look forward to hearing about it though. :)

Have a fabulous time in DC!

Gail Fuller said...

Ah, coffee - nectar of the gods. :) What a neat idea.

Have a great time at the conference!

Sharpei4Kris said...

Wow! You are awesome for doing this. I'd love to be able to try them.
Have a wonderful trip

Marilyn Brant said...

Robin~I remember you told me that before--the caffeine can be tough on a lot of people (my husband can only drink decaf). For me, decaf or regular, I HAVE TO add sugar, too :). Hoping to see you in Nashville!!

Gail~Thanks for the conference wishes--I'm hoping you'll be in Nashville also! Still looking forward to hearing all the exciting details of YOUR trip!!

Kris~Fantastic--I'll send you some :). And welcome to Brant Flakes! I'm glad to have you here.

lainey bancroft said...

Marilyn! A colossal, chaotic, caffeinated contest!

You are my giveaway hero!

Hope you have a blast at the conference.

knit_chick said...

I'd love to participate.

Have a great time at the conference!

Marilyn Brant said...

Lainey~I love your alliteration! (I probably spelled that wrong...it's late and there isn't a dictionary anywhere in sight at the hotel. :-) Thanks, hon!

Knit Chick~Thanks to you, too :). Glad to have you here!

vvb32 reads said...

mmm, must have coffee. i'm game.

Tina M. Russo said...

I am soooo in. And btw you can easily create surveys at Surveymonkey.com

Marilyn Brant said...

vvb32~Yay! I'm so glad to have you join in!

Tina~Excellent!! And, ohhh, I didn't know about Surveymonkey--thank you! :)

Vesper said...

Marilyn, you're so sweet... Hmmm, coffee with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and white-chocolate shavings... :-)

Brett said...

Sure! Count me in. I rarely drink coffee, but I can't pass up the fun of doing some taste-testing research!

Marilyn Brant said...

Vesper and Brett~I've got you two down!! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the coffee :).

Anonymous said...

So Starbucks is compensating you in some way for this, right? I mean, come on, be honest with us girl...

Marilyn Brant said...

Anonymous~I understand your question and realize cynicism is common in our world. I can't speak to anyone else's experience but mine, but the answer is no. Starbucks is not compensating me in any way other than to provide the coffee packets.

I genuinely like this product, which is why I gave it away in the first place. When their rep contacted me to offer me more--with no strings attached whatsoever--I was the one who came up with the taste test idea. The rep and Starbucks very generously sent me far more VIA packets than I expected, and I'm willing to give them all away so other people can try them, too. (And I'm paying for the envelopes and postage.)

What I get out of it is the fun of hosting an event that both draws traffic to my blog and, hopefully, provides something new and enjoyable to my visitors. To me, that's compensation enough.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marilyn,
Thanks for doing this! I got one of your book postcards in Washington DC. Pretty cover! I'll send you my mailing address for the coffee now!!
Samantha

Dorothy said...

This is great and it means I can keep the Starbucks packs I already have for emergencies. Did you know you can make ice coffee with them?
My daughter worked for Starbucks from the time she was 16 until 23 when she graduated from college. When she came home from work she smelled like coffee. Aaah. Plus she got a pound of free coffee a week. My benefit.

Marilyn Brant said...

Samantha~thanks for signing up! Glad to have you join in. :)

Dorothy~ooh, I didn't know Starbucks employees got that coffee perk! I'd *love* that!! (I have a couple of emergency VIA packs in my purse... :-)

Sara Daniel said...

Mmmmm Starbucks. My husband (non-coffee drinker--opposites do atract!) doesn't understand that the morning Starbucks run is a NECESSITY. But I'm preaching to the choir here. If coffee wasn't enough to draw me there, there was that little teaser about chocolate truffles, which I can already taste with my coffee. Marilyn, you're my hero!!

Anonymous said...

Count me in. I looooove Starbucks.

Laurie Brown

Anonymous said...

This sounds fabulous! I would love to participate - and I love doing creative things with my coffee. Must be a purist to begin with though!
Thanks Marilyn!
Diane Campanile

Marilyn Brant said...

Sara~LOL! Opposites DO attract. My husband drinks only decaf, black--as in no sugar *anywhere* and no whipped cream... I marvel at the oddity of this! ;)

Laurie~Excellent! Glad to have you taking part!!

