Why the Oprah/Starbucks brew could revolutionize the business of tea

Teavana Oprah Chai Tea bowed in Starbucks stores and its Teavana chain yesterday, potentially ushering in an unprecedented surge in the popularity of the ancient drink — not only at the ubiquitous chain but also across the nation.

And if that all sounds like hyperbole, consider this:

Winfrey’s influence is incalculable. Her book club sent sales of dusty classics through the roof. Consumer products she oohed and ahhed over during her iconic talk show, her “favorite things,” were routinely cleaned off retail shelves.

When in 2008 she called the Amazon Kindle “her favorite new gadget,” the endorsement helped catapult that device to star status while unwittingly helping to change how people read.

But Oprah’s influence extends far deeper than getting people to buy stuff. She’s her own movement.

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