Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) will open its first Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar in New York City on Thursday, adding the sale of beverages to its tea offerings at the 300 Teavana stores the coffee giant acquired a year ago. Starbucks said the tea bars will expand to additional stores next year, but it did not specify a number.
Promising to “elevate the premium tea experience,” the Tea Bar will offer a “carefully curated assortment of handcrafted tea beverages, premium loose leaf teas, tea-inspired food offerings and beautifully made tea merchandise, making the ritual of tea more elevated and accessible for customers.” That may be laying the marketing spiel on a little thick, but Starbucks claims there is a $90 billion global hot and iced tea category just waiting for the company to apply its touch.
Starbucks founder and guiding hand, Howard Schultz, hasn’t made a lot of poor decisions as the head of the company. While it’s tempting for coffee stalwarts to dismiss tea drinkers as a bunch of, well, tea drinkers. But if customers are willing to pay for tea what they pay for a cup of coffee, Schultz is on to another gold mine.
Starbucks’ shares are down about 1.1% today at $80.00 in a 52-week range of $45.00 to $81.08.