Starbucks to Introduce New Single-serve Coffee & Tea Brewer

In what could be a break for tea companies not already licensed for K-Cups by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Starbucks Corp. and Tazo announced plans to introduce a new single-cup brewer.

Keurig, owned by GMCR, virtually owns the market for single-cup brewers and the 1.7 million union recall of Tassimo single-cup makers last month makes it unlikely Kraft Foods will mount a serious challenge.

Both machines are low-pressure devices. The Verismo is focused on high-pressure, espresso drinks and will compete primarily with Nestle SA’s machines, Schultz said during an investor’s conference call.

The Verismo may be better suited to brewing some kinds of tea than the low pressure brewers.

Starbucks teamed with Krueger GmbH to create the new Verismo espresso which is intended to capture market share in the fastest growing beverage segment.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz boasted the venture could become a billion dollar business at a investor’s conference call. “The premium single-cup segment is the fastest-growing business within the global coffee industry,” Schultz said in today’s statement.

Keurig’s low-pressure brewers and Kraft Foods Inc.’s Tassimo machines are the only ones “in which Starbucks can participate in North America,’’ Suzanne DuLong, a Green Mountain spokeswoman told Boston.Com. “We believe Starbucks is a very happy partner within the Keurig K-Cup platform,’’ she said.

Green Mountain has also recently introduced a new brewing machine that makes lattes and cappuccinos called the Vue to help combat new machines and pods from rivals. It costs $250 on the company’s website.

“We have spoken with all of our current system partners about our Vue platform and all have expressed a strong interest in being a part of the system,” DuLong said.

So-called Vue packs aren’t currently offered for the Starbucks brand.