I don't prophesy doom too much, but if I had told you six months ago that Starbucks would be selling instant coffee, you would have given me one of those looks saved for Japanese game shows and street preachers.
Well, start stockpiling gold bullion. Starbucks is selling instant coffee. As early as next month, it will introduce Via, which it's spinning as a "soluble-coffee" product. From Ad Age: "Starbucks declined to comment on the launch, which is said to be a long-term pet project of Chief Executive Howard Schultz and as such will get a significant marketing push... 'It's a breakthrough in soluble coffee,' said a person close to the project."
No matter how big a marketing push Via gets, instant coffee has a well-deserved reputation for awfulness. Instant coffee suffers from uncanny valley syndrome, where it looks like coffee and smells like coffee but is just off enough that my mouth rejects it. It doesn't help that the last memorable instant coffee was Folgers Crystals and that it was in the 1980s. It means that when I hear the words "instant coffee," I think of something like the video below: