Coming from a city where there are more Tim Hortons per capita than anywhere else in Canada, I can appreciate how coffee, or for that matter tea, shops are popping up on every corner. When I heard that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was going in for the big steep, that is, opening a tea bar, it only seemed natural to cover such an event and alert tea drinkers near and far.
Most professional voice users are into tea. Some like it hot, some like it cold. Although a strong contingent do prefer coffee, we’ve found that it’s a draw so to speak with just as many voicers putting the kettle on as the Keurig.
Tea has many healthy properties, and depending on which ones you drink, you’ll get different experiences and different results. My go-to is typically a black tea, more often than not Orange Pekoe or a blend of the finest black teas I can find at the little British store I love to frequent. The tea served up though at Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar may not cater to that taste, perhaps it will. Regardless, having another place to get a good brew, mind you a pricy one, isn’t altogether a bad thing.
There is something to be said for tea and its usefulness as well as its almost universal appeal. Many coffee drinkers I’ve spoken to will opt for a cup of tea later in the day to help cut back on caffeine. Starbucks’ CEO won’t drink coffee after 5pm, preferring the Maharaja Chai Oolong blend sold at Teavana, the mainly mall-based tea retailer Starbucks bought for $620 million last November…hence, Starbucks’ foray into the world of catering to a new breed of tea drinker.
The first-ever Teavana tea bar will open on Thursday October 24th in NYC, situated near a Lululemon store at 85th St and Madison Avenue, just blocks from Manhattan’s Central Park. A Seattle outpost is set to open just before Thanksgiving. Schultz anticipates opening 1000 such tea bars over the next five years, serving tea similar to the Teavana Kamiya Papaya Oolong pictured above.
Since tea is the second-most consumed beverage in the world just behind water, Schultz sees this $90 billion opportunity, that is the hot tea and cold tea market, as too good to pass up. But you might be thinking, “What about a good cup of Joe?” Aren’t Americans more of a coffee drinking lot? While most people in the US tend to favour coffee, data from the Tea Association USA says America’s interest in tea has grown by 16% over the past five years.
Only time will tell how Schultz’s vision to capture the American tea drinker will go. Question is, will you pay for a $4.95 cup of tea?