first blush starbucks
First Blush Tea is a limited edition tea from Teavana.

This past February, Starbucks’ Teavana introduced a limited edition tea called First Blush tea, a hand-rolled Jasmine green tea blended with floral orchid oolong complemented by strawberries, rhubarb and undertones of bubbly rosé. Starbucks in recent years has begun offering a collection of Teavana Brewed Teas, including Jade Citrus Mint and Peach Tranquility.

Starbucks first introduced Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar in New York City’s Upper East Side. The Tea Bar elevates the premium tea experience by delivering a carefully curated assortment of handcrafted tea beverages, premium loose leaf teas, tea-inspired food offerings and beautifully made tea merchandise, making the ritual of tea more elevated and accessible for customers. 

Almost one year after its acquisition of Teavana, at a time when America’s interest in tea has grown by 16 percent over the past five years, Starbucks and Teavana created an immersive experience that guides both tea enthusiasts and casual tea drinkers in a rich journey through tea. Together, Starbucks and Teavana are harnessing the $90 billion global hot and iced tea category by offering a variety of customer touch points with tea – including a new tea bar experience, which will expand to additional stores.

DIY Tea Blends

Retail bakeries and bakery cafes can follow the lead by introducing their own gourmet tea experience.

One of the easiest ways to infuse your green tea with fresh fruit flavor is to put actual fresh fruit into it, according to food writer Sara Ipatenco, who has taught writing, health and nutrition. She recommends squeezing lemons or orange wedges into green tea to create a citrus flavor. Slightly mash strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or raspberries and stir them into pitchers of iced green tea. Watermelon or cantaloupe cubes also lend a fruity flavor to iced green tea, as well as peach or nectarine wedges.

Fruit juice is another way to infuse your green tea with a fruit flavor. Simply add a splash of juice to prepared green tea, Ipatenco suggests. Orange, cranberry or grape juice each jazz up the flavor of the tea. Another way to add fruit juice is to freeze the juice in ice cube trays and pop a few cubes into each glass of iced green tea.

Steep your green tea with fresh fruit as another way to add a fruity flavor to the tea. When you steep green tea bags, add lemon wedges, strawberries, raspberries or peaches to the liquid. As the fruit soaks in the warm water, it will draw some of the flavor into the tea. Experiment with different combinations of fruit to develop new tastes. Pour the steeped liquid over ice cubes for a refreshing drink.

Don't use fruit-flavored juices to flavor your tea. Juices that are flavored with artificial ingredients usually contain large amounts of added sugar. Opt for 100 percent fruit juice instead. Don't add sugar to your green tea along with the fruit either. The fruit is naturally sweet on its own.

Ready to Serve

Another alternative for retailers is carrying a branded line of premium teas. The following are some attractive options:

Thanks to Zest Teas, people who used to drink anywhere from 6 to 8 cups of coffee on a daily basis have now cut down to 3-4 cups of tea instead, which have matched, if not exceeded, the caffeine content in a cup of coffee. Zest Teas come in 4 different varieties: Earl Grey Black, Pomegranate Mojito Green, Apple Cinnamon Black or Blue Lady Black.

For a new Green Tea +C Tea Mix, Sencha Naturals offers a ready-to-mix blend of organic matcha and sencha powder with immune supporting herbs. This is a convenient alternative to tea bags that can be blended hot or cold, and is available in Original, Dragonfruit and Citrus Ginger.

For green tea leaves blended with real fruits (mint, orange, and strawberry), Lahaha Tea Company offers Three in One packs designed just for people who want to try more variety of teas with fewer bags in one box. It is a healthy and gourmet gift for everyone--a surprising gift for normal or special events.

Tiesta Tea provides high-quality and easy to understand loose-leaf tea blends pre-packaged for retail distribution. With five brands of tea and multiple flavors under each, these teas provide an easy entry into the world of loose-leaf tea. Tiesta Tea consists of five loose-leaf categories that feature their own representative color coded tin, including Energizer, Slenderizer, Relaxer, Immunity and Eternity.