Starbucks Coffee Company has launched a ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee beverage in Japan and Taiwan, the first time it has marketed an RTD outside North America.

Starbucks Discoveries, a ready-to-drink chilled cup of coffee, is initially available in two flavours, Seattle (latte) and Milano (espresso). It is being launched in the Tokyo metropolitan area and in selected convenience stores in Taiwan.

Starbucks has teamed up with Suntory in the manufacture and distribution of Starbucks Discoveries in Japan.

For the Taiwanese market, it has entered into a distribution agreement with its joint venture partner, President Starbucks Coffee Taiwan Limited, for the marketing and distribution of Starbucks Discoveries. In Taiwan, the RTD will be produced by Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, one of the country's leading food and beverage companies.

"Starbucks Discoveries is a high quality coffee beverage, crafted with the same care and attention to detail our customers have come to expect from us," said Gerry Lopez, president, Starbucks Global Consumer Products. "Expanding into this new channel in Asia helps to strengthen the Starbucks brand and reinforces our reputation for innovation, coffee quality and expertise."

Starbucks first moved into RTDs in 1996, with the launch of the bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink through a joint venture with PepsiCo, and later introduced the Starbucks DoubleShot espresso drink. Both have proved successful in the ready-to-drink coffee category in the US.