Starbucks bets big on tea in Asia

Starbucks, the global coffee shop chain, has launched its new tea brand Teavana in APAC region following the products’ entry in China last week.

A new brand for Starbucks in Asia, its Teavana handcrafted beverages and full leaf tea sachets are now available in more than 6,200 stores across its 16 markets in the China and Asia Pacific region.

The new tea-infused beverages include matcha and espresso fusion, black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey, iced shaken green tea with aloe and prickly pear and iced shaken hibiscus tea with pomegranate pearls, which may vary by market.

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Understanding the region, especially China, has a deep appreciation of tea and strong tea-drinking culture. Vera Wang, director for product line innovation of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific said the new tea line aims to bring a modern tea experience that attracts more younger customers.

She described the new beverages are more like the "mixology", which is the east meets west drink.

Tea is a US$125 billion global category and is the second most consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. The company sees the tea category as a huge potential and aims to increase its global tea business to US$3 billion over the next five years.

[caption id="attachment_149328" align="alignnone" width="700"] Starbucks Coffee Korea staff promoting the tea offering at the Starfield Hanam GL store on 1 September 2016.[/caption]

"This is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the company’s expertise in creating best-in-class retail experiences, handcrafting customised beverages, and sourcing the finest ingredients, to become a leader in a new category for us. Just as we’ve done for coffee, this is tea reimagined at Starbucks," said John Culver, group president of Starbucks global retail.

A major launch campaign will be rolled out this month to promote the Teavana tea brand in Hong Kong.

Teavana will be available in Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Founded in Atlanta in 1997, Teavana was acquired by Starbucks in 2012. The company now operates 300 Teavana brand stores in North America.