Diane~Yay! And coffee purists are absolutely welcome :).

b_writer said...

I'd love to give the coffee a try.

Blythe Gifford said...

Count me in on the taste test. I have a 1:30 p.m. cup of coffee every day and will dutifully compare and report!

Dorothy said...

Count me in too. I've been wanting to try VIA and now's my chance. Thanks, Marilyn.

Marilyn Brant said...

Barbara (b_writer)~I hope you'll like it!

Thanks, Blythe! You're going to be a fabulous taste tester ;). Looking forward to your report!

Dorothy~welcome and thank you! It's lovely to "see" you here.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Marilyn! What fun. I'm in if you have any packets left. I'll be at our meeting on Monday.

Kayla Perrin said...

Oooh, a taste test! Please count me in if there is still enough to go around. I'm a coffee addict as well.

Avery Beck said...

Hi Marilyn,

Hubby and I are both Starbucks addicts and would love to do a taste test for you! Will email soon...

~Avery (007 sister :-)

Laura said...

Oooo! Great idea, Marilyn!

We're hopelessly addicted to Starbucks in my house, too. Keep trying to kick the habit, but it's not easy...

Marilyn Brant said...

Debra~I've got packets left and will be delighted to bring you a couple of them on Monday ;).

Kayla~Believe me, all coffee addicts are more than welcome!! Just email me your address--I'll be happy to mail some out to you!

Avery~I'll send some for both you and your hubby then!

Laura~Thank you so much. Hope you'll like these, too :).

Jill said...

I almost missed this. Whew ! I'm in.

Beth C said...

I love coffee and love Starbucks! Sadly there is not one convenient to m y house, so I'd LOVE to try the instant coffees! Thanks,
Beth Cornelison

Robin Kaye said...

I'm totally addicted to Starbucks, as a matter of fact, I write 20 hours a week at my favorite Starbucks while my daughter dances. I put a heartfelt thank you in my book Too Hot to Handle to all my friends at the Carlisle Crossing Starbucks.

Sign me up! I've got a full five weeks until my daughter starts dancing again. I'm seriously going to through Starbucks withdrawal.

gleecady said...

What a great idea. I am interested in discovering if instant coffee has improved. I'm a coffee snob :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I like my coffee straight black. Our coffee brewer just quit working yesterday...stopped in mid-brew.

Louis

Marilyn Brant said...

Jill~you bet! I got'cha down :).

Beth~we've got 3 within about a 2-mile radius, but it's the getting dressed and actually driving there when I'm exhausted that's the problem. I need the coffee wake-up *before* I leave the house!!

Robin~I hear you! I often write at one of the nearby Starbucks during the school year. I'm counting the days until school starts again... ;)

gleecady~would love to know if you think it *has* improved!!

Louis~oh, no! I'm sympathizing and experiencing pangs of caffeine withdrawal on your behalf :).

Lucy said...

I love coffee, and I'd love to try new instant coffee!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful promotion! I don't know anyone who doesn't like Starbucks...including me. I'd love to participate.
Thanks,
Ayn Hunt
www.AuthorsDen.com/aynhunt

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks, Lucy! I hope you'll enjoy it :).

Ayn, thank you--I'm so glad you like the idea!! I'll mail a couple of packets out to you!

M said...

Saw your post on the cherries. I lurrrve coffee. Flavored coffee, non flavored coffee. Coffee with alcohol (yum) non alcoholic coffee. What a wonderful idea! You rock!

Marilyn Brant said...

Thanks so much, M!! Would love to hear your thoughts on the coffee :). Please email me with your mailing address so I can send it out!

ALSO--anyone here--if you emailed me (marilynbrant@gmail.com) and DID NOT receive a reply from me, please resend! I want to make sure I can get these packets to you ;).

Stephanie said...

Oh, I've heard about these but haven't seen them yet. Actually, I don't drink coffee but was going to get some to send with DH when he goes camping and hope that he returns in better spirits than he usually does. Thanks this is a great giveaway!

celi.a said...

Oh! Sign me up for this! I'm a serious coffee addict, and these little innovative packets could be my salvation (or downfall?). Great idea!

Rachel said...

This sounds like a fantastic idea - I would love to try these!

Marilyn Brant said...

Stephanie~I hope your dear hubby will like them ;).

Celi.a~You're set! Looking forward to hearing what you think of them.

Rachel~Excellent! Will get them out to you next week!!

