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Posted by on Jan 9, 2010 | 16 comments

In With The New: Tazo Tea Whole Leaf, Skinny Lattes, Kick off Starbucks Campaign

On Tuesday, January 12, Starbucks officially kicks off their “In With The Good” campaign, focusing on a “healthy and tasty journey” for consumers in 2010.

A strong focus is the relaunch of Tazo Teas with the Full Leaf line.  Full Leaf promises better quality whole leaves, spices and botanicals in silken sachets for steeping.  The changeover from loose to whole began sometime last October, but will be nationwide as of next week.

The Tazo® Full Leaf Tea Lineup now includes:

  • Black Teas: Awake, Earl Grey, Chai (previously only a Chai Latte version)
  • Green Teas: Zen, China Green Tips, Orange Blossom (new)
  • Herbal Infusions: Calm, Refresh, Passion® , Vanilla Rooibos (new)

I was given preview samples of the Orange Blossom, Vanilla Rooibos and Chai.

Orange Blossom Full Leaf

orangeblossom_starbuckstazoOrange Blossom Full Leaf is said to be inspired by a spa.   It is a beautiful Green tea, with what appears to be chamomile and a few Goji berries.  [Note: In Asia, Goji berries are often just put in a glass and steeped in hot water.  They impart a smooth but sweet taste.  You can eat the berries afterwards.  Alas, there were only two imprisoned in this sachet. ]  It was nice and had a good herbal iced flavor.  Take care not to steep this one too long.  This is definitely one to have in a glass to enjoy the colors.

Chai Full Leaf

chai_fullleaf_starbuckstazoI have been a fan of authentic Chai since it became available in my local health food store in the 90’s.  Chai (which translates into “Tea”) has roots everywhere, but my favorite stems from Nepal.  Heavy with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and the like, a good Chai has a boldness and a bite.  Combine that with a rich Soy or Almond milk – Chai is traditionally made with milk, not water – and it is heaven in a cup.

Starbucks originally offered the Tazo Chai in Chai Latte form only.  Unfortunately, I found the Chai Full Leaf a little too timid.  Part of the fun of Chai is the look of the different bits of sticks and spices, but these were pretty crushed.  The taste was too mild, and probably brought down several notches for mainstream.  If standard Chai is overpowering for you, then this may be a very good match.

Vanilla Rooibos

vanilla_rooibos_starbuckst copyRooibos (Roy-Boss) is another tea I have long loved. In the 80’s I spent time in South Africa, where the needles from the Rooibos bush are the National Drink.  It is not a true leaf tea.  The pieces are redwood, splinter-like in appearance, like pine needles.  Rooibos was originally only grown near Cape Town, and because of the limited supply the government would not allow exportation (I know, I tried!).  By 1999 though, deals had been struck to protect the supply and now Rooibos is a favorite for many worldwide.  Rooibos has a smooth taste that is hard to describe.  It is good hot and cold, and coats the mouth with what is only coming to mind as a nuttiness.  Rooibos is higher in antioxidents than Green Tea and studies have shown it aids in improving brain function.  I love it straight up.

Starbucks Rooibos Full Leaf is mixed with Vanilla.  Because of the nature of the tea, this one will end up looking like sweepings.  It is very easy to crush the needles.  I always find Vanilla with tea a little bitter as I don’t often add sweetener,and it is milder than I am used to, but otherwise it is hard to go wrong with Rooibos.

The new lineup will definitely please Starbucks on-the-go tea drinkers!


If lattes are your thing, there are new versions of lattes also debuting:

  • Skinny Cinnamon Dolce and Vanilla Coffee
  • Skinny Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte

Starbucks will be pairing these with artisan cookies and snacks.


  • The Casi Ciello, a fine dining brew, is returning
  • Mexico Ciappas whole beans are making a debut.  The beans are grown on the slopes of the Sierra Madre.  If you love Mexican Hot Chocolate, this is the coffee version.  Described as “crisp, nutty with a hint of cocoa”, the smell just from the bag will rock your world.  I am jonesing for a cup right now, but after having three 24oz teas last night I need to hold off on that taste test 🙂

mexico_chiapas_starbuckstazoCheck out Starbucks on January 12th to enjoy the new lineup!

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