Starbucks launches new tea with powerful tastemaker: Oprah Winfrey

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Oprah Winfrey announce launch of new Oprah Chai tea. ©Starbucks

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Oprah Winfrey announce launch of new Oprah Chai tea.
©Starbucks

(Relaxnews) – In a major celebrity collaboration, Starbucks has tapped Oprah Winfrey, the high priestess of US culture, to lend her Midas touch to a new line of teas.

It was a big announcement Wednesday for the coffee giant and a major boost for the newest branch of its company, Teavana.

Winfrey, a global media leader and philanthropist, is renowned for her power and influence as a tastemaker. Her ‘Favorite Things’ list — in which she shares her favorite products and brands — will make a bestseller of anything she endorses.

Beginning April 29, Starbucks and Teavana stores across the US and Canada will begin to carry Teavana Oprah Chai, a flavor Winfrey helped develop with “teaologists.”

The Oprah Chai is a black tea and rooibos blend, with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves.

The collaboration can be traced back to her inclusion of Teavana’s Maharaja Chai Oolong Tea in one of her ‘Favorite Things’ lists.

“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,” she said during the announcement.

Proceeds of sales will go towards the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, which benefits educational opportunities for youth.

Announced out of Seattle Wednesday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made his intentions clear on the company’s strategy for Teavana: to make the brand as ubiquitous as its green and white logo around the world.

“With the introduction of Teavana Oprah Chai, we are going to elevate the tea experience in the same way we did for coffee,” he said.

The company also announced plans to open more Teavana Fine Tea + Tea Bars in Chicago, Los Angeles, and additional stores in New York City.

Given Winfrey’s predominantly female fan base, the tea will be launched April 29 across Canada and the US a few weeks before Mother’s Day.

The endorsement is arguably the biggest in the hot beverage industry since Nespresso tapped Hollywood A-lister George Clooney.

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