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Fair Warning! I knew this one would be long but now looking back on it after I’ve written it, it’s absurdly long. In fact, it’s most likely my longest post ever. I rant a lot in it, but I also talk a lot about my super fun trip to Philly! And I talk forever. Just as an idea, even the WARNING for how long this post is is long. So yeah…. Read at your own risk :)

Hello everyone! I’ve had a brief absence as I went to Philadelphia with my father this weekend (so of course this one will be long! :D). Of course I’ve still been drinking tea, not even a hotel room can slow me down! (although, our hotel room was actually really nice…

We stayed in King of Prussia, which is a suburb of Philly and it’s right next to Valley Forge which is were my grandfather’s ashes are. We went to visit him and then we decided that since we were there we might as well go into the city! We also went to a HUUUUGE mall, which I talked about briefly before, and it was so much fun, though very overwhelming. I stopped by Teavana (more on that later!) and picked up this and Blackberry Mojito (as par Bonnie ‘s recommendation. I didn’t end up getting the Yixing I wanted but I think I’ve found a place here in VT to get one and it will no doubt be cheaper and nicer! Then, on Sunday, we went into the city. It was rainy and crappy out but it was still a lot of fun! Philadelphia is truly an amazing city and I can’t wait to go back when it’s nice outside (no doubt there will be another trip this summer!) but I still had loads of fun. We went to do the standard stuff like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, and while I usually try to stay away from super tourist-y stuff in cities (I’ve never really liked all that tour crap and stuff, I like to actually explore the city!), I felt an obligation to go as Philadelphia has always been an interesting city to me and I’m in AP US History, and I felt like touring the place where this nation was basically born was absolutely necessary! After that we stopped by a coffee shop to plan our next move and, with a lot of persuasion on my part and the survey of a third party of local Philadelphians, we decided on the art museum! It was so much fun as I’ve never been to a huge art museum like that and I’m also in AP Art History, so it was so cool to see the stuff we’re learning about! My favorites were the Impressionistic and Post-Impressionistic pieces, along with the modern art wing which I absolutely LOVED! They had quite a few installments that were really cool and then they also had two rooms devoted to two of my favorite artists-Duchamp and Picasso! For those unfamiliar with Duchamp, I would definitely recommend looking him up! His Nude Descending a Staircase is one of my absolute all time favorite pieces! They had a whole section devoted to him and they had not only a collection of his later works but also his early works, before he got into Dadaism and other avant-garde styles. I’m sure you all know who Picasso is, and he had a huge room as well, which was really interesting.

Anywho, art talk aside, TEA! I’m going to have several backlogs so prepare yourself! Alright, really only 3 or 4, but still! I brought a nice selection of tea with me and I had quite a few of those. And, like I mentioned above, I also went to Teavana and picked some stuff up. Oh. My. God. RANT TIME! I got bombarded by my first Teavana employee and it absolutely sucked. The one I went to last time was small and you could tell not very many people ever went there, so it was very mellow and actually really enjoyable. Here, because it was such a large mall and it obviously had a higher customer count, it was absolutely atrocious. I managed to sneak by the snipers at the front and make my way into the back, where a lady asked if I needed help and I politely said no, and she said that was fine and walked away (a.k.a. the way salespeople are supposed to act). My dad, however wasn’t so lucky. I’m going to skip the pushiness part because I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about (pushing to try and trying to sell unnecessary things, etc.). However, there were two main flags that absolutely made me enraged.
1.) HE GAVE MY DAD SOMETHING HE WAS ALLERGIC TO! My dad is allergic to cinnamon oil and the guy offered him some of this very blend (which I enjoy, on a mellow side note). When my dad asked what it was the guy explained that it was a cinnamon-y blend with some fruit and other spices. When my dad said he was allergic, the guy said he should try it anyways because it didn’t have oil in it. My dad did because he believed him, and then it DID HAVE CINNAMON OIL IN IT! Luckily it only makes my dads tongue puff up a little and it makes his mouth scratchy, so it was nothing serious, but still. That was blatantly lying to him and I was so not okay with that. This segues into the next point.
2.) This guy blatantly lied to us. First with the cinnamon, and then with the products. First off, I asked for this one in a tin and not the other (I don’t really think that tins are necessary as I keep the bags in a dark and cool location away from other flavors, and I don’t have enough money to buy tins for ALL of my teas). However, this one was a 4 oz. minimum, so I asked for at in as I know this one will last for a long time. And, when he pulled it up and explained it to me, I noticed it was the 1 lb. tin. When I asked if I could have the smaller, 4 oz. one, he said they didn’t have those. I. Was. Looking. Right. At. One. That made me so frustrated and he refused to get a smaller one, and forced me to pay almost double what I had to for a tin. I know I can reuse them, but still. That was totally not okay with me. And then the second thing he lied to me about (well I guess third, but this is all “at the counter” lies) is about the tea. When my dad complained about the price (which he typically does, though this time it was more rightfully so), the guy automatically went into “Defend Tevana at All Costs” mode. And, this one absolutely set me off and made me run away before I went at it with him, he said that with only 6 oz of tea, I could make well over 100 cups of tea. A.) That doesn’t even make sense. I actually don’t understand how he got to that so it leads me to believe that he was actually lying to my face. I did the math right there in my head and since I brew 12 oz. cups western style, I can make about 20 cups of tea with 2 oz. That’s only 60 cups of tea with 6 oz…. THAT’S ALMOST HALF OF 100! This guy lied and said I could make almost double with this tea, and I know for a fact that it won’t resteep well at all because I’ve tried already. B.) What’s the point of lying about that?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!? I mean, I understand that it makes it seem like you’re getting more bang for your buck that way but I mean, why would you lie to that extent? He could’ve just said 75 cups… That would have been forgivable! But he didn’t…. Which makes me so angry. If I’m ever in the area again and he just happens to be working there I will make sure to confront him, only I’m not joking. He just made me so angry and lose almost all hope in Teavana.

