Relax yourself: tea time at Starbucks

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, March 22, 2010
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It's big news as far as some people are concerned: Starbucks, the Seattle-based coffee chain famous for their expertise in Colombia's second-biggest export, is now selling tea. Yes, you heard that right: a coffee shop is selling tea.

Three types of Chinese brew are available: white peony (a mellow, golden brew famed for its medicinal properties), Bi Luo Chun (a floral, fruity green tea) and oolong (a slightly bitter green-black tea). Those seeking more of a tiffin-in-the-noonday-sun Raj-like experience can sample such delights as chamomile, Indian black or Earl Grey. Feeling in just such a mood, this Lifestyle reporter ordered her first-ever cup of Earl Grey tea at the Dawanglu branch and is still regretting it to this day: it had the taste and smell of a traditional Chinese medicine brew, only worse, though my impression may be due to my lack of familiarity with this English breakfast favorite.

From Taiwan, with tea

"All the tea we use is purchased from Taiwan," says Starbucks marketing VP Huang Limin, discussing this fresh step in their game plan. "Though once the demand increases, we'll find more purchasing channels."

Some customers think the new direction is simply a ruse to raise prices. "There were two types of black tea you could get before," says Xiao Jing, an eagle-eyed 24-year-old customer, "priced at 12, 15 and 18 yuan depending on size." Starbuck's are now charging 20 – and they've already lost a customer. "If I want to drink tea, I'll go to an old brand teahouse rather than drinking brown water with a bag in it," Xiao declared. "The flavor dissipates after the fourth time it's used." Ouch!

Lifestyle will certainly inform readers should any further anomalous shockwaves, such as McDonald's selling sausage rolls, electrify the expat community.

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