The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Starbucks looks to make tea trendy, with plans to open 'tea bar' in New York City

  • Print

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Starbucks is opening a new cafe in New York City, and it won't serve any coffee.

The Seattle-based company on Thursday plans to open its first Teavana "tea bar," where people can order specialty drinks and small dishes in a trendy, cafe-like setting. The sweets, flatbreads, salads and other food range in price from about $3 to $15. Drinks range in price from $3 to $6, and include novelties such as carbonated teas.

The menu of food and freshly made drinks is a change for Teavana, a chain of about 300 shops that sell boxed and loose tea and accessories. Teavana stores are mainly in shopping malls, but Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he plans to expand the footprint to include more locations in urban areas. Already, it has opened traditional Teavana shops in New York City.

Starbucks also plans to transform additional Teavana stores to make them more like Starbucks cafes and the tea bar that's opening Thursday.

The opening of the New York City tea bar comes after Starbucks bought Teavana last year. The company has said it plans to use the acquisition to make tea a bigger part of American culture, as it has with coffee.

Starbucks Corp., which has about 12,000 U.S. locations, has been on a strong financial run even in the weak economy, boosting its profits by raising prices, revamping food offerings and adding items such as pricey bottled juices. In its latest quarter, it said sales rose 9 per cent at cafes open at least a year.

At a media event at the new Teavana store, Schultz said executives noticed that tea orders were among the fastest-growing drinks at Starbucks cafes. People are also more likely to order food when they buy iced tea.

Schultz said he expects the average purchase at the Teavana shop to be higher than at a Starbucks cafe, although it probably won't get as many customers. The store is also expected to do more business throughout the day, compared with the early morning rush at Starbucks stores.

Starbucks opened a similar tea shop last year near its headquarters under its Tazo brand. Next month, that store will be converted into a Teavana tea bar as well.

The idea of a tea shop isn't new, of course. Jenny Ko, a part owner of the Culture Tea Bar in New York's Harlem neighbourhood, notes that they're more prevalent on the West Coast, but that they've been popping up on the East Coast more recently as well.

Ko said she welcomes Starbucks' push into tea shops, even though the company has put many put many smaller coffee chains out of business. She said she thinks her tea shop has enough unique offerings to withstand the competition. Besides, she said Starbucks' push should lead to greater awareness about teas in general.

"That's how everyone got into coffee, after Starbucks opened," Ko said.

Already, Ko noted people are more knowledgeable about tea, with customers increasingly familiar with different varieties such as oolong and Darjeeling.

___

Follow Candice Choi at www.twitter.com/candicechoi.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Architect Antoine Predock speechless after CMHR opening

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google