Coffee-Less Starbucks Expands On Tea Selection

Coffee-Less Starbucks Expands On Tea Selection

Carbonated tea and nearly infinite order combinations are a couple things to expect.

Sara Boboltz
  • 24 october 2013

The Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar on New York City’s Upper East Side exists as a graceful mashup between a Starbucks and a Teavana. The atmosphere is muted and calm, brewing instruments are set up for sale, and there’s a neatly printed menu above the front counter — it’s just that nothing in the store revolves around coffee.

But if you know where to look, you’ll see touches of the ubiquitous brand everywhere. Teavana’s paper cups are plain white with a centered logo. Its iced cups are clear plastic with a solid-colored straw that’s simply copper instead of green. A long countertop is interrupted by brewing machines, where baristas (if we can still call them baristas) go to work. Even the process of ordering — endless combinations of teas to make blends that can be served hot, cold, sweetened, or even carbonated with different bubble intensity — feels like it wouldn’t be so out-of-place to hear ‘double tall iced vanilla latte.’


For those who haven’t yet encountered one, Teavana is a purveyor looseleaf teas and tea-making accessories in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Starbucks acquired the brand in early 2013 as a way to expand beyond the bean, but the Upper East Side cafe is the first retail partnership between the two companies. In addition to serving prepared Teavana tea, the store also features a looseleaf bar where customers may purchase different blends to take home.

Starbucks’ Chief Creative Officer Arthur Rubinfeld explained that the store was envisioned as an all-day neighborhood meeting place. Small tables in the back and a long one against the front window encourage visitors to stay — although Rubinfeld noted that his team will surely learn from observing the ways in which customers choose to use the space.

The store does make certain requests of its visitors. Breaking from regular Starbucks layout, Teavana’s cafe asks customers to order their drink first and food second by placing the tea counter in front, with food choices displayed in the far back, to cut down on waiting time as drinks steep. By comparison, Starbucks presents a case of pastries and sandwiches before the registers. But waiting is, after all, an important consideration where tea is concerned. Depending on the leaves, a good cup must steep for two to five minutes — five being much too long for a busy cafe. Teavana’s designers found a solution in special vacuum brewing machines that expedite the process.

The whole shop revolves around its given theme of discovery. Details in the design from textured wallpaper to wooden countertops that wrap over edges to ceiling tiles made of cracked wood posts were crafted to direct attention to the small things — like a nice cup of tea with a friend. Whether the concept will truly catch on remains to be seen, but Starbucks already has a second tea bar slated to open in Seattle.



How Indiegogo Is Becoming An Adult Product Destination

Home september 23, 2016

Watch This Fire Pit Dance Along To Your Favorite Song

Music City Fire is a system that is designed to flicker in time to ambient music

Automotive september 23, 2016

Slick GPS Navigator Gives Directions To Moped Riders

This small, round device attaches to a sideview mirror to display maps for safer traveling


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Work

See All
Home september 23, 2016

A Clock That Beautifully Manages Your Information Overload

The wall-mounted timekeeper is made to help people maintain focus and stay up to date with their appointments

Arts & Culture september 23, 2016

Performance Piece Blends Dancers Into Folds Of Light

The work provides commentary on the increasing connection between programmed and analog dimensions

Related Expert

Matt Brown

Customer Journey & Data Managment

Design & Architecture september 23, 2016

Design Firm Adapts Childhood Homes For Unemployed Young Adults

The studio has unveiled three prototypes of transformed living spaces for people forced to move back in with their families

Health september 23, 2016

These Chocolate Squares Claim To Reverse The Aging Process

A group of researchers from Cambridge University have developed a candy bar that promises to give you a youthful glow

Cities september 23, 2016

Food-Producing Architecture Competition Seeks To Better Feed Cities

A design challenge in Copenhagen highlights the need and beauty of urban farming


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned Teaching 7th Grade Math

Bree Groff, Managing Director at NOBL NYC, shares her secrets for knowing your employees and enabling a team

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Health september 23, 2016

Wearable Monitors Sun Exposure To Prevent Sunburn

The clip monitors UV rays to make sure you're not receiving too much sunlight

Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

Culture september 23, 2016

This Exhibition’s Crowning Jewel Is An 18k Gold-Plated Toilet

The piece, titled 'America,' is meant to raise questions about the country's wealth inequality

Culture september 23, 2016

Match Up With Dates On Tinder Based On Your Music Preferences

A new partnership with Spotify lets people pair up based on shared tastes in artists

Entertainment september 23, 2016

Capture, Cut Up, And Configure Your World In 360 Degrees

To meet a booming 360 and VR video-capturing industry, a multimedia software company bolstered its media editing suite for 360-video creation


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Advertising september 23, 2016

These Trucks Drove Around In Circles For 24 Hours To Keep Time

The giant ticking clock was created by 14 Scania vehicles in a deserted airfield

Advertising september 23, 2016

Buy Movie Tickets Directly From Your Facebook Profile

The new feature is part of a campaign from Fandango to further imbed social media into the ticket vendor's digital presence

Asia september 23, 2016

Co-Working Space Brings The Calming Atmosphere Of Nature Indoors

An architectural firm in China has designed a new type of shared office that prioritizes the natural environment

No search results found.