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Starbucks makes its latte cheaper—and more mobile

Starbucks VIA Vanilla Latte
Source: Starbucks
Starbucks VIA Vanilla Latte

The latte factor just got a little less relevant.

On Tuesday, Starbucks will launch portable, less expensive versions of two of its most popular beverages, its caffè mocha and vanilla latte drinks, in the U.S. and Canada, the company confirmed to CNBC.

At $6.95 for a pack of four, the new drinks, which are the latest iterations of its "Via" line, will cost less than their counterparts bought at the Starbucks counter. By spring, they will be available at grocery stores at $7.99 for a pack of five.

"This is really about when you can't get to a Starbucks," said Linda Mills, a spokesperson for the coffee chain. "It's really for those types of occasions. It's a big innovation from a Via perspective."

(Read more: Woman eats only Starbucks items for a year)

The new line is Starbucks' first dairy-based drinks. They require customers to just add hot water to prepare.

The two new drinks join a line of instant coffees, "Refreshers," which are cool beverages, and seasonal drinks, like peppermint mocha.

In previous conversations with analysts, Starbucks executives have noted that grabbing more of the at-home coffee market, through Via and its K-Cups, is part of its growth strategy.

In late November, Chief Financial Officer and Group President, Global Business Services Troy Alstead noted at a Morgan Stanley conference that Starbucks has a 30-percent share of the at-home coffee market in the U.S., according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

In July, Starbucks Chairman, President, and CEO Howard Schultz said on an earnings call that the premium single cup category now accounts for nearly 30 percent of the company's total coffee sales.

"We continue to strengthen our leadership position in the $8 billion premium single cup category, a segment that's grown nine times faster than the overall coffee category during the past year," he added, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Although the new drinks will cost customers less, Starbucks is not worried about potential cannibalization of sales, Mills said.

"We're really not—it's an opportunity for people to experience that latte taste from us when they can't get to a Starbucks store," she added.

—By CNBC's Katie Little. Follow her on Twitter @KatieLittle

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