Even though I hate-hate-hate coffee, I like Starbucks. Which is kinda dumb, since their tea selection is just this side of extremely pathetic. There are something like six or eight varieties of their Tazo brand tea, all middle-of-the-road options (“Awake” is a standard black, for example), and only available as tea bags. I prefer loose tea, and I prefer more options.
Wandering through the University Village this afternoon, I went into the one and only (so far) Tazo tea store. It had an of-the-moment design aesthetic, all blond wood and white tiles, very airy and clean-looking. The Asian accents are, of course, to be expected, since that’s where tea is from, after all.
First of all, they’ve got a pretty good selection of varieties. Maybe better than Market Spice in Pike Place, but less impressive than The Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, two of my favorites. (And certainly WAY more expensive than both.) But, still, a decent selection. The fun part is the ability to make your own blends. They have botanicals and fruits and what not in little jars you can sniff and match up to the teas you’re interested in. That’s just super awesome. I plan to try it out in the not too distant future.
They’ll even steep you up a hot or iced version of anything in the store. I had a Tropical Jasmine iced tea, infused with bubbles! Very enjoyable on a warm (for Seattle anyway) day.
I fervently hope that the store sticks around, and that Starbucks expands it into a chain. Even though Starbucks has recently purchased Teavana, a much less interesting experience to say the least, Tazo would be an excellent addition to their brands.