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Torn About Trying Out Teavana

33 Replies

I’ve had a few Teavana teas and have found most of their oolong blends to be totally dreadful, I’ve done most of my shopping with them online so can’t remark too much on their store experience. I’ve had several of their straight teas that are ok but it just isn’t my favorite place.

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It is what it is, you know? Teavana is a business, and their bottom line is to make money. I’d they want to appeal to the rich crowd, with money and health benefits, etc, then let them. I know that I tout my employer on tumblr – I won’t say who, but they’re a GREAT company to work for that does a lot of good things for the community. (No, it’s not Teavana. Yes, it’s a nationwide retail chain.)

And for the most part, they do have quality teas. The pricey ness comes in where you start getting the blends -white tea mixed with lots and lots of fruit and flowers sold at the same price you would expect to find straight white tea and all.

But I’ve had good experiences with them, overall. Do some research online before you go into the store and have a general idea of what you want. If you don’t want to pay for the tins, say you have some at home. Act experienced, and they won’t try to push things on you.

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Ugh, I know what you mean about not wanting to give your money to a company with that kind of business model. I’m really upset about them because Teaopia was my go-to store for both sweeteners and Finum paper filters. Now that Teavana’s bought them out, I checked their website and discovered they don’t sell the filters and their honey is ridiculously overpriced – or seems to be, they don’t list the size of the honey bottles(!).

I really hate giving my money to a company that reportedly treats its staff SO poorly, and customers like idiots, but I don’t know where else I’m going to get rock sugar. I mean, I haven’t seen it in the grocery store, and I don’t want to pay for shipping on sugar!

JubJubs said

I think the rock sugar is really just beet root sugar. Isn’t it interesting how they think to change the name of something just enough that no one would ever connected it to its well known name, and therefore never buy it cheaper from somewhere else?

I think most beet root sugar is a third of the price of what Teavana sells it for, but that was just based on a quick internet search, I couldn’t factor in shipping. Maybe a wholefoods store sells it? That kind of thing sounds like something hippies would buy. (Playfully joking, since there are also health conscious yuppies.)

bobL said

Rock sugar might be found at your nearest Persian market?

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kukicha said

The biggest bummer about Teavana is that when you go to their stores, most of the tea they give you has been sweetened using their rock sugar. So my big beef with them is that they’re just trying to get more people to like tea by adding sugar to it instead of getting people to embrace the nuances of tea. They do keep their oolongs pure, though, for tasting.

Babble said

I agree. If anything, I think they are sweetening their teas more since they’re trying to push their “iced teas”. It’s smart because: a) it convinces people to buy tea and b) it convinces people to buy rock sugar.

Even their peach blooming tea, which is brewed in a teapot, they add sugar to afterward (not as much, but still some). I’m impressed they let the monkey-picked oolong be.

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bobL said

I’m not one for blending teas, in general. I do prefer finding teas that stand well on their own, but to each his own. I’ve been in there a handful of times, mostly just to check out the tea wares. My experience matches what most say on here, so I think that part is understood. I will say this. My wife bought a beautiful gaiwan from there a few years back. I’ve taken to brewing puerhs in it. I love it. However, I also now know the company that manufactured it. It’s a Taiwanese brand called Eilong. One of my personal tenets in my own tea education is to get as close to source for both tea and wares. I feel this is the best way to gain an understanding of tea and tea culture. It’s interesting how so many people dislike Teavana for various valid reasons, but most still recommend trying it. Steepster is such a great resource and there are so many excellent independent shops, many of whom you can talk with directly here on Steepster, it seems a waste of time and money to even bother with Teavana. Give your money to these fine folks who care enough to fly to China, Japan, Taiwan, India, meet the farmers and carry their teas back home for your consumption. Prices are better, quality is better, your experience will be so much better! These people do it purely because they love it and they want to share it with you.

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JubJubs said

I didn’t know where else to put this, but I guess anyone can talk about the ethics of Teavana, but you can’t debate on the effectiveness of their pitch for some people.

http://youtu.be/P0wVYBPpEeI

The only thing I could think of was “Awww, poor baby. In the world of tea, he tried to run when he could not yet crawl.” or Imaging a little kid will those little arm floaties who is ready to learn to swim, but then someone with a Teavana name tag pushes the kid in.

You have to admit this a bit hilarious, no?

Missy said

Haha, that is totally hilarious! Poor kid.

Poor kid.

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Donna A said

I’ve probably tried at least 35 of Teavana’s teas-I think some are very good. Some of the sales reps have actually been pretty helpful, but I do find that if you aren’t somewhat firm with some of them, they will try to get you to buy a pound plus a tin. The tactics of some can be a little “tricky”, kind of fooling people who are new to tea into buying more than they need. I never buy more than 2 oz at a time. Many of my purchases have been with $10 off promotions. They are the only real tea retailer that I know of in Atlanta where I live, so it is convenient and a good way to try various types of teas to see which you like the most. For example, I like Moroccan mint for iced tea, but if I find a better value online, I’ll try it. I really like the Perfectea Maker-very handy and has held up well. I have ordered teas from Verdant and Teavivre with good results and just got some colored tins from Davidstea that were a great price. I wouldn’t buy Teavana tins b/c I think they are too expensive. When you order their teas online, the packaging is very good-airtight ziplock, versus the store with the paper bags that are not airtight. To summarize, if possible, have a good idea of what you want when you enter the store, don’t buy more than 2 oz at a time and get your tins elsewhere.

What you posted here makes me think that the ‘place many are coming from’ when they walk into a Teavana is likely very different than ‘where they are coming from’ when they actually seek out a stand-alone tea shop or one ‘downtown’ or in a strip mall; those latter customers are likely more focused on what they want. My guess is many of the people who chose to walk into a Teavana (or are ‘snagged’ from just outside their entrance while walking by, assuming the store is in a mall) are much more likely to be ‘simply browsing’, without any real game plan, so-to-speak. It’s being in a place of, ‘Oh, I’m not looking for anything in particular, I’m just, you know, browsing," that can get some of us into trouble (been there); not that it’s a bad place to be.

Yet, the ability/desire (or lack thereof) to say, “No,” in one way or another when one feels uncomfortable (it’s really about understanding, and then enforcing, boundaries) is more likely to come into play, at that point. It’s not always easy for me to enforce boundaries, but knowing what I want—and staying focused on it—really helps when I find myself being confronted by someone trying to push in on my ‘space’. I know, there I go again, going a little deeper on the subject, but I really do think it’s relevant here. : )

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Donna A said

Agreed. I think anyone interested in trying Teavana should go ahead and do so, but it might help to go on their website and familiarize oneself with their products before entering their retail store. That way one can make a small list and hopefully resist sales tactics. Reading Steepster reviews of their teas has helped me too.

Throw some stuff into the online cart and see how much it will cost will help too. Don’t be like the kid in that video.

Yeah, those are great ideas! It’s a way to ponder the tea they have in the relative safety of your own home; I write, ‘relative’, because some people—that’s me—have a hard time even saying, ‘No’ online : }

One obviously can’t ‘smell’ the tea online, but looking at the teas on their website may give one a good introduction to what they have, and it’s a good way to get an idea of what one wants before physically going into a store.

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