The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a Southern California favorite for more than 50 years, enters its 25th international market when it opens in Japan this May 2015. Founded in Los Angeles in 1963, the iconic brand is one of the world's first and largest privately held coffee and tea retailers with nearly 1,000 stores globally collectively serving more than 110 million coffee and tea beverages each year and over 25,000 Ice Blended drinks a day. The two new stores in Japan include a flagship location that opened May 26 in Nihonbashi, the financial hub of Tokyo, followed by the May 30 debut of a second location at AEON LakeTown, Japan’s largest eco-friendly supermall in the Saitama Prefecture of Koshigaya.
Together with Japanese franchisee L.A. Style, which is a joint-venture partnership between Hotland Co. Ltd., an experienced and actively growing operator in the Japanese fast-casual restaurant segment, and Aeon Mall Co. Ltd., Japan’s largest shopping mall developer. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is introducing its handcrafted beverages, innovative brand culture, and Southern California roots to the country. L.A. Style plans to bolster the brand’s presence with an expected 200 stores across Japan. With the foray into a new market, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf reinforces its already strong Asian footprint, a key component of the company’s growth and expansion strategy.
“We’ve already won the hearts of coffee and tea lovers around the world from the U.S. to the Middle East and Asia and are excited to enter into a country celebrated for its own rich coffee- and teashop culture. While we take our coffee and tea seriously, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf experience personifies the fun, laid-back personality and attitude long honed by our sunny Southern California roots and prized around the world. We plan to infuse the Japanese market with a fresh California style that pioneered the U.S. café craze more than 50 years ago.” says Gloria Reardon, director of Global Marketing.
The brand’s tea master and buyer, David De Candia, adds, “Our brand expands beyond the best in coffee to also offer an impressive selection of whole leaf teas from top family-owned tea estates that we are keen to share with our new Japanese customers. I travel extensively to the far reaches of the world in search of the finest private tea estates and then work directly with the growers to help cultivate and develop the finest, hand-plucked teas and flavors at the source. The pride and care that goes into each item we serve can be tasted in every sip.”
More than 50 years of service have cemented the brand as an enduring pop culture icon with a loyal following. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s signature purple straws are often spotted in celebrity photos featuring entertainment industry A-listers enjoying their favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf beverage.
The expansion into Japan is the latest initiative for the brand’s growth following the September 2013 investment by private equity firms Advent International, CDIB Capital, and Mirae Private Equity. While The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf works to expand its international presence; it is also investing in its home market of Southern California, opening its 1,000 store in Los Angeles later this year.