Starbucks continues to look past the world of coffee and blended ice concoctions: Along with plans to introduce "handcrafted" sodas this Summer, the coffee giant is also expanding its upscale tea outlet Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar to Chicago. The Chicago Times reports that Chicago's first Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar will open today on Southport Avenue. This is the third such outlet, the first having opened in New York City and Seattle.
Per a Starbucks press release, the Chicago location will feature the Oprah-branded tea and further expansion plans include LA and more NYC locations. Teavana® Oprah Chai Tea will also be available in latte form at Starbucks locations nationwide and as a brewed tea at participating Teavana stores and Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bars. It also comes as a loose leaf tea at both concepts.
Starbucks' latest tea (and soda) activities follows news that the company has basically stopped buying coffee due to soaring Arabica prices. Starbucks head of coffee Craig Russell told the Wall Street Journal that for the past four to five weeks prices have been too high for the company, in part due to a drought in Brazil: "Our strategy is stability. To have stability, you don't chase the market."
Arabica coffee futures have "jumped close to 90% this year ... approaching $2.15 a pound." According to the New York Post, Brazi's harvest "accounts for more than a third of world output" and the bad weather "will leave global production 7.1 million bags below demand." Russell adds that Starbucks has "locked in prices for some of the next fiscal year, so it doesn't need to buy coffee right now" and that they might look towards Colombia if Brazilian Arabica continues to be priced so high.
· Starbucks Rolling Out Upscale Teavana Tea Cafes [Chicago Tribune]
· Starbucks Opens Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar in Chicago [Starbucks]
· Starbucks Buyers Sit on Sidelines As Coffee Prices Soar [WSJ]
· All Teavana Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]