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Teavana: (Skip to “The Tea” if you’re familiar with Teavana, or just don’t care to read about my first time at the vendor.) So it didn’t really take me long to crack on the Teavana front. It’s just so convenient to work in a mall with a tea store, and I drop by multiple times a week – often just to look around and enjoy being in a place that’s all about tea. I couldn’t really give that up.

Our new Teavana opened on Thursday, but I wasn’t working until today. I got a peek at the finished renovation-and-stock Wednesday night through the metal gate, but that’s about it. So I had to stop by today to say hi and check it out. The manager grabbed me and asked if she could give me, “the tour,” and I obliged…because I like her and was genuinely curious about what was going on with the store. Apparently Calgary is the first to get finished Teavanas? Some quick observations:

-Staff have to wear stupid colorful aprons like my store does (although being a guy, I generally get let off the hook with anything but the more basic colors). These were truly garish yellow aprons with rainbow text on them that said something about iced tea. My condolences to the staff.
-There were two sample stations of two: one at the door, one at the counter. I was sweetly warned by the manager that they are sweetened, but I obviously don’t care! She also pointed out that all their samples are blends of two teas. The taste of them all? Like juice. Good, but pretty much exactly like fruit juice. I see no need whatsoever to try to replicate them by buying all the teas in the blends.
-Expensive gift sets and cast iron is indeed closer to the entrance than lower priced stuff. Also, there is no price tag on practically ANYTHING, including the cast iron. I’m not sure if that is just because they haven’t gotten to it yet, or what – there is a paper tag tied to everything, but except for some little cute saying, the tag was blank. Stupidly, I kept checking them anyway and getting annoyed when they were blank.
-A lot of the product really does look good. I’m horribly tempted by the pretty glass stove-top kettle. Unfortunately, my family just bought an electric kettle that will probably last us years and years, and we don’t have room for a stove-top. I’m now going to hope the kettle breaks…
-Commission is so obvious that all the employees have little green plastic cards that they put stickers on for each tea they sell. No joke. I have no idea what else that could be for except commission. It makes me sad because I think now that it will be harder to say hi to people when they are so focused on getting their own sales and won’t casually switch off with each other anymore.

I sniffed a bunch of tins, and they indeed all smelled delicious. I was specifically looking for a blueberry white (always looking for one), and a peach white I’d heard they have. I left with both of those and a pineapple herbal because it smelled a bit like DAVIDs’ Tropicalia. The total was a little pricier than I’d expected, but I dismissed that thought because two of them were whites and I figured my mental estimate (without knowing the prices) had just been too low.

Which leads me to my beef. (And if you’ve read rants about Teavana before, I’m sure you know what’s coming…) When I got home and checked my receipt, I found it really hard to read (what the hell is a quantity of 1.91? 1.91 what?), so I got out a calculator and the little Teavana booklet, compared prices and did the math. And it would appear that ALL THREE TEAS were over-poured. ALL THREE, Y’ALL.

-My Precious White Peach was over-poured by 5 grams.
-My Imperial Acai Blueberry was over-poured by 8 grams(!).
-My Pineapple Kona Pop was over-poured by 10 freaking grams! I asked for 50 and got 60. At least that’s the cheapest one, but…

The total price difference works out to $4.31 before taxes, basically the cost of another tea!

THIS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME AT TEAOPIA. Never. There were over-pours, yes, especially towards the end when they were getting rid of stock, but I was NEVER not warned about it.

I’m…not pleased.

The Tea: So after that, is the tea any good?

…Eh. Drinkable. It’s nowhere near as good as Tropicalia, I’m afraid, although the smell is divinely pineapple with something almost spicy underneath.

The taste is just disappointing. I brewed it hot and flash-chilled it, and was very far from blown away at the first hopeful sip. It certainly tastes like pineapple, but the taste is not strong. It actually reminds me a bit of DAVIDs’ Bamboozled (which I have yet to review), so if Teavana is closer to you than a DT this might make a reasonable desperate substitute for Bamboozled. Otherwise, I’d go with Bamboozled itself, as it is by far the superior of the two.

I just wouldn’t get, you know, fifty SIXTY grams of this again. The supposedly dominant flavour is not really strong. If it turns out to be much better cold-brewed, I will raise the rating. Otherwise, I’d say skip this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I hated this!

Daniel Scott

I saw! Several of my Steepster buddies didn’t like this one, it looks like.

Oh, forgot to mention, if you let it sit and warm to room temperature, it also gets sour. Kind of ick.

Bonnie

Did not like this one much and cracked up when the sales guy said all the tea was not very good.

Daniel Scott

Oh wow…the SA said that?! Kinda sad statement.

