Starbucks Coffee, TEA, and Spices…

Hi, my name is Suzanne and I am the Brand Manager for Tazo Tea here at Starbucks. I’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of Tazo now for about seven great years.

Tazo was started by a guy named Steve who wanted to “pull the doily out from under the tea cup” and introduce a whole new generation of tea drinkers to the captivating world of tea. His goal was to breathe new life into this ancient beverage, which (back in 1994, anyway) he felt held little interest to most Americans.  He believed that if you searched the world for the highest quality teas, herbs and spices, brought them together in intriguing ways people had never tasted before, and had a little fun while doing it, then good things would happen.
Well, good things did. Tazo grew, and prospered, and in 1999 was bought by another company – Starbucks - who cared as much about coffee as Tazo cared about tea. It’s a happy union.

On Jan. 3, more good things are going to happen because we are introducing a veritable plethora of new handcrafted Tazo tea experiences at Starbucks!

• If you’re looking for a breakfast tea of depth and character, enjoy our new Tazo® Black Tea Latte. It’s a blend of black teas from India and Sri Lanka combined with freshly steamed milk and sweetened to perfection.
• Prefer a new twist on a classic tea blend? Lose yourself in the Tazo® London Fog Tea Latte, a blend of Earl Grey (the traditional bergamot-scented black tea) accented with a hint of French lavender, sweetened with vanilla and combined with steamed milk.
• Looking to avoid caffeine? Relax with a cup of Tazo® Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte, a tantalizing elixir of South African rooibos (sometimes called “red tea”), Tahitian vanilla, apple and peach pieces and a mix of naturally sweet herbs and spices. Some say it tastes like warm apple pie and ice cream. (But at just 150 calories and 5 grams of fat for a Tall, it’s a considerably less guilty pleasure.)

All of these new Tea Lattes are made with the finest full leaf teas and herbs to be found on this planet and each can be steeped and sweetened to taste.

• If you’re a Chai fan or if you just tend to like exotic, sweet spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cloves, then try our new  Tazo® Tea Infusions. Infusions are a combination of our chai tea base and either apple juice or sweet and luscious aronia berry (which tastes like cranberry) and black current juice blend. (If you like apple cider or mulled wine, you are going to love these.)

If you’re trying to reel in your caloric intake and your budget after the holidays, you’ll be happy to know that, with the exception of Apple Chai Infusion (at 240 calories), all of the teas above are under 200 calories for a Tall. And all are below three bucks in most parts of the country.

But wait, there’s more! Most these beverages are loaded with more antioxidants than an 8-ounce glass of orange juice, which are essential to protecting the body’s immune system.
So not only do these beverages taste great, but they also do good things for you.

Starting this January, we’re putting the Tea (and Spices!) back into Starbucks Coffee Tea and Spices*. We hope you’ll join us for a cup.

Be Well,


*Starbucks Coffee’s original name.

Red Tea Drinks
posted by SparkyD

More Tea Lattes
posted by RIZA

posted by harryk

12/31/2008 1:56 PM

Great new direction! Can you get the tea latte without the sweetener though? I rarely order sweet drinks, but would be interested in a tea latte that wasn't sweet.

12/31/2008 3:10 PM

Yes, the tea lattes can be made unsweetened.  

12/31/2008 8:03 PM

Please do not take away the melon syrup though :(  I had to have my green tea latte tonight with vanilla syrup and it was just not the same.  

12/31/2008 8:05 PM

I'm very excited to hear about these new offerings and can't wait to try some of these tea drinks on the 3rd!

12/31/2008 9:16 PM

I'm so pleased about this! My favorite partner at my former favorite store (alas, I left it behind when I changed jobs) has been serving London Fogs for many months. I got completely hooked on them, but had difficulty ordering them elsewhere because there was no consistent way of calling it or punching it into the register. It will be handy to be able to sate my addiction without having to explain how to make the beverage!

Does the standard Rooibos version include vanilla syrup, or is it sweet enough just from the fruit-enhanced tea?

Thank you, Starbucks, for adding the tea lattes!

1/1/2009 6:05 AM

Still wish there was a good ol'e English Breakfast tea, Or Scottish, or Irish. Some of us still drink sweet stuff at Baskin and Robbins and want our tea (or wine, beer and scotch) neat.

