A commenter mentioned an old idea I had about tea, so I figure I'll lay it out.
Starbucks is massive. People have totally gotten used to paying $2-$6 for a beverage. However, coffee is bad for you. And hot on the heels of the coffee trend is something diamtrically opposed to it: The all-natural-home-grown-organically-farmed-over-priced-but-we'll-still-buy-it-
Also hot right now is anything Asian. Japanese to be exact. So what's my point?
Mix Starbucks, health food, and asia, and what do you get?
"Wait just a minute," you say, "Starubucks already has tea". My answer? No they don't. If they treated coffee like they treat tea they wouldn't be in business. All they do now is give you a cup of microwaved water and a crusty old tea bag.
Think of this. You go into a starbucks-like cafe. On the board are several choices that are there all the time. Call them "neccesiTEAS". Basic white tea, black tea, oolong tea, green tea, and such.
Move on to more exotic leaves. Call them "varieTEAS".
Move on to the most expensive teas you can find. Those, of course, are the "RariTEAS".
Then, there are the special mixed tea drinks. "DiversiTEAS"
But this idea is not about cute names. When you pick your tea, the employee opens a vacuum sealed tin with fresh loose leaves in it. He lets you smell the leaves. Makes you feel like a connoisseur sampling the fragrance of a wine cork. He then places the right amount of leaves in an individual infuser, sets the timer (built into the infuser) and sets it on the "tea bar" next to all the other teas that are steeping.
You then wait two minutes, and when it beeps (or pulsates, of course), you set the infuser on the cup next to it, it strains your tea into the cup, and you go on your merry way.
Just think of it. A completely organic store. No microwaves or other machinery. Just a very natural looking bar that is about chest high with several different teas beautifully infusing with the leaves blossoming and falling inside, the soothing music and lights, the hip chatter from like-minded customers watching the magic.
In England, tea is just too huge to imagine. It's actually quite amazing that America hasn't caught on yet. But we can't do it the English way with milk and crumpets. It must be my way. The American way. The Starbucks way.