There are so few TeaGschwendner stores in the US, I thought it might be fun for you guys to see some pics of their store. It wasn’t very big, and most of their tea was behind the counter, so it was very much a salesperson assisted visit. There was absolutely no pressure though, so it was just a nice discussion of teas.
One funny thing is that after I purchased and looked in my bag, there was a free spoon in there, on a card that said “Our experts at TeaGschwendner are proud to have developed this unique measuring device.” It’s…… a teaspoon. Really, it doesn’t do anything differently than any other teaspoon. But I thought it was funny, and it was free so that’s cool.
Then today we went to Adagio. I’ll be honest, I thought these were like Teavana in that they were everywhere, but only after we got back to the hotel did I learn that they are only in IL. I didn’t take any photos, sorry guys!
I absolutely LOVED the Adagio store. The experience was so welcoming and laid back. The first thing I was told when I entered is that I was able to sample absolutely anything in the store, I just had to ask. The salesperson talked to me for a second, mostly to ascertain what I knew about tea and Adagio so she would know how to help me, told me about the sales going on, and then she left me alone.
Samples of all of their teas were out so I could smell them and see the leaf. I asked for a sample of the black dragon pearls, and she made a cup for me (not just a little sample thing). It was about a 4 oz. cup, and she also left the wet leaf for me so I could see it and smell it. She was there whenever I had questions, but there was absolutely no strong-arming at all. As a result, I bought a lot more than I thought I would.
The small oolong package and the handwritten one on the left were FREE. I told her that I had enjoyed the green rooibos teas I had had in the past and that they seemed to be a little unusual, and so she offered me a “sample” of one of them that I didn’t see on the floor. As you can see, the sample is absolutely huge. Awesome visit, good job Adagio. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I told her I was drinking the old dried up tea bags in the hotel, so she gave me some free tsacs so I could brew up some of my loose leaf in the hotel.
Immediately afterward we went to Teavana…
I knew a little about what to expect since I had read about them both here and on Reddit. It was as bad as I had heard. There were two salespeople standing in the doorway, practically guarding the store. One of them latched on to me and in a really breathless, sort of yappy dog voice, started telling me about their teapots, awesome teas, etc. She kept handing me tiny samples (like a tablespoon in a little paper cup) but the weird thing was, I never saw any actual tea leaves. If there was anything to see or smell other than the brewed samples, I didn’t see it. But I didn’t stay in the store more than a few minutes, and bought NOTHING. Let that be a lesson to you Teavana!
On the way out of town we went to Davidstea. I know lots of people have these locally, but this was my first. Very cute store, bright colors and very inviting. It was set up a bit like TeaGschendner, where most things were behind the counter. There were some tins and lots of teaware out where I could see them, but not much leaf. The salesperson was happy to pull down anything I wanted, but it’s not the same as being able to browse and take my time.
One thing I noticed and liked, is where at TG when they offered to let me smell the tea out of the big boxes, I was actually smelling the tea that they were selling. At David’s their canisters had a little spot in the top where they could put some for smelling, but the selling part was separate. It felt more sanitary (all those people’s noses hanging over what I’m buying?)
Davidstea felt like much of their business came from selling teas that they made there versus selling the tea leaves. I was the only one there looking at the tea. All others who came in were paying $3 for tea the Davids person made. I couldn’t help but think…..they’re paying $3 for a teaspoon of tea and some hot water. Sigh. And, the only teas available to sample were the two “teas of the day” but she offered to let me sample anything else I wanted for $3 each. And no free samples with my purchase!
Overall, I would sum it up this way:
TeaGschwendner – High expectations, disappointed in the tea not being more available, disappointed in the lack of ready made tea samples, but the freebies with purchase were nice.
Adagio – Low expectations, far exceeded them. This was a tea shop I could spend a ton of time in and feel comfortable. “Hanging out” felt encouraged. Loved being able to smell and see every single tea that they offered, and try anything that I wanted (I only tried one, but it was just the thought of it). I spent the most time in this shop and bought more than in any other shop. Generous free samples with my purchase as well, and the salesperson found a $5 coupon on my online account that she credited as well.
Teavana – Low expectations, met. I don’t know if I will ever want to go back to one. It’s a shame with so much prime real estate, they don’t work harder to make this an awesome experience for shoppers.
Davidstea – Medium expectations, I guess mostly met. I was disappointed in the tea not being more accessible and that I couldn’t sample more, and surprised/disappointed that there wasn’t a free sample with my purchase since that seems to be the norm at other stores (and online!)
So there you go, my first visits to “real” tea stores (anything other than supermarket), all in a 48 hour period.
I kind of like the drawer set up on the wall. Reminds me of an apothecary chest or something. Thanks for sharing!
Sounds like a fun little trip. The Adagio store sounds great! :)
I’m glad you enjoyed your trip! We always enjoy going downtown. I just haven’t been able to convinced my husband to do the tea shop thing. He’ll do it on vacations but not on trips to the city. Maybe I’ll draft my daughters into going with me.
Great report – thanks for sharing your experience.
great to hear that a national company like adagio can still be hospitable.
sorry to hear about teavana, I’ve been lucky, as every time I’ve gone the staff were extremely kind and helpful and never pushy. always ask if I need help once and then leave me alone until I ask them. it seems to depend on location mainly.
The State Street Adagio is amazing. I’ve gone there a few times now (and twice for tea tastings (my friends and my Mom)) and it’s always been alot of fun. The staff is so nice and friendly. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for their store out in Naperville. They’re kinda snobby out there. >>;
The DavidsTeas are all pretty awesome too, though the first one I went to the lady behind the counter rather reminded me of a hyperactive squirrel.
Never tried Adagio teas until I just went to the State Street store last weekend and I can say it was awesome. Great experience and the prices are incredibly reasonable. I like the samples I tried. If the rest of the tea is as good as the two cups I’ve made so far I’ll be spending a lot of money ordering from them.