Starbucks to sell instant coffee

LOS ANGELES Thu Feb 12, 2009 6:16pm EST

Starbucks signs are seen outside one of its stores in New York July 3, 2008. REUTERS/Chip East

Starbucks signs are seen outside one of its stores in New York July 3, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Chip East

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp, the chain that introduced upscale coffee drinks to the masses, said on Thursday it hopes to do the same for instant coffee.

The company plans to unveil its Via soluble coffee product on Tuesday and said it would soon send samples to stores.

The company says Via replicates the taste of Starbucks coffee in instant form and will be available next month after more than 20 years in development.

Instant coffee products such as Nescafe were popular decades ago in the United States and remain popular in parts of Europe and Asia.

In the latest quarter, the United States contributed $2 billion of the company's $2.6 billion in total revenue.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Andre Grenon and Matthew Lewis)

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