Tazo Tea

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IMAG6262 Tazo Tea store exterior 20 July 2013The Tazo Tea store (operated by Starbucks) will be closing this fall.  If you have not had a chance to visit it, you should go soon – within the next month or so.  It’s clear from Howard Schultz’s comments at the July 25, 2013, investor quarterly conference call, the Tazo Tea store will close.  (You can stream these investor events on the investor relations page on Starbucks.com).  I thought this entire segment discussing both La Boulange and Tazo was interesting – here is exactly what Howard said, verbatim:

In Q3, we significantly expanded our La Boulange baked-goods platform.  Truly delicious and differentiated La Boulange-branded  products  are now available in over 1,000 Starbucks stores across Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.  When you try La Boulange, you’ll understand why we’re seeing both an enthusiastic customer response and substantial lift in incrementality compared to the baked goods that La Boulange is replacing.  And we are now on track to bring La Boulange food to more than 2,500 of our stores by the end of September, including stores in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles.

We are also deep into the strategic development and integration of Teavana.  Tea, as we have shared with you before,  is a 40-billion dollar global category.  And we are leveraging all of our unique internal assets -  including our knowledge in creating best-in-class retail experiences and handcrafted  beverages -  to create a premium tea experience for our customers, just as we have done for coffee.

You will see all of these strengths come together this fall, as we open our first re-imagined Teavana street-front store on New York City’s Upper East Side, and evolve the Tazo Tea concept store in Seattle under the Teavana brand. Over time, many unique hand-crafted Teavana tea beverages will also find their way in Starbucks stores.

While it doesn’t blare at you in that Howard Schultz quote above, it’s clear  that the Tazo Tea concept store will close.  He suggests that these changes -transforming the Tazo store to a Teavana store – will happen this fall – that’s right around the corner.

Goodbye Tazo Tea store.  I will miss you!  I loved the Tazo Tea store.  The partners there were all fantastic.  And I loved being able to buy so many rare Tazo teas available only at that store.  I fell in love with Berry Blossom White as an iced tea.  I adored being able to buy a sparkling Bramblewine Tazo Tea beverage.  I expect by sometime in September the Tazo Tea store will close, and there will be construction and remodeling to turn it into a Teavana.

For those that don’t recall, the Tazo Tea store opened new November 16, 2012.

I dropped by the Tazo Tea store on Saturday, July 20, 2013, and took all the photos in this article.  I hope you enjoy this trip to the Tazo store – please go visit soon if you can!

(I can imagine that the Tazo card will become much more collectible once the Tazo store closes.  Check out this article for photos of the collectible subsidiary branded cards – Teavana, Tazo, and Evolution Fresh.)

Edit on July 27, 2013:

I dropped by the Tazo tea store this morning, shortly after it opened.  I chatted with a partner about the changes, and ‘off the record’ he indicated that every Starbucks partner in the Tazo Tea concept store has been ‘invited to come work at the new Teavana store.’  For me, that is great news – the Tazo team is super friendly.  I hope that the new Teavana store will carry forward the wonderful momentum started by the Tazo store’s current partners.  I don’t know how much residual effect the Tazo store will have on the new Teavana store, but I am hopeful that the new Teavana store will set a high benchmark as a tea concept store.  I’m going to start dreaming of sparkling Pineapple Kona Pop iced tea – a Teavana tea that I already know that I like.

IMAG6243 Tins of Tazo Tea - 20 July 2013IMAG6242 Summer seasonal Tazo tea - 20 July 2013 - Sangria teaIMAG6241 Summer Sangria Tazo tea - Seasonal summer tea - 20Jul2013IMAG6252 Meggan - Store manager - Tazo Tea store - 20 July 2013IMAG6275 Tazo Tea store - Seattle- 20 July 2013IMAG6258 Tazo Tea concept store - 20July2013IMAG6240 Interior Tazo Tea concept store - 20 July 2013IMAG6251 Interior Tazo tea store - 20 july 2013IMAG6270 Tazo - tea store - 20 July 2013

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photo-6 - Peach Green Tea Lemonade at StarbucksComing soon: Starbucks Shaken Peach Green Tea Lemonade.  The official launch day is June 25, 2013.  I am pretty excited by it.  It’s a flavor that Starbucks tested a number of times before finally introducing it nationally.

