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Tazo Tea Company
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1994; 30 years ago (1994) in Portland, Oregon
FounderSteven Smith[1]
Area served
ProductsTeas and herbal teas
Number of employees
Approximately 50 (2010)
ParentLipton Teas and Infusions

Tazo Tea Company is a tea and herbal tea blender and distributor founded in Portland, Oregon. It is now a Lipton Teas and Infusions division and is based in Kent, Washington.


Tazo (/tɑːˈz/) Tea was founded in 1994 by Steven Smith.[1] The manufacturing and distribution was maintained by North American Tea & Coffee, a Canadian-based food manufacturing company.[2]

Tazo approached then Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 1998, seeking further investment partners. The company was purchased by Starbucks in 1999 for $8.1 million.[3]

Starbucks opened the first Tazo-branded tea shop in November 2012.[4] It closed a year later and was converted into a Teavana store.[5]

In November 2017, Starbucks sold Tazo to Unilever for $384 million.[6]


A selection of Tazo teas, showing the pre-2006 logo
An organic chai tea bag, showing the Tazo logo used since 2013

The company uses "New Age"-style marketing and product labeling. For example, every box of tea was once labeled as "blessed by a certified tea shaman" and an original tag line was "The Reincarnation of Tea."

Until 2013, the logo used the Exocet typeface, slightly modified. For example, the T in Tazo was changed for readability purposes in 2006 by sliding the cross-piece toward the top of the letter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Roberts, Sam. (2015, March 25). "Steven Smith, a 'Marco Polo' of American tea, dies at 65," The New York Times. Accessed: March 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "North American Tea". Archived from the original on 2016-05-17.
  3. ^ "Starbucks will buy Tazo tea company". Puget Sound Business Journal. January 13, 1999. bizjournals.com. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  4. ^ Candice Choi; Sarah Skidmore (November 14, 2012). "Starbucks Buys Teavana". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2019-09-08.
  5. ^ "Starbucks to open first 'tea bar' in New York City". New York Daily News.
  6. ^ "Starbucks sells Tazo tea brand to Unilever, focuses on Teavana instead". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-11-03.

External links[edit]