Also, update: I may not have been over-poured after all. It may just be that all the prices in the Canadian version of the tea booklet are WRONG. So that’s nice, eh?

I will wait to hear back from Teavana Canada on this one before I edit my post.

Michelle

I’m in the minority here, but I really like it brewed strong and then poured over ice… :)
The Teavanas in the US, at least, all have outward-facing scales where it shows you what the weight is, so even if the sales person doesn’t mention the weight (which they should), it’s possible to see for oneself. And I know in the US, they don’t get commission – they track the average ticket and schedule based on that, but there’s no commission, per say. I don’t know if this is different in Canada, though.

Daniel Scott

Oh, we have outward-facing scales, but I never bother to look because the measurements are generally pretty accurate and they warn me if not, you know?

But I’m actually really starting to think the measurements weren’t that off, but that the listed prices are (in some cases by more than a dollar, which seems like a large discrepancy to me).

Oh yes, I was told about the average ticket! One of my friends who works there said he was told there was going to be commission, but he may be wrong.

Ultimately though, it has a very similar effect for the customer, doesn’t it?

Kiaharii

I have heard of them over pouring before, and pushing that “Oh it’s only a few grams over is that okay?”. There’s one at a mall near my parents and I’m tempted to go in just to have my own experience. But yeah, not heard good things. Very very pushy and not too kind to their staff because it’s very competitive.

momo

Yeah, here they always ask if it’s okay if it’s over. But it’s EVERY time you get something.

Michelle

I suppose it can make it a bit more of a hassle for the customer.

I work in sales myself. It’s not a sales-based job the way Teavana is, but corporate is always pushing promotions and add-ons to us which we in turn have to push to the customers. I suppose I tend to shop from the corporation’s point of view now wherever I go because I’ve been trained to represent the corporation. It’s second nature for me to read the fine print just because I’m used to explaining it to customers who don’t. :)

Daniel Scott

Argh, accidentally deleted my own comment, genius.

Autumn Hearth

Yeah, the rainbow aprons, I first saw those when I was visiting a new store after I’d quit and was glad I wouldn’t be having to wear those. Oh little did I know. Now I can only wear black or purple. But they should just be for the summer, you may either have the standard olive green with eggplant straps or the sandy amber ones that I hope we get for the fall.

I always let guests know what the weight and price is and try to direct their attention to the numbers on the scale but always say it aloud anyway. If it seems they don’t know how much they want, I aim between 3 and 4oz. If I know they want 2oz I get them to exactly 2oz (it becomes second nature with the sample teas), but if they are interested in the discounts I show them how much a lb or half lb is.

As for commission, not exactly, but if you meet your sales goals each month you get a bonus check which is a small percentage of your sales. We used to always bonus when we first opened, now everyone has D’s and F’s as we are held against what we did last year, when we opened.

Pineapple Kona Pop was only tolerable for me when blended, but still one of my least favorite teas. Give the Frutto Bianco Pearls a try for something tropical, it is retiring soon though.

Daniel Scott

I saw a brownish apron in the back, it said, “teaologist” on it (OMG, dying of laughter here…). Maybe that’s the next apron?

We haven’t even gotten in Frutto Bianco Pearls, sadly.

Autumn Hearth

Yep probably, the “teaologist” was really small on the green ones and I was actually surprise when a customer called me that, though some of the co-workers referred to themselves as such :rolls eyes:. Hmm you may never be getting in some of the retired teas then, I know we just sold our of a couple of them that are out of stock online. Actually its probably smart not giving it to a new store.

Daniel Scott

*not getting ones that DON’T have lots of back stock, rather.

Autumn Hearth

That makes sense. We have one that is horrible to open, but its doable, and I think we sent a few other’s back last summer. If you’re serving out the bags corporate needs to send new ones.

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TeaBrat

I hated this!

Daniel Scott

I saw! Several of my Steepster buddies didn’t like this one, it looks like.

Oh, forgot to mention, if you let it sit and warm to room temperature, it also gets sour. Kind of ick.

Bonnie

Did not like this one much and cracked up when the sales guy said all the tea was not very good.

Daniel Scott

Oh wow…the SA said that?! Kinda sad statement.

Also, update: I may not have been over-poured after all. It may just be that all the prices in the Canadian version of the tea booklet are WRONG. So that’s nice, eh?

I will wait to hear back from Teavana Canada on this one before I edit my post.

Michelle

I’m in the minority here, but I really like it brewed strong and then poured over ice… :)
The Teavanas in the US, at least, all have outward-facing scales where it shows you what the weight is, so even if the sales person doesn’t mention the weight (which they should), it’s possible to see for oneself. And I know in the US, they don’t get commission – they track the average ticket and schedule based on that, but there’s no commission, per say. I don’t know if this is different in Canada, though.

