This blog entry is a guest post written by twitterer @Amazonv (Nicole).  She produces her own blog, just for tea drinkers, and writes reviews of tea and tea experiences.  You can still find Joy tea in Starbucks, although it is probably quickly moving out the door right now.  I wanted to share Nicole’s thoughts on Joy tea this year, since it is a slightly different tea than last year, and she is far more qualified to write about tea than I!

(She started writing this in December, and I meant to post this weeks ago, but time came and went quickly, and I realized that if I didn’t post it soon, all the Joy would be gone!  My apologies to Nicole that I didn’t post this sooner.)


Now that the holiday season is upon us, it is time for JOY full leaf black, green and oolong blended tea at your local Starbucks.  I was excited to be able to purchase a tin of these tea sachets and I have been enjoying them at work.  I have been using a two minute steep time in boiling water.  From that preparation I taste the black tea most strongly and the oolong and green come through as it cools towards the end of each sip.  I have found only some Starbucks offer it prepared in the store, while others sell only the tin. describes Joy™ as follows:

“Tazo® Joy™ is a delicate yet full cup, created with some of the finest varietal teas available.  Rare Darjeelings and Formosa Oolongs are paired with light-bodied, fragrant Nuwara Eliya teas from Ceylon.  Yunnan teas from the high plateaus of Southern China and Southern India Nilgiris add texture and complexity.  It’s a very special tea to share freely with friends or selfishly hoard by yourself as an exceptional holiday treat.”

The paperfilter Tazo teas can easily be found in grocery stores, with a larger variety of flavors than seen in Starbucks.  Starbucks stores used to carry a small assortment of Tazo filterbags to serve in store, but I rarely saw the boxes sold.  It was earlier this year (2010) , around February, that the stores switched over from carrying filterbags to full-leaf sachets, both serving them and selling them.

Here is the lineup of teas available in store:

  • Awake (Black Tea)
  • Chai (Black Tea)
  • Early Grey (Black Tea)
  • China Green (Green Tea)
  • Zen (Green Tea)
  • Orange Blossom (Green Tea)
  • Calm (Herbal Tisane)
  • Passion (Herbal Tisane)
  • Refresh (Herbal Tisane)
  • Vanilla Rooibos (Herbal Tisane)

*Herbal tea is not really a tea, rather it is a tisane.

I was excited about the switch to full-leaf sachets as they contain full leaves, which tend to be of a higher quality, and provide room for the leaves to expand.  This year’s Joy was significantly better than last year’s paper filterbag version, in my opinion.

My current pet peeve is that all teas are made without care in Starbucks.  They all get the same temperature water, and the amount of time the bag sits in water (steeps) is not controlled.  Tea water temperature and steep time should vary by the type of tea (black, green, oolong, herbal).  I tend to ask for the water and the bag separate from each other so that I have better control over the temperature and time of steep, which leads to less of a chance of bitter cups of tea.

~ Blog post by Nicole.


If you are reading this and want to visit Nicole’s tea review blog, here is the link:

Amazonv Tea Taste Tracking

About one year ago, I wrote a blog post about the Tazo headquarters in Portland.  It’s still a fun quick look at the place where great tea is blended.  The link is here:

Tazo Tea in Portland – a mini tour

Let me know if you can still find Joy in your area.  I have definitely seen a few tins on the shelves still here in Seattle.  Talk about tea.  Anything tea-related is fair game in the comments.  What is your favorite tea at Starbucks?