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The Tao of Tea vs. Teavana?

Hi! I am a newly hooked tea drinker and am scared to venture out. How do the tao of tea teas compare?

12 Replies
Kashyap said

Teavana is overpriced and they are all about hiding what goes into tea. They have beautiful hardware that is cheaper online and thier staff often is not very informed on teas knowledge beyond thier own.
Tao of Tea is totally different. They are passionate about tea, well informed, have one of the largest organic selections of any retailer, source all of thier own teas, and are trusted to run the tea house in downtown Portland. The owner Verinder is a wonderful guy who will cup tea with enthusiasm and marvels and enjoys learning and teaching about tea. They carry a wide selection and pull in very rare and unusual offerings and have a broad line of classic and traditional hardware and teapots. They have a fantastic website – unlike Teavana whose website adds products to your order that you dont even ask for and you have to ‘undo it’ to make it go away –
I vote Tao of Tea all the way!

kuanyin said

I agree about the overpriced part, for most things. I have paid double for the same infuser (at their sale price), that I did later at Upton. And I have seen it at other sites for the much lesser price. I am a fan of their website though, especially for a beginner. What have they added to your order? I have only had free things added, which I do not mind at all. What do they hide about what goes into their tea?

What do you mean, Tao of Tea being “trusted” to run the tea house? Isn’t it their tea house, their business? It looks fantastic and I would love to visit it, but from their website it does seem to be their own.

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I agree. Teavana is all about the money and in my opinion, the company doesn’t have that “passion” when it comes to tea. The Tao of Tea does. They have a fantastic line of tea.

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Spot52 select said

Why is Tao out of everything I want to buy? Are they out of product frequently?

Kashyap said

tea is a seasonal product and this should not be overlooked….the Tao of Tea sources and works with a small collectives of organic tea farmers who only produce small amounts each year….weather, insect predation, sun, etc…can all affect tea quality, growth, and production and the Tao of Tea is in a direct chain with this…this is why they run out so frequently….

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Your comment about being “scared” to venture out struck me. Was that just an offhand remark, or are you intimidated to visit a tea retailer? Remember, they can’t make you feel inferior/ignorant without your cooperation. There is nothing at all wrong with being new to tea and wanting to learn more. The companies that deserve your business are those which offer real information about tea and good customer service, not pseudo-science and the hard sell. If a tea salesperson annoys you, walk out of the store (and then come here to vent about it, so we can all get angry on your behalf!).

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kuanyin said

I agree with Susan, you should be able to walk in as a beginner and be treated well, I think they should love to help a new person, especially one that is new to tea. If not, (Teadrops in Kansas City, cough, cough), you don’t need to go back. If you are in Portland, it looks that Tao of Tea is an experience not to be missed! I wish I could go there. I’ll file it in my “Teahouses I Wish to Travel to” dream.

On the other hand, I began my tea world at Teavana and I have had good experiences only. Yes, they are very much a business and I would call the sales staff “enthusiastic” rather than “passionate” about tea. I hear they frequently tip over into obnoxious, but that has not been my experience. My tea taste has changed so much, that I don’t buy there much anymore, but I think their blends are delicious with many layers of ingredients and that is what hooked me on tea in the first place. Most places just give you teas flavored with one flavor and that was nice, but the blends at Teavana were ambrosia to me. I really couldn’t appreciate too fine of teas at first, so the single estate, “pure” teas that I prefer now were just not what I could appreciate.

Kashyap said

I suppose what I mean by trusted is that the Tao of Tea supplies and staffs the ‘teahouse’, the tea shop, and the zen gardens tea shop/events..the city invests in all of these as tourist attractions and hence has a say in how they are allowed to operate and are sensitive to the image they project….Hence trust….if they didnt do a good job, I’m sure some other group would get the chance….and the ‘free items’ from Teavana and the ‘suggested’ items are not really the practice of education or customer support, they are a marketing tool to sell more…its not an investment in ‘you’ the tea drinker, its an attempt to commercialize and advertise..and while I understand the idea of such models in business, I think education and appreciation go further to create a tea consuming public that can make their interests drive economy not only here, but also in helping support a ethical and sustainable tea industry abroad

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Cofftea said

That’s like comparing loose leaf to boxed.

Agreed! :)

Cofftea said

Still gonna be eternally grateful to be able to get some matcha (and other loose tea) in the mall starting July though! For me it’ll be a great option for tea when I’m out and about, but not for purchase to drink at home. Once I can actually go pick some up I will probably like it more than I think I do. There’s definitely a place for Teavana in the tea drinking world just like cheap, low quality bags.

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Cofftea said

LeahCatherine, do NOT be scared to venture out. I was Adagio exclusive for so long and didn’t venture out til I found Steepster almost 2 years ago. I missed so much! I can almost guarantee that you’ll find teas you don’t like. So what? Give it away and move on.

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