Starbucks acquires Teavana: but what does it mean?!?

20121115-221843.jpgStarbucks just announced that it will be acquiring tea retailer Teavana in a $620 million deal. Analysts are currently arguing whether this was a wise move for SBUX or “another needless acquisition by Starbucks, that enables them to sell something they already sell, that we don’t necessarily need.”2

But as far as I can tell, it’s doubtful that Starbucks will simply swallow up Teavana as a product to be sold within the existing Starbucks model. It seems much more likely that Starbucks will develop the model for their newly acquired tea-focused stores, and then grow their new, separate tea retail brand.

Howard Schultz seems excited for the change:

“We believe the tea category is ripe for reinvention and rapid growth. The Teavana aquisition now positions us to disrupt and lead, just as we did with espresso starting three decades ago.”

I’m interested to see how Starbucks “disrupts and leads,” and how the tea shops change. Will Teavana’s baristas still be required to be annoyingly aggressive salespeople? Will emphasis shift from bulk tea sales to beverage sales/service? Will there be fewer weird samurai chai fruit chocolate tea blends…or more? It seems as though specialty tea is mostly sold based on processing, and occasionally picking practices. Will we see increasing interest in transparent tea sourcing and info about origins? Variety? Trenta?


  1. 1369 signage. I think Ryan Soeder took this picture, then I stole it off the internet.
  2. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/11/15/starbucks-missing-ingredient.aspx

About barnwolf

head barista for pavement coffeehouse and erc boston
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