1/1/2009 2:47 PM

Are any of these caffeine-free? They all sound delicious!

1/2/2009 12:38 PM

@perrik - The vanilla in Vanilla Rooibos comes from the Tahitian vanilla that’s part of the tea blend itself. It’s not from a syrup. This beverage can be sweetened to your exact taste requirements with our classic syrup.

@TLeeC - Have you tried the Tazo Awake Tea?  It's Tazo's version of an English Breakfast blending black teas from India and Sri Lanka.  It is thick and dark in the cup, with a clean, brisk finish - thick enough to handle milk, but complex enough to drink plain.  

@eenie - The Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte is caffeine-free.  Rooibos is a tea-like plant from South Africa that is naturally caffeine free.

1/2/2009 12:40 PM

I've now had both the Black Tea Latte and the London Fog Tea Latte, and while I'm excited to see the new offerings, I'm not sold on the execution yet.  The Black Tea Latte I tried yesterday needed to be steeped longer (the barista recommended 2-3 minutes), and today's London Fog Latte (I love the name!) needed a bit more vanilla.  Both lattes have also been a bit "messy"; yesterday's tea bag was covered in foam when I took it out, and with today's I had to pull the bag out of the drink with my fingers because the string on the tea bag was placed in between 2 cups which wouldn't come apart.

One suggestion I have (which was likely already tried and dismissed during the experimentation phase of beverage development) is to pre-brew the tea in a concentrated fashion, such that the customer doesn't have to mess with individual tea bags, steeping time, etc.  The barista can then just use the pre-brewed tea, add milk and flavor and deliver it to the customer just like every other beverage on the menu.

Again, the direction is great, but I'm not sure the execution of these beverages supports the price just yet.

1/3/2009 9:12 AM

I've tried an iced apple chai infusion drink and a Vanilla Rooibos so far, and much to my surprise, I liked them both a lot. Thanks for the new offerings! :-)

1/3/2009 2:31 PM

how are you communicating the change of the grtl .  to the customer .... do i order one and you tell me it is now diff. or do you just assume i wont know the diff.  and move me on my way ...

is there plenty of signs ....

will the cashier tell me ...??/

or do i complain the you tell me ....?? just wondering ...

1/3/2009 2:42 PM

I just finished my first London Fog Latte. It was delicious but I felt it was a bit pricey for what it is. I'm not one to complain about the prices at Starbucks - I know there's a lot of margin in those drinks and I don't mind Starbucks making money - but there's some real skill involved in pulling a nice espresso shot, and to charge similarly for plopping a tea bag in steamed milk doesn't seem quite right.

1/4/2009 1:45 PM

Maybe being on the Canadian side of the US/CANADA border most of the time has changed my perspective a bit.

Is it not a fact that AMERICA was founded on COFFEE? (as far back as 1668)

And, if anything is to be leaned from that same history- TEA belongs in BOSTON HARBOR! (December 16th, 1773)

At least STARBUCKS had the common sense to wait a few weeks, and not to release their newest TEA incarnations on the 235th anniversary of this  historic event.

As SANTAYANA said so well: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

1/4/2009 7:42 PM

Why doesn't Starbux carry Darjeeling in store? Also, why have I never seen Darjeeling on shelves in grocery stores?

Iron chef
1/4/2009 10:54 PM

@ Trishajoy - About a month ago, when we were notified at the store level about the new drinks and changes in recipes, I immediately began informing anyone who  ordered a green tea latte about the upcoming changes. Now with the change in effect, I let every customer know about it, and give them the option to have it sweetened with melon since my manager ordered extra melon syrup. We have a lot of customers who like sweetening their iced green teas with it! Hopefully partners around the country are communicating the change to customers in a similar manner.

* side note to MSI - It would be great though if the stores could be sent a sticker that said "New Recipe!" or "Now sweetened with classic" that we could affix to the menu board

@ Danatello - I know Tazo makes Darjeeling tea. I remember seeing it in the stores in Christmas of 2007 as part of the tea gift packs.

1/6/2009 10:58 AM

Regarding the London fog tea latte, I have to question the name.  I live in Victoria, BC - Generally considered to be the birthplace of the london fog.  every coffee shop in town serves them, and the Starbucks equivalent was the vanilla earl grey tea misto.  

