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Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Via alternatives on 09/09/2011 11:31:29 MDT Print View

Most of the main coffee suppliers sell their instant coffee in similar Via-style packets, and they are a lot cheaper (and crunchier). You'll find them in the coffee section of your local grocery store. Foljers (sp?) has a similar rich, full-bodied flavor to Via -- and is much tastier when eaten right from the package.

Addictedly yours,

Stargazer

Makais Aloha
(makais) - F

Locale: Southern California
Via on 09/09/2011 11:44:13 MDT Print View

I agree there are plenty of cheaper alternatives to Starbucks Via.

You can also simply grind your own coffee extremely fine and get a similar result.

I just like the way Starbucks Via is packaged. Those small little individual packages are very convenient. I used to bring Nescafe in a plastic baggy, and it would get messy.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Cheap individual coffee packets on 09/09/2011 12:26:58 MDT Print View

>I just like the way Starbucks Via is packaged. Those small little individual packages are very convenient. I used to bring Nescafe in a plastic baggy, and it would get messy.

That's what I'm talking about. At least three coffee suppliers are now packaging their instant coffee in Via-style, individual packages, and they typically cost about 1/2 of what the Via costs.

Eddy Walker
(Ewker) - M

Locale: southeast
Re: Cheap individual coffee packets on 09/09/2011 13:51:39 MDT Print View

>That's what I'm talking about. At least three coffee suppliers are now packaging their instant coffee in Via-style, individual packages, and they typically cost about 1/2 of what the Via costs<

Tasters Choice has been packaging them that way for 6-7 yrs. I use to use their instant coffee before Starbucks came out with theirs. I just think the Via taste better and it is worth the additional cost

Makais Aloha
(makais) - F

Locale: Southern California
microgrinding regular coffee beans on 09/09/2011 13:57:07 MDT Print View

Has anyone tried just microgrinding regular coffee beans in an attempt to make their own "via" packets? I'm tempted to try this.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Microgrinding on 09/09/2011 14:14:45 MDT Print View

Via definitely isn't ground coffee, unless my coffee palate has gone limp with age. It's instant, I think -- coffee juice rendered down. I have carried finely ground beans to make cowboy coffee with some success.

I also carry the beans in an old Five-Hour-Energy container. As you walk, just pop a few beans into your mouth, grind them up a little with your front teeth, and stick them between your upper lip and gum, "chaw" style. Then, pull a few fragments at a time onto your front teeth, chew, and swallow. Mmmmmmm. Coffee.

Addictedly yours,

Stargazer

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Microgrinding on 09/09/2011 15:03:45 MDT Print View

Via is instant coffee combined with "microground" coffee bean to set it apart from the usual instant. In the cup it's most similar to coffee from a French press, which explains the layer that forms on the bottom.

It's conceivable one could take "good" standard instant (should such a creature exist) add a pinch of microground fresh coffee and replicate the Via experience. I just don't know where I'd get that good instant as my starting point. I've got the grinder.

Cheers,

Rick

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Microgrinding UL Backpacking Tip # 999 ;-) on 09/09/2011 16:07:44 MDT Print View

"I have carried finely ground beans to make cowboy coffee with some success."

This is the most efficient way to make cowboy coffee. The finer the grind, the more coffee surface area exposed to the water, the more complete the extraction. This is especially important at high altitude where water boils at a lower temperature. It also enables you to use less coffee to make a given amount of suitably strong brew, which in turn means less weight.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
Coffee in a teabag on 09/09/2011 16:22:31 MDT Print View

>Via is instant coffee combined with "microground" coffee bean to set it apart from the usual instant.

That's the way they make those "coffee-in-a-teabag" single serving. I carried those for a while, but they were pretty awful (albeit, convenient to use -- or at least until you have to carry out the sodden bag).

My complaint about all the Starbucks coffees is that they are too bitter. They were clearly made to be mixed with some gawdawful flavoring or to be latted up. :-~ They never struck me as particularly good straight or with a little cream, the way our maker intended coffee to be drunk (or eaten). :-)

Stargazer

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Caffeine on 09/09/2011 20:19:39 MDT Print View

Keep in mind -- caffeine tablets are going to hit you a lot faster and harder than the same dose dissolved in water (? and mixed with powdered milk) and sipped over many minutes. Caffeine withdrawal takes maybe 2-3 days. You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen for any morning headache for those couple days. Alternatively, you can taper off a few days before your trip. If you can do without the pleasure of a hot caffeinated beverage, I would just take the opportunity to kick the habit instead of resorting to caffeine tablets. (I drink coffee. I would be better off if I didn't!)

Watch out for gels with caffeine. Know just how much you are using! A friend of mine recently od'd on an exposed scramble. If you only drink a shot of espresso (maybe 75mg caffiene) a day and you suddenly consume a few of the 200mg caffeine clifshots, you are likely to suffer.

Edited by backpackerchick on 09/09/2011 20:42:49 MDT.

