Compared to coffee, we tend to be less informed about tea: its quality, provenance, and even the various ways to enjoy it. Arnold Palmers (lemonade + iced tea) seem to be as creative as it gets, which isn’t really saying much. This may soon change according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as Starbucks is looking to takeover the Atlanta-based tea chain, Teavana, for roughly $620 dollars.
The 300-store company was founded 15 years ago by Andrew and Nancy Mack, a couple who wanted to shift people’s perceptions of tea. Like Starbucks with coffee, Teavana has set out to sell tea as a lifestyle, not just a beverage. A key part of their strategy has been to open shops in malls, which benefit from a constant flow of foot traffic.
Around the world, tea is the second most popular beverage after water, and in many countries its incorporated in the active part of daily lives rather than just being something you sip when you’re sick. If Starbucks is successful in acquiring Teavana, tea could finally get its moment in the sun in America. What version of tea-drinking it seeks to push will be a different story, though. If they think we’d ever be able to order a “venti English breakfast tea” with a straight face, they’ve got another thing coming.