Features, People & Parties

Introducing Starbucks and Oprah Winfrey’s New Chai

By: Sarah Horsfall At last week’s Starbuck’s annual meeting, CEO Howard Schultz announced a new partnership with media mogul Oprah Winfrey. The partnership will produce a new tea product called Teavana Oprah Chai Tea. Originally developed by Winfrey and Teavana’s teaologist Naoko Tsunoda, the tea will possess the flavours of “cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves”. Winfrey commented that the new tea will compliment her own taste. Winfrey expressed her love for tea. She was quoted, “ My daily ritual, it is a vital part of my morning. Savory and spicy chai, with its deep flavour, has long been a favourite of mine.” The new tea will be launched on April 29th in loose-leaf format and as prepared tea lattes. Proceeds of the sales will be allotted to philanthropic ventures, including Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls, a South African girl’s boarding school. Tea has long been part of Starbucks' heritage (1971). According to the Tea Association of USA, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world second to water. In terms of retail sales though, Euromonitor International determined that global coffee retail sales exceed tea by a margin of $35 billion (2012). Therefore tea presents a great market opportunity and Schultz has already begun to cease it. The Starbuck’s CEO stated that the company plans to “elevate the tea experience in the same way we did for coffee”. Their first step was acquiring Teavana in 2012. Now the company plans to provide customers a variety of Teavana products throughout the Starbucks’ chain. Starbucks also recently launched Teavana Fine Tea and Tea Bars in Seattle and New York. The concept of the new store is to provide “an assortment of handcrafted beverages, premium loose-leaf teas, tea inspired food offerings, and beautifully crafted tea merchandise”. The idea is to elevate the experience and ritual of tea. They plan to expand to Chicago, Los Angeles, and additional stores in New York.

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