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Starbucks Failure With Teavana Tea Stores

teavana starbucks tea

"In 2012, Starbucks acquired Teavana for 620 million. As with other Starbucks acquisitions, this became a cautionary tale."

November 14th, 2012

“The acquisition of Teavana supports our growth strategy to innovate with new products, enter new categories, and expand into new channels of distribution,” said Jeff Hansberry, president, Channel Development and Emerging Brands for Starbuck, who will assume leadership of the new subsidiary. This was on Nov 14,2012.

teavana store
starbucks store


While this may have been Starbucks’ intent 9 years ago, success in the Coffee business simply did not translate… and unfortunately for those of us who loved Teavana teas, and that unmatched in-store experience, Starbucks needed less than a decade to drive the once thriving Teavana brand into a financial drain on the company.

Would Teavana Survive

The promise of improving the Teavana business was stated to investors by CEO Kevin Johnson in 2017: “While the Teavana brand continues to be highly accretive to our tea business in Starbucks stores, many of our mall-based Teavana stores are continuing to have a negative impact on our overall results" Johnson said in April. "We have launched a review process and intend to take clear action to improve the performance of our Teavana mall store portfolio."

A Shocking Announcement

And this was how they improved performance less than a year later:

“Starbucks Closing All 379 Teavana Stores Because Who Buys Quality Loose-Leaf Tea in a Mall”

The result of the Starbucks failure? Smart companies with access to the highest quality teas entered the market, not with expensive storefronts in malls, but with online stores…and sales of loose-leaf tea online, skyrocketed. 

“My sister and I always loved good tea and were both disappointed at the closing of the Teavana stores. However, we saw a void in the market and decided to build a business together, providing the highest quality teas with the most unique blends.”, said Barri Cote, founder of Grey & Bash Teas

There may never be another Teavana with a nationwide footprint in retail locations, but my customers have gotten very comfortable with ordering online. Maybe Covid is partially responsible for the growth in online loose-leaf tea sales, but I think buying tea online is here to stay. Our re-order business is off-the-charts, even now that the world of retail has opened back up.”

teavana tea
matcha green tea

The Silver Lining

So, this Starbucks cloud has had a silver lining, and sales of loose-leaf tea has continued to grow. This growth has been fueled not only by a more health-conscious consumer, but by the emergence of online providers of fine loose-leaf tea.

tea sales online

Someone Had to Fill the Gap

Young innovators saw an opportunity caused by the closing of Teavana Tea stores and filled the gap with an alternative to retail that allows consumers to drink the highest quality blends, without having to go drive to the mall. Unfortunately for Starbucks, they just couldn’t figure it out. But hey, at least Gravity Pots survived!!!

Our Best Sellers

Here at Grey and Bash Teas, you can find a large selection of Tea Options. Tea is prized for being one of the healthiest beverages available, so much so that it has achieved super-drink status in recent years.

iced green tea

Blueberry Rush Herbal Tea

This tea will take you right back to blueberry picking season. This bold and fruity blend has apples, blueberries, hibiscus, rosehips, beetroot, and black currant leaves. If you steep this tea for just 3 minutes it will come out nice and sweet. If you like your teas more tart, steep this blueberry tea for 4-5min!

Delicious iced with a bit of homemade lemonade for a summer drink the whole family can enjoy!


Mango MajesTEA

A Match Made in Paradise! Green Tea meets Juicy mango and fresh guava for this tropical indulgence.

Ingredients: Green tea, mango pieces, apple, artificial flavoring, freeze-dried guava (guava puree, concentrated apple puree, concentrated apple juice), beetroot, pink cornflower.

Caribbean Cruise

A Caribbean vacation wherever you are.  The delightfully bright fruity flavors of this black tea will transport you to your favorite port of call!


Ingredients: Black tea, hibiscus, orange peel, blackberry leaves, raspberry leaves, cornflowers, marigold, safflowers, natural and artificial passion fruit flavor, natural and artificial vanilla flavor, natural and artificial strawberry flavor, natural and artificial raspberry flavor.


Blackberry Oolong

One light bright cup! Ti Kwan Yin oolong is flavored and blended with blackberries and blackberry leaf for a fresh and cleansing tea from China. Oolong has long been known to raise the metabolism and is used by many as a detoxing tea.

Watermelon Cooler

It's Summertime anytime with this divinely refreshing blend. Juicy watermelon paired with cooling mint will have you feeling like you've just attended the picnic of the year!

Ingredients:  Honeydew melon, apple, watermelon, hibiscus, elderberry, peppermint, artificial flavoring, rosehips.

Youthful Berries White Tea

Fountain of Youthful Berries is as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to sip! This complex tea blends organic Pai Mu Tan with pineapple, apples, cranberries, mango pieces, natural acai berry and blueberry flavors, rosehips, rose petals and hibiscus flowers.

Almond Biscotti Black Tea

Almond biscotti is like dessert in a cup! This infusion is filled with almond pieces and safflowers.

Blood Orange Black Tea

A true classic. Reminiscent of freshly squeezed oranges, let your mind escape with this wonderfully refreshing anytime tea.


Ingredients: Black tea, orange, apple, rose hips, rose petals, safflowers, natural and artificial orange flavor, natural and artificial vanilla flavor, natural and artificial lemon flavor.

Berry Truffle Pu'er Tea

Our organic loose leaf Pu'er is blended and flavored with cranberries, elderberries and cacao. This tea may even lower your cholesterol. One of our favorite ways to enjoy this Pu'er is with a dash of milk (you can thank us later)!

Black Walnut Pu'er

A coffee lovers dream and everyones favorite. This tea tastes exactly like what you see and smell!

Pink peppercorn Pu'er tea with cacao, pistachio, pecan and walnuts.

Contains Nuts