Starbucks Expanding into Tearooms?
Actually Bonnie, Starbucks is nowhere near that coverage in Canada, or in parts of the US even. And even, as you say, “BIG CITIES”, don’t always have a tea house. My city is half a million people and no coffee OR tea specialized places.
Starbucks to me is something I really dislike, as a company and as a product. If they do in fact branch into tea houses, I’m hoping that it doesn’t work out for them. There are way too many other great tea companies deserving of the chance. Like Bonnie said, DavidsTea is an excellent example of a company that does tea well, has great customer service, and has maintained intregrity as it has expanded in the market. And they do a great job of making tea accessible so that it doesn’t seem exotic or foreign, just fun and delicious.
First time post, so Hi to everyone. My tea history includes Starbucks. I had been a tea drinker since late 60’s, which in those days meant mostly Twinings if one was after loose leaf tea. In about ‘85 I was living in Seattle and bought Blofeld’s “The Chinese Art of Tea” which mentions Long Jing and Tie Guan Yin as two of the best teas. So I went up to the Starbucks on the Ave and they had imported tins of each. Pretty darn good Long Jing and a Tie Guan Yin that I’ve never been able to duplicate since. A dark rich tea with the most full mouth feel and wonderful aftertaste of any tea I’ve ever had. Naturally when I went back for more, there was none to be found. Instead Starbucks was selling tins under their own label and while it was excellent tea, no LJ or TGY. Then I ended up in Tacoma and after a few years they dropped their own brand and started doing the Tazo thing so I haven’t been back since, except occassionaly for coffee. And one of the main places I shop carries a broad selection of Rishi and the other store I go to carries Tao of Tea so I haven’t missed the Starbucks. Now I’m buying online, still trying to find a TGY as good as the one I once found a Starbucks. So, bottom line, if Starbucks can come up with another line of great teas under their name, I wish them the best of luck and hope they can do for tea what they’ve done for quality coffee.
I personally wouldn’t mind if Starbucks opened their own tea room. Given, Tazo isn’t my favorite brand either, but who’s to say that they won’t start making more high quality or new teas? Also, I live in Vermont, and as other people have said, we literally have two tea houses in the entire state-if Starbucks opened up a tea room and put one here, it would draw in a lot of people who like Starbucks and maybe introduce them to tea. Starbucks brings in a wide variety of customers that regular tea rooms sort of push away by intimidating them with the prospect of super-high quality teas. I know first hand that it can be intimidating, and I think that if Starbucks opened a more all-American and commercial tea house it could kind of ease off that pressure. Also, Starbucks is one of the most environmental coffee and tea companies out there-they promote Fair Trade and ALWAYS practice environmental sustainability, which is part of the reason that I actually don’t have a problem with them. They are a very “safe” company and for that reason, I wouldn’t mind if they expanded their stores to have a tea room in them or started a completely new line of tea rooms separate from regular Starbucks locations.
I don’t think Starbucks will make a big leap into tea. They probably see Teavana as a market niche that they can probably easily tackle without cannibalizing their coffee sales. It makes sense from a business standpoint if Tea really is gaining market ground (and I think it is). It will be interesting, we’ll see.