At the annual Starbucks shareholders meeting held March 19, Oprah Winfrey and Charles Schultz, who is chairman, president and ceo of Starbucks, announced a first-time-ever collaboration between Winfrey and Starbucks tea company Teavana. The new product, Teavana Oprah Chai, will be available in loose-leaf form at both Starbucks and Teavana stores across the US and Canada beginning April 19. Starbucks will also serve a Teavana Oprah Chai latte. For each product sold, Starbucks will make a donation to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation.
“I looove tea,” declared Winfrey. “My daily tea ritual is a vital part of my morning. Savory and spicy chai, with its deep flavor, has long been a favorite of mine. When Howard Schultz offered to have me come into the Starbucks tasting room and create my very own tea blend, I thought that sounded like such a unique opportunity and fun to the tenth power. To share one of my favorite things with the rest of the world and support youth education at the same time is truly the perfect blend."
Winfrey did indeed craft this tea blend herself with the aid of Naoko Tsunoda, Teavana's lead teaologist. The tea consists of loose-leaf black tea, rooibos and the standard masala chai spices: cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. While the list of spices may be standard, it is the proportions of each individual blend that gives chais their unique flavors. Considering the detailed crafting that has obviously gone into it, Winfrey's chai is bound to be a tasty one.
Schultz appears to believe so because he sees the product as a boon to the tea business in general. According to Schultz “With the introduction of Teavana Oprah Chai, we are going to elevate the tea experience in the same way we did for coffee, Partnering with Oprah Winfrey in the creation of this distinctive and remarkable tea is a strong next step forward in accomplishing this objective, while also giving back in a meaningful way through the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. I am personally humbled to work with such an inspirational leader and visionary who shares so many of our core values and beliefs. I truly believe that, together, we will set the bar for a world-class tea experience at Starbucks and Teavana.”
In addition to the creating the tea, Oprah has launched a new website, Steep Your Soul, as part of the online OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). The website is spiritual in nature, featuring stories and videos of inspirational moments. It also has several videos regarding Winfrey's personal tea experiences and the creation of Teavana Oprah Chai. Of particular interest to those who appreciate tea is the story of Winfrey being served chai by a local family in India.
Starbucks/Teavana and Winfrey have both created outstanding successes in the past. This venture is sure to be equally if not more successful.
Tea Examiner has requested a sample of Teavana Oprah Chai for review, but none is as yet available. One will be sent when it is available so check back from time to time or subscribe to receive email alerts when new articles are published on Tea Examiner.
source: Starbucks press release