Also, to Bernadine and Bethany, who both ran into Blogger issues, thank you for emailing me directly!!

**If anyone else has trouble posting because Blogger is being difficult, just shoot me a message via email and I'll get you signed up--that's no problem :-).

Dorothy said...

There's nothing like Starbucks to perk up a conversation. And yes, the pun was intended. I'm only on my second cup of Starbucks this morning.

Unfortunately I'm also an avid Starbucks cup collector. Say that three times fast. I buy them when on sale. I like the short oval type cups. I'm pathetic.

Marilyn Brant said...

LOL, Dorothy! Nothing pathetic about that at all :).

Helen Ginger said...

I had never heard of these. Probably because I don't live in Chicago, Seattle or London. I'm in a teeny town in Texas. But even our teeny town has a Starbucks. I wonder how small you would have to be to NOT have a Starbucks? Anywho, this sounds like fun. I'll email you.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Marilyn Brant said...

Helen~thanks so much! Glad to have you join in :).

Thanks, also, to a few other people (Dave, Meredith and Jenni), who wanted to take part in the taste test but had issues either with Blogger or their computers. Will get VIA packets out to you next week, too!

A couple of people have yet to email me their addresses... If you forgot--or if you tried and haven't heard back from me--please resend so I can get the coffee to you :).

If you know of anyone who might like to take part in the taste test, feel free to share this link. They can still sign up through tomorrow night!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!!

Fresh Fiction said...

Yes, sure, send me this Starbucks sample. Hopefully it's as good as their sample of Pike Place brewed which they NO LONGER sell!!! SOB SOB SOB

It was SO good!!!!

Sara R.

Linda Mooney said...

Yes! I'm a huge Starbucker! Please count me in! Thank you so much!

Arianna Skye said...

Wow! this sounds great. I love Starbucks!

Jasmine Haynes said...

This is a great idea, Marilyn! I adore coffee and would love to try the new packets!

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I love Starbucks.

Sara EE.

T U Dawood said...

What a cool contest.

Thanks Marilyn!

Marilyn Brant said...

Sara R.~you've got it! And THANK YOU for tweeting :).

Jasmine~hi!! Great to see you here!

Linda, Arianna, Sara EE and T.U.~Welcome to Brant Flakes!

Looking forward to sending you all these coffee packets and hearing if you like 'em ;).

Liz Flaherty said...

What a great idea! I love taste tests, too, because you can't possibly flunk 'em!

Nean said...

MMMMmmmm... Coffee. I'm most definitely in. :) ~Nean

Marilyn Brant said...

Liz~LOL about not flunking a taste test :). No worries about that!

Nean~Thanks for signing up!!

Margay said...

I would love to sign up for this, if it's not too late
Margay

Marilyn Brant said...

Margay, it's not too late! Thanks for joining in. Please email me your address so I know where to send :).

Also, I've got the coffee *almost* ready to mail out and am missing just a few addresses:
Renee G.
Tanya J.
Kayla Perrin
Louis
(and Margay, yours, too!!)
If you're one of the people above, your email didn't come through on my Gmail, so please resend. I tried to reach you if I could, but you may not have gotten my message...
Many thanks :).

mystwood said...

Marilyn,

I would love to participate in this taste test! Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to try the new Via.

Laurie P.

Marilyn Brant said...

Laurie P.~Yay! I'll get some VIA to you this week :).

Thanks to those who've contacted me about addresses. Tanya J. and Louis, if you see this note, please email me with yours so I can send you some coffee, too ;).

Any last-minute participants are welcome. It's still the 8th in some parts of the world, right?! Well, even if it's not... I'll check in later today for the final count and will start sending out coffee tomorrow!!!

Anonymous said...

I already emailed you but didn't sign up here yet. Is it still okay to do it?

-A.J.

Marilyn Brant said...

A.J.~Sure! You got in just in time :).

Also, a hello and welcome to Lisa, Mike and Colleen at the Y for jumping in and saying they wanted to take part, too.

Glad to have you all with us!!

So...I think we'll cap it here... VIA Ready Brew packets will go out tomorrow, and I'll have a post up on August 20th for anyone who's taste-tested the coffee to share their opinions. Looking forward to reading your thoughts and to giving away a few prizes, too. I hope--regardless of your taste preferences--that everyone involved has a little fun trying out the coffee!!