Robert Perkins
(rp3957)

Locale: The Sierras
caffeine tablets in place of tea or coffee? on 09/09/2011 21:07:27 MDT Print View

Vivarin. 200 mg a dose, over the counter, great stuff if you like your caffeine. Learned that trick from a PCT-er that loved his coffee, but was fast-packing and didn't want to fusss with the weight or the hassle of making coffee. The tablets are easy to break up for a lower dose, if needed. The caffeine/dehydration myth was 'busted' a while back.

Edited by rp3957 on 09/09/2011 21:25:56 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Caffeine on 09/09/2011 22:08:09 MDT Print View

"If you only drink a shot of espresso (maybe 75mg caffiene) a day and you suddenly consume a few of the 200mg caffeine clifshots, you are likely to suffer."

Yes, most sports medicine experts will tell you that a low to moderate caffeine dose has a positive effect on athletic performance. However, you have to know how to estimate that dose for your own body and not let things run away.

The other morning, for a cold backpacker breakfast, I had one GU with caffeine and some other stuff. That got good results.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Coffee Flavor on 09/10/2011 08:08:25 MDT Print View

Lest us not forget that coffee is like cheese and wine - for every hater of one type there are 50 who love it. VIA is that way. If you don't like Starbucks coffee black you won't like VIA plain and simple. The Tasters Choice packets are I think a good sub for milder coffee lovers - I find it is very acidic coffee though, eats at the stomach. But then I actually like SB beans - I am not a black coffee fan though (really not good for ones pearly whites!) and only drink lattes.

And there is nothing wrong or pretentious with wanting milk and or flavorings with ones coffee I might add!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: caffeine tablets in place of tea or coffee? on 09/10/2011 08:56:51 MDT Print View

I'm out hiking to enjoy the trip, not have some masochistic punishment drill. I drink my coffee sweet and Via works for me. All you need is a small titanium cup, an Esbit wing stove and some aluminum foil for hot meals. You don't need bring water to a full boil for instant coffee, oatmeal, or dried soups, it just needs to be hot. I have an Evernew 450ml cup with a fixed handle and the wing stove, aluminum foil and a folding spork fit inside with ease. If I really want to be extravagant, I bring a Ti Sierra cup so I can have a bowl and a cup at the same time. I'm sure there are many recycled plastic containers that would fill the same niche. My point is that it doesn't take much to have a hot drink or instant meal.

The idea of eating instant coffee or taking pills instead of having real meals misses the mark of being outdoors and enjoying life. I'm outdoors to get away from the sicknesses of modern life, not take them with me or even accelerate them. Sloooow down and savor your time in nature! Turn off the cellular phone and iPod, put your feet up and have a nice cuppa as you watch the sunrise. Feel the wind on you skin, hear the birds sing and the stream running, smell the evergreens, be alive :)

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Diuretic on 09/12/2011 21:32:25 MDT Print View

At low does, no. At higher doses, 750mg+/day, potentially yes. If you are consuming a couple of those 200mg caffiene cliffshot gels per hour, you might want to consider potential diuretic effects! The other thing to consider is that coffee is usually mixed with a lot of water -- that is how you make it! Gels obviously do not contain much water!

Caffeine consumed more or less "normally" isn't going to dehydrate you. Caffeine enemas have been used in doses of 5 grams caffeine --~50 cups of coffee worth. (Furthermore, the drug doesn't have to contend with the harsh conditions of the upper GI system!)

Edited by backpackerchick on 09/12/2011 21:43:04 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Diuretic on 09/13/2011 08:47:14 MDT Print View

LOL...if we get to the point of doing caffeine enemas on the trail we might want to get committed ;-)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Diuretic on 09/13/2011 17:14:16 MDT Print View

"LOL...if we get to the point of doing caffeine enemas on the trail we might want to get committed ;-)"

Now, now, Sarah. Everyone follows their own path to Nirvana. ;)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Re: Diuretic on 09/13/2011 18:58:27 MDT Print View

I suppose though with that much direct lined caffeine we might make 40-50 mile days with no issue ;-)

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Via Mocha on 09/13/2011 19:56:59 MDT Print View

for those that haven't tried it, their Via Mocha is pretty darn good- combining two addictions (coffee & cocoa) is better than just one ;)

tablets and pills vs a cup of joe............ come on

Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Re: Diuretic on 09/29/2011 23:08:30 MDT Print View

>> Caffeine enemas have been used in doses of 5 grams caffeine --~50 cups of coffee worth.

In that case, I highly recommend the pills, and NOT fresh brewed! Though I guess that would make the Platy Hoser truly milt-use! Oh snap! Where'd my bite valve go!

I've weened myself off caffeine for trips. It makes things more convenient, but frankly, a hot cup of joe in the morning really gets me going. I don't think it's just the caffeine. There's something life affirming about communing with nature on a chilly morning while cradling a steaming cup of coffee in both hands, watching the sun come up over a ridge.