Starbucks is kicking off the summer season by expanding its Via instant coffee beverage line.

On Tuesday, the coffee chain announced that it has added an iced coffee version of VIA that people can make at home or while traveling. Consumers just need to mix the special blend of instant coffee powder with cold water and add ice. VIA iced coffee comes in single-use sticks and is now available in five-packs at Starbucks stores in the US and Canada. It sells for $5.95 ($6.95 Canada) and contains 100 calories per each 16 fl. oz serving.
VIA iced coffee is a lightly-sweetened blend of medium roasted coffee and arabica beans designed to mimic the taste of a freshly made cup of Starbucks coffee. The original VIA coffee line currently sells in all Starbucks locations and grocery stores.

"The Starbucks VIA portfolio is perfect for iced coffee drinkers and a great addition to our summer beverage selection," said Annie Young-Scrivner, Starbucks global chief marketing officer.

Starbucks has been expanding its portfolio of beverage offerings for the past several months. Earlier this year, it introduced an "everyday brew" to its menu called Pike Place Roast. Then, in April, it rolled out a line of smoothies and sweet iced drinks. With fast-food chains and other companies breaking into the coffee business, the new lines are aimed at differentiating Starbucks from the competition and expanding its customer base beyond java-loving drinkers willing to pay a premium for a latte.

Customers can get $1 off the new Starbucks VIA iced coffee by printing out this coupon which expires on August 29, 2010.

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