In March of 2012, the Starbucks Peach Tea was tested in Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, California; as well as a few other locations.  I tried the 2012 “test” version of the Peach Green Tea Lemonade at the annual meeting of shareholders.  Note that the 2012 version of Peach Green Tea Lemonade had freeze-dried peach bits which were constituted when shaken vigorously.  As an aside, it seems that Starbucks has mastered the art of freeze-dried space food and toppings.  They rarely produce anything short of a fantastic beverage topping or inclusion.  From creme brulee caramelized pieces, to chocolate curls, to lime wedges, Starbucks knows how to do toppings and inclusions.  The 2013 test version of the Peach Green Tea Lemonade does not include an inclusion.  It’s still delicious!  I tried it just recently at a downtown Seattle Starbucks, and I liked it.  The partners and I joked that it tastes a bit like the flavor of Trolli Peachie-Os.  Of course, it uses the Tazo Green Tea beverage and adds peach syrup.

In March of this year, Starbucks re-introduced Peach again, this time launching it in a large number of U.S. cities, including  Baltimore, Austin, San Diego, Denver, Sacramento, and more.

It’s official.  Beginning June 25, 2013, Peach will be available as a syrup option everywhere in the United States.  I’m looking forward to trying it in a Frappuccino!  I still haven’t done that.

The official Starbucks blog article on the summer 2013 launch of Peach Green Tea Lemonade is here:

So what do you think?  Sounds like a refreshing summer drink to me!

(PS: I wrote about Starbucks Root Beer not too long ago, and as I understand it, Atlanta and Austin will be testing Root Beer again this summer.  I would love to hear more from readers about that.  Information on how to email me is in the right column of this blog.  Thank you.)

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IMAG4974 Vanilla Apricot Creme tea leaves Tazo Tea store 4 May 2013Recently,  I went to a tea tasting at the Tazo Tea store.

Last Saturday (May 4, 2013), I walked into the Tazo Tea store right as Megan (the store manager)  and Aaron (a Tazo tea partner at the store) were just getting started on a tasting of three white teas:

This was a lot of fun.  While I have been to many coffee seminars, I have been to far fewer tea tasting events.  All three teas were white teas, as I have already mentioned.  The Silver Needle was the lightest in flavor profile, though interestingly had almost a buttery aroma!  Berryblossom White was a fantastic tea.  I bought a tin of the loose leaf Berryblossom White to take home with me.  I love the cranberry aroma from the tin, and I like its light berry and floral, refreshing flavor.  It had a very clean finish as a hot tea.  The friend I was with (Kristen) far preferred the Organic Vanilla Apricot tea, though I thought it had an odd lingering flavor as a hot tea.

While I was there, I tried the Berryblossom White Tazo tea as a sparkling iced tea!  I have said this many times, but I really do hope that some day Starbucks launches sparkling teas in all of their stores:

IMAG4983 BerryBlossom White Sparkling Iced Tea at the Tazo store 2

I bought some tea while at the Tazo store, and I have been making the Berryblossom White tea as an iced tea at home since then.  I do add a little sugar.  This tea is one of the best iced teas in the Tazo lineup.  However, I have discovered through some trial and error that it is super important not to over-steep a tea!  I think I’ve got it down.  It really takes no more than 3 minutes to steep this tea as an iced tea.  I’m sure the tea experts reading this already know how important it is not to over-steep a tea.

Take a look at the rest of the photos from tea tasting!  Both Kristen and I enjoyed our trip to the Tazo Tea store!

You can follow Tazo tea on Twitter too.  There is also a Tazo tea Facebook page and you can order Tazo tea from their website.

