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Starbucks Puts a Focus on Tea

By Jan 05, 2009

Starbucks is innovating again, looking to attract more tea drinkers with what it is billing as a 15-minute tea break.

The new program began Jan. 3 and includes the introduction of Full Leaf Tazo Tea Lattes and Tazo Tea Infusions. The teas fall under Starbucks “better-or-you” menu items because most of its tea offerings are less than 200 calories for a 12-ounce beverage.

The Lattes are the company first use of full-leaf tea bags, which let customers brew the desired strength of their own teas.

Three flavors are available: Black Tea Latte, a bold, invigorating combination of black tea and freshly steamed milk; Vanilla Rooibos Latte, a naturally caffeine-free infusion of botanicals that unites South African rooibos, Tahitian vanilla, sweet spices and freshly steamed milk; and London Fog Latte, a blend of black tea, citrusy bergamot, French lavender, vanilla and freshly steamed milk.

“Tea has always been an integral part of Starbucks coffeehouse culture and winter is the perfect time to emphasize tea,” said Michelle Gass, executive vice president, marketing and category for Starbucks, in a release. “In fact, tea is the most consumed beverage around the world and represents one in 10 beverages consumed in our stores. The same way we transformed American coffee culture, we want to deliver an exceptional tea experience for customers with our new Tazo Tea Lattes and Tea Infusions.”