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Ye olde Starbucks tea shop

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Starbucks is planning to open its first tea-only store near the company’s headquarters in Seattle.

Slated to open this autumn, the new tea shop will operate under the Tazo brand (previously a Portland-based US tea firm) which Starbucks acquired in 1999, and will sell hot teas, iced teas and tea lattes. Plus, as an additional USP, the store will also feature a blending station where customers can create their own versions of Tazo tea blends, reports The Seattle Times.

However, customers should not expect the usual on-the-go experience present in the majority of Starbucks coffee shops. No, the brand is planning to make tea high-brow:

“It's not going to be the typical grab-and-go experience,” Starbucks spokesperson Holly Hart told the CNNMoney blog. “If you think about going to wine tastings where you're standing up, sipping and talking about the flavour profile, that's what this store will look like. It's about the interaction, talking about the flavour and the blend of the tea.”

"We want to raise customer expectations for tea the same way Starbucks did for coffee," explained Tazo vice president Charlie Cain to The Seattle Times.

While Starbucks can in part be credited with giving the general public a heightened sensibility about coffee (after all few Brits knew what a latte was twenty years ago), if the chain attempted to bring their tea-only store to the UK, we think they'd have a tough time. What on earth could the US chain teach us Brits about our national beverage? The concept of the ‘builders’ would surely be lost on them.

What do you think? Could Starbucks tea shops take off in the UK, or do you think the chain should just stick to coffee? Tell us your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section below

Image credit: Rex

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