IMAG4978 Tea tasting Tazo store 4 May 2013IMAG4977 Berry Blossom White Tazo whole leaf tea - Tazo tea store 4 may 2013IMAG4973 Tea tasting Tazo store 4 May 2013IMAG4970 Megan and Aaron just before a tea tasting at the Tazo tea store 4 May 2013IMAG4969 Tazo tea tasting in progress 04 May 2013

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image_1363063929920443 Peach syrup at Starbucks March 2013Starting March 5th, Starbucks entered  its second round of testing of the “Iced Peach Green Tea Lemonade.” (Obviously, it can be ordered as either a Peach Green Tea or a Peach Green Tea Lemonade.)  It’s definitely on the menu right now  at selected stores in the United States.  This year’s peach tea is the Tazo Green Tea with peach syrup.  This is almost identical to last year’s big peach test, except that last year, the Iced Tazo Peach Green Tea came with freeze dried peach bits in it.  Those freeze-dried peach pieces reconstituted when shaken with water.  No peach pieces for the 2013 test.

The bottom line is that peach is here.  I tried the peach tea last year, and totally loved it.  It’s delicious.  Last year’s Iced Peach Green Tea test was primarily in areas of Texas, as well as a few other cities too.

This year’s test (as far as I can tell), appears to be in the greater Denver area, as well as Baltimore.  I have heard a rumor that the Sacramento area has the peach tea, and a few other cities.   (I’ve heard Minneapolis, Austin, and San Diego are included in this round of testing – I hope you’ll let me know in the comments if I have got this right.)  Please let me know if you’ve tried it!  If you missed last year’s article on the Starbucks Peach Green Tea, here it is.

If I haven’t been clear, I am totally ready for Starbucks to launch this nationally.  Delish.

How about you?

image_1363063790209652 Lobby peach tea sign March 2013 Starbucksimage_1363063818792264 - Tazo display peach tea test March 2013 Starbucksimage_1363063876547899 Peach green tea on the menu board Starbucks march 2013

 

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Tazo Tea Store Revisited. (Scroll down for the giveaway)

December 30, 2012
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Last month, the first Tazo Tea store (operated by Starbucks) opened.  It’s been almost two months since I’ve been back to the Tazo store, so I decided I was overdue to check out what’s new.  On top of that, when I did the Tazo Tea Card (which of course can be used at any Starbucks […]

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Tazo Tea Card (giveaway)

November 24, 2012

I’m getting a kick out of my new found fun with tea.  It’s loose leaf Chai tea that’s been tickling me pink.  That, and my new Tazo Tea card: The new Tazo Tea card comes in 3 colors, and purple is the one that has my name all over it.  It’s definitely the prettiest of […]

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The Tazo Tea Store (operated by Starbucks) opens! A sneak peek inside!

November 16, 2012
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The grand opening of the new Tazo tea store (operated by Starbucks) is tomorrow, the 16th of November!  I dropped by this evening for a special media preview event, and got a sneak peek inside.  It was sensory overload.  I can’t begin to describe everything, but it was so much fun being there.  It’s one […]

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The Tazo Tea Store by Starbucks – An early glimpse

October 13, 2012
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The first Tazo Tea store (operated by Starbucks) has its signage up!  The store is located in Seattle’s University Village shopping area, and is in a location that used to be a Lululemon store.  I dropped by early this morning because I had heard (via a nice anonymous email using the contact me form on […]

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Meet Tazo Citrus: Launched, April 24, 2002 – A delicious piece of Starbucks history.

July 17, 2012
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For those who recall the Tazoberry line of drinks, Starbucks introduced the “Tazo Citrus” new on April 24, 2002, shortly after the success of their first drink, Tazoberry. Tazo Citrus was a blended green tea with tangerine and orange juices, and a hint of lime.  I found an interesting review of the Starbucks Tazo Citrus […]

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1999 Tazo tea in-store Starbucks signage/marketing: The reincarnation of tea

July 1, 2012
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Starbucks recently announced that they would be opening a Tazo tea store.  An entire store dedicated to tea!  I have heard in the news that this store will be located in University Village.  From the official Starbucks blogs, they describe that their early stores had lots of tea options: “Tea has been a part of […]

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