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Starbucks Opens Concept Tea Shop on Upper East Side

By Gustavo Solis | October 30, 2013 9:12am

UPPER EAST SIDE — Starbucks is experimenting with a new caffeinated drink — and it's chosen to set up a lab in the Upper East Side.

The coffee giant's flagship tea house, Teavana, opened last week at 1142 Madison Ave., the company announced.

The tea shop, located between East 85th and 84th streets, features dim lights and calming music, as well as comfortable chairs and the aroma of tea leaves.

"It feels very Zen," said a customer who did not provide her name as she walked out of the shop.

The scent of loose-leaf tea mounted on the wall greeted customers as they walked in, while a trained "tea associate" handed out free samples of Teavana's sweet Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom and the spicy Maharaja and Oolong Samurai Chai Mate.

Unlike Starbucks coffee shops, which experience a morning rush, Teavana expects to cater to the afternoon and evening crowds who want a relaxing drink after a day of work.

“The Madison Avenue location is perfectly situated on a street with elegant retail near the world’s best museums, residences and schools and we’re confident that Starbuck’s new venture into the world of tea artistry will enjoy long term success,” said Joshua Roth, vice president of Retail Leasing at Manhattan Skyline Management Corp., which owns the retail location.

Staff said it's too early to tell which drinks are the most favorite. Most of the people that walk in are treated to a brief tea lesson about the different kinds of leaves, where they come from, and how they affect taste.

Teavana, which occupies 1,820 square feet at the address, also doesn't skimp on the tea aesthetic, featuring a floor-to-ceiling wall mounted with white, green and black oolong, mate, rooibos and herbal tea leafs. 

The shop also has locations at East 81st Street and Lexington Avenue, and West 81st Street and Broadway, according to its website.