22nd Jun 2012 12:44pm | By Rebecca Kent
US coffee giant Starbucks is intending to cash in on a very British pastime – drinking tea.
The mega chain has announced it will open its first outlet dedicated to tea by the autumn.
Starbucks will test the water with the new concept store, called Tazo, in Seattle later this year.
It’s part of a wider push by the global giant to push into new markets. Earlier this year, Starbucks opened its first juice bar, Evolution Fresh in its sacred home of Seattle. And, the company’s even going into bread, recently announcing its purchase of Bay Bread Group, which owns La Boulange, for $100m.
Starbucks, which has 17,000 outlets across the world, bought Tazo for US$8.1m in 1999. It already sells the tea through third-party retailers.
The Tazo store will serve more than 80 varieties of loose leaf tea, hot and cold drinks, brewing equipment, pastries, packaged chocolates, infused sugars and honey. There’ll also be related drinkware, such as teapots.
It will also have a ‘blending station’ where customers can create their personalised tea.
"It's very much about personalisation and interaction and immersing yourself in all-things tea," a spokesman for Starbucks said. "It's not going to be the typical grab-and-go experience."
Sales of ready to drink tea beverages were worth $56.2bn last year up from $32bn six years ago