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Starbucks to open ‘tea bar’ in New York City

Naoko Tsunoda, Teavana’s director of tea development, gave a demonstration at a New York store.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Naoko Tsunoda, Teavana’s director of tea development, gave a demonstration at a New York store.

NEW YORK — Starbucks is trying to make tea trendy, with plans to open its first New York City ‘‘tea bar’’ where people can order drinks and small dishes in a cafe-like setting.

The Seattle company says Teavana Fine Teas + Teavana Tea Bar will serve sweets, flatbreads, salads, and other food ranging in price from about $3 to $15. Drink prices will range from $3 to $6, and include novelties such as a Spiced Mandarin Oolong tea and carbonated teas.

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The menu of food and freshly made drinks is a switch for Teavana, a retail chain of about 300 stores that sells boxed and loose tea and accessories. Teavana stores are mainly in shopping malls, but Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said he plans to expand the footprint to include more locations in urban areas. Starbucks also plans to transform additional Teavana stores to make them more like Starbucks cafes and the tea bar that’s opening on Thursday.

Starbucks bought Teavana last year, saying it planned to use the acquisition to make tea a bigger part of American culture, as it has with coffee.

Starbucks Corp., which has about 12,000 US locations, has been on a strong financial run even in the weak economy. In its latest quarter, it said sales rose 9 percent at cafes open at least a year.

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