Last week Starbucks opened a Teavana tea bar in New York City, the first step towards creating what it hopes will be a counterpoint to its enormously successful coffee locations. Before being bought by Starbucks last year, Teavana had primarily been known for retail shops that sold tea and supplies — but didn't serve the drink. With the tea bar concept, Starbucks had to rethink some of the most basic elements of its successful formula for a different kind of customer — including the paper cup itself.
FastCoDesign takes a look at the result of Starbucks' design efforts. The goal was to make a cup that felt more like drinking from china than a flimsy, on-the-go piece of cardboard. Double-walled insulation was built into the cup itself, foregoing the need for the cheap cardboard sleeves Starbucks customers (and coffee drinkers everywhere) need to deal with. The texture of the cup itself is different as well; embossed paper is used to provide what's described as a "feathery" and "foamy" feel. According to the report, the insulating design requires around 50 percent more material than is used in traditional Starbucks cups and sleeves.
Of course, the way the cup feels in the hand is just one element of the experience. The lid also garnered significant attention, with a molded face and wider spout when compared to coffee cups. With Starbucks' creative director of emerging brands, Daniele Monti, telling FastCoDesign that the new design has found quite a following inside the company, we might even see some of these improvements coming to coffee drinkers as well. In the meantime, you can check out more pictures of the Teavana cup at FastCoDesign.