Now there's a second drink on the menu with the london fog name attached. Chaos ensues.  The number of people that walk into starbucks and order "a london fog" meaning "a vanilla earl grey tea misto" was already sky high - now if someone orders a london fog what do they mean?  

I appreciate the attempt at incorporating the london fog name into the brand and all, but life would have been a lot easier in my opinion if it had simply been done as a conversion of the previous drink - a london fog tea misto perhaps?

What really boggles my mind though is that I can't get a straight answer out of the baristas in this town as to how the two are different (or the same) I understand it's a full leaf tea in the tea latte, but is it still made with water and steamed milk?  or is it just milk?  The answer changes from location to location.  And if it is just straight steamed milk, then it's not actually a london fog.  It's just a tea latte.  For $1.35 more.

I like the concept - (and I love london fogs) - I'm just not so hot on the execution.

1/6/2009 2:38 PM

Someday, will the Chai mix be made with Splenda, so that it is really low in calories?  I am excited about the new drinks; as I am not a huge coffee fan!

1/7/2009 1:04 PM

I LOVE the new tea additions...but is there any way registered card members can get similar benefits (e.g. free refills) for Tazo-based teas Please??

I love tazo tea and I've bought my chai tea latte almost every day since I started college 2 years ago, but I got to admit I'm really annoyed my coffee-lover friends get free refills with their registered cards while I don't...simply because I like tazo tea & spices better than coffee

Perhaps this could be a simple, comprehensive way to launch the new tazo specialty drinks?? <3

1/9/2009 10:00 PM

i would love to see a tea with mint.

i know there a coffees with mint.

but tea?

i make it at my house and the light taste of mint in the tea is great!

i also think it would be great if we had more tea frapp.

but great going starbucks so far :)

your greatly favored by many!

1/30/2009 1:58 PM

Suzanne, is it true that one cannot get a free Iced Apple Chai Infusion with a pound of beans purchase, paying with a registered card?? I have had several problems with this lately, and recently had a barista just ring me in for a tall latte, and then calling it as my infusion. The registers will NOT give you a complimentary tall Chai Infusion drink when you are buying a pound of beans with your registered card.

4/19/2009 3:42 AM

I'm a huge drinker and can't stand TAZO tea. Now that you guys have officially got rid of the Maple Oat Nut Scone-it's Coffee Bean and tea leaf for me. Stick with what works-the old classic items and coffee.

6/18/2009 2:12 PM

Making Tea is an art. Often customers are unaware of the delicate timing that goes in to the perfect cup. If you leave it in too long it tastes bitter and too short just like flavored hot water. This really turns a lot of people off to tea. I know the baristas are busy behind the counter but perhaps they could prepare the tea by timing it, it only takes 2-5 minutes of sitting depending on the type. At least for tea newbies. That way the customers would enjoy their cup more and are more likely to purchase it again.

1/4/2010 8:55 PM

I would like the option of decaf iced Chai. I am absoutely hooked on regualr iced Chai, but would like a decaf version to be available for me to order at night. Thanks

9/13/2010 8:13 PM

I love Thai Iced Tea, I know that many other people and customers would LOVE this beverage. I've worked for Starbucks for 4 years, and I have heard too many people to count who would love this wonderful sweet tea to be a part of our menu. Chai is a best seller, and Thai Iced Tea would be right there with it; there is no doubt in my mind about this.

1/3/2012 5:16 PM

I hate to tell you, but rooibus tea is just nasty.  Using it as your "decaf" option is completely unacceptable.  My husband brought some of that stuff home and it stank so bad I had to ban the stuff from our home.  It literally makes me gag and retch.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use instead, a good quality BLACK decaf tea.  Tetly British Blend is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with a black tea.  It's delicious, and doesn't keep me awake all night.

5/8/2012 4:36 PM

I was a huge fan of the Tazo black iced tea. Now I think it is bland and boring. I used to order several vente a day. I also used to purchase the small boxes of iced bags and when those were stopped I would get the large box of iced tea bags for at home. I never buy the any of those products now since the change in taste. I would love to have a choice between the new and the old. The old has such a great flavor. I miss it.

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