If you know any Americans, you'll probably know that they drink a lot of coffee - large amounts (like a Venti which is 20 ounces) and frequently. No matter how late for work they are in the morning, they'll either get up and put a brew on, or pop into one of the many coffee places en route to work to grab a cup of joe. Their work places tend not to have giant vending machines offering coffee, unless it's a cappucino or espresso machine (and even they aren't common), but will have caraffes of regular and decaf coffee on the go at all times. Hazelnut and/or french vanilla if you're lucky.
One thing that is noticably absent in an American pantry is instant coffee. You can buy it in the stores, but instant receives a hundredth of the shelf space devoted to coffee compared to ground and whole bean coffee. I once met a guy at a conference who had never had instant coffee in his entire life, and wasn't about to try it then either despite the fact that there was nothing else on offer. The Ball & Chain would rather drink his own wee than drink instant. I am thinking of making him do a blind taste test but his coffee preference makes the teaspoon stand on end, so he'd probably guess.
Where am I going with this? What possible connection could this post have to roses, or names? Well, yesterday, hidden in the pile of rubbish that passes for mail these days, was a trial sachet of Starbucks instant coffee. (Only sent out to residents in Chicago and Seattle for some reason. Probably that we drink the most coffee on the planet.) The clever people in the Starbucks marketing department have decided to trick Americans by calling it VIA Ready Brew (which is trade-marked by the way.) Apparently, "This isn't like instant coffee you've ever tasted before"; it's made from "ethically-sourced Arabica beans", which presumably means that the poor beans lived a life of selfless giving before they were harvested to satisfy mankind's greed. Starbucks have even more cleverly re-packaged their thermos coffee cups as the "Ready Brew 10oz tumbler".
If you go to the Starbucks Store web site, you can read all about it and get a free sample. It's not officially out till some time in March. I decided to be your guinea pig and give it a whirl, not being averse to the odd cup of instant myself. It is as strong as your usual Starbucks coffee which should satisfy their fans, but was too strong for my taste.
I for one, will be watching this one closely. If Starbucks can conquer the American disdain for instant joe just by calling it VIA Ready Brew I will be very impressed. I may even copy their strategy and re-name every vegetable in the northern hemisphere in a bid to trick my kids.
Watch this space.