Daniel Scott

Oh, we have outward-facing scales, but I never bother to look because the measurements are generally pretty accurate and they warn me if not, you know?

But I’m actually really starting to think the measurements weren’t that off, but that the listed prices are (in some cases by more than a dollar, which seems like a large discrepancy to me).

Oh yes, I was told about the average ticket! One of my friends who works there said he was told there was going to be commission, but he may be wrong.

Ultimately though, it has a very similar effect for the customer, doesn’t it?

Kiaharii

I have heard of them over pouring before, and pushing that “Oh it’s only a few grams over is that okay?”. There’s one at a mall near my parents and I’m tempted to go in just to have my own experience. But yeah, not heard good things. Very very pushy and not too kind to their staff because it’s very competitive.

momo

Yeah, here they always ask if it’s okay if it’s over. But it’s EVERY time you get something.

Michelle

I suppose it can make it a bit more of a hassle for the customer.

I work in sales myself. It’s not a sales-based job the way Teavana is, but corporate is always pushing promotions and add-ons to us which we in turn have to push to the customers. I suppose I tend to shop from the corporation’s point of view now wherever I go because I’ve been trained to represent the corporation. It’s second nature for me to read the fine print just because I’m used to explaining it to customers who don’t. :)

Daniel Scott

Argh, accidentally deleted my own comment, genius.

Autumn Hearth

Yeah, the rainbow aprons, I first saw those when I was visiting a new store after I’d quit and was glad I wouldn’t be having to wear those. Oh little did I know. Now I can only wear black or purple. But they should just be for the summer, you may either have the standard olive green with eggplant straps or the sandy amber ones that I hope we get for the fall.

I always let guests know what the weight and price is and try to direct their attention to the numbers on the scale but always say it aloud anyway. If it seems they don’t know how much they want, I aim between 3 and 4oz. If I know they want 2oz I get them to exactly 2oz (it becomes second nature with the sample teas), but if they are interested in the discounts I show them how much a lb or half lb is.

As for commission, not exactly, but if you meet your sales goals each month you get a bonus check which is a small percentage of your sales. We used to always bonus when we first opened, now everyone has D’s and F’s as we are held against what we did last year, when we opened.

Pineapple Kona Pop was only tolerable for me when blended, but still one of my least favorite teas. Give the Frutto Bianco Pearls a try for something tropical, it is retiring soon though.

Daniel Scott

I saw a brownish apron in the back, it said, “teaologist” on it (OMG, dying of laughter here…). Maybe that’s the next apron?

We haven’t even gotten in Frutto Bianco Pearls, sadly.

Autumn Hearth

Yep probably, the “teaologist” was really small on the green ones and I was actually surprise when a customer called me that, though some of the co-workers referred to themselves as such :rolls eyes:. Hmm you may never be getting in some of the retired teas then, I know we just sold our of a couple of them that are out of stock online. Actually its probably smart not giving it to a new store.

Daniel Scott

*not getting ones that DON’T have lots of back stock, rather.

Autumn Hearth

That makes sense. We have one that is horrible to open, but its doable, and I think we sent a few other’s back last summer. If you’re serving out the bags corporate needs to send new ones.

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Bio

I’ve always been a tea drinker – I grew up drinking Tetley’s Orange Pekoe and their Chai, and considered myself to really like tea.

I’ve been working various retail jobs to put myself through higher education. One day at my store, a customer left a newly purchased bag of loose-leaf behind. We waited for three days for said customer to return, but they (likely not realizing where they had left their bag) did not return to claim the would-be brew. Too bad for them; lucky for me! I claimed the bag, took it home, and awkwardly made my first cup of loose-leaf tea with the only strainer we owned which was small enough.

I haven’t bothered with Tetley since. For the most part (and due to convenience), my patronage is limited to David’s Tea and Teavana. I also order from 52teas and Verdant Tea.

My rating system – hah, I don’t have a rating system. I rate teas a lot like Ebert rates movies. Everything’s relative.

I may often forget to mention it, but you can safely assume everything I drink is sweetened in one way or another – most rock sugar, or honey for green and white teas. I have not yet achieved drinking most tea clear. The few teas I drink unsweetened include milk oolong and genmaicha so far.

The guy in my avatar can be bought at Teaopia or here: http://www.jas-etea.com/products/Jingdezhen-%22Easy%22-Gaiwan-%22Blue-on-White-Phoenix%22-100ml.html

I currently work for Teavana. But I just work there, and my opinions about any of their teas are entirely my own and not meant to be reflective of the views of the company.

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