Starbucks adds Oprah Winfrey tea line, expands 'evenings' menu

Just when you thought Oprah had enough on her plate, the media mogul announces that she's got something new brewing. The celebrity talk show host appeared on stage Wednesday at the Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) shareholders meeting to announce a drink called the Oprah Chai that will be sold at Starbucks cafes starting April 29.

The collaboration comes just as Starbucks tries to tap into tea as a sales driver. Starbucks opened its first Teavana store in Manhattan in October to much fanfare. Seattle-based Starbucks' $620 million purchase of tea store chain Teavana Holdings Inc. in 2012 was its largest acquisition to date.

"We are going to elevate the tea experience in the same way we did for coffee," Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said, adding that partnering with Oprah "is a strong next step forward in accomplishing this objective."

Starbucks said Winfrey developed the tea with Teavana's teaologist Naoko Tsunoda. Oprah Chai is a blend of tea infused with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves, and will be sold in tins or as prepared tea lattes. Customers can find the tea at Starbucks and Teavana stores nationwide and in Canada.

Not only does the partnership give Starbucks a splashy celeb touch, but the lattes support a good cause, too. For each Oprah Chai product sold, Starbucks will make a donation to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation to benefit youth education.

Starbucks also said that it will extend its post-4 p.m. Evenings Menu, which includes beer and wine, to thousands of stores nationwide. The program is already available at more than 40 of the company's 11,500 locations in metro areas such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Portland and Atlanta, according to the company's website.

For more:
-See this Reuters article
-See this Washington Post article

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