Okay, rant aside. I’m sorry about that, I’m not good at this whole “don’t ramble on” thing. This tea is super good! I tried it as a sample a little while back and I knew that I wanted it. Plus, I’ve been on an uncharacteristic chai kick lately, and this one is super good. I like that I can drink it in the afternoon because the white tea kind of balances out the mate, and it makes the caffeine a lot less than it would be (or maybe I just made that up in my head as an excuse for drinking it at night….:P). Dry this one smells nice and spicy but it also has a nice sweet undertone to it that really makes it so tempting. I also think it’s really pretty. There’s a nice yellow-y green base of actual tea and then you get the little pops of red from the pepper and blue from the flowers. I would go on a rant about Teavana and then say I really like their tea… I guess what it all really comes down to though, is that I actually really do like some of their teas and that’s what makes me keep going back. It would be so much easier to just not like their teas at all :P I really like this one because it isn’t too too spicy when you’re drinking it (in fact it’s quite mellow), but then once you’ve swallowed a lovely, super-spicy aftertaste comes out that’s followed by a nice sweetness. As this one cools down a little, the sweetness comes out more in the flavor and the spiciness starts to play around a little more, too.

This one is super good, and despite all my Tevana troubles, I am really glad I picked this one up!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Sometimes it pays to say that you have a tea blog and also review tea companies on Steepster. Teavana fell over backwards when I mentioned Steepster …almost gave me the tea. Oh, did you have a hogie? The best are from Philly! I was a Vista Volunteer there in 1968. And soft pretzels…um!

Bonnie

Sometimes it pays to say that you have a tea blog and also review tea companies on Steepster. Teavana fell over backwards when I mentioned Steepster …almost gave me the tea. Oh, did you have a hogie? The best are from Philly! I was a Vista Volunteer there in 1968. And soft pretzels…um!

Ian

I agree-I’ve mentioned the site to a few other tea enthusiasts and even a few companies and they’ve been surprised and excited. I didn’t get a chance to have a hogie :( I reallllly wanted to try a legitimate Philly Cheesesteak but I wasn’t able to as it was rainy and we couldn’t find anywhere that had them. Next time though!

TeaBrat

sheesh. After all the stories I have heard I don’t know if I want to set foot in any of their stores.

Bonnie

Amy, my son went into STE at Pier 39 and he was getting Chocolate Strawberry Puer for me and said I did this Steepster thing (I did not tell him to say that!) and they gave it to him! What is this FEAR! He paid for the other tea though!

TeaBrat

@ Bonnie LOL – I will need to try that!

ScottTeaMan

Teavana dies/did have a few nice accessories on their site not long, but as far as purchasing their tea…….I’ll pass.

ScottTeaMan

I meant does…….but if the company died, I wouldn’t even notice. :))

Jillian

They must think we’re all terrible ogres here or something, lol. Anyways with all the stories about Teavana there’s no way in hell I’m going near their stores – I don’t care how good the tea is, it’s not worth the hassle.

Cheryl

What makes his math even worse, is that (for me) this blend requires more than your typical 1 tsp. for a good (8 oz) cup. Not to rile you up more or anything, lol. But I like this blend too (a lot), but their tactics will make it hard to repurchase. Nice trip!

Kittenna

Holy – this is a long note! Just thought I’d mention that before… going up and reading the whole thing :D Yep, people do read the long ones!

Ian

@ScottTeaMan and Jillian-The only reason I go to their stores is because a.) I’ve heard equally as many horror stories about the website and I would rather just get the teas and stuff in store where I can physically see what I’m getting and make sure it’s not tainted/broken/out of stock when it says it isn’t and b.) because their teas are already so overpriced I would hate to have to pay shipping costs on top of that!

@Krystaleyn-I know! I didn’t realize how long it was until after I’d finished…. I’m glad you’re reading it! I always try to read everyone’s notes no matter how long or short! I like reading about your lives outside of tea!

Alright that sounded really creepy but I meant it in the most endearing way possible :P

Bonnie

No…we just read IAN ’S long ones!

Ian

I’m honored, Bonnie :D

Yogini Undefined

I enjoy reading the long reviews too and thought it painted a great visual of your trip’s highlights Ian – thanks for sharing! I looked up Marcel and checked out his other works – very interesting!
Such a shame about Teavana – I will have to see what they do with all the Teaopia stores they’ve bought out here. I’ve been lucky to have dealt with some great Teaopia employees, & can only hope they keep them on after the rebranding is over.

Kittenna

@Ian – Yeah, I always read everyone’s notes too, and love to hear about people’s non-tea lives in them! And it totally didn’t come off as creepy :P

Krista Ramala

I think that the customer service is not always the greatest.
Maybe in Canada they will be a bit more civil!!!!!!!!!!!

EnvyEyes

I fear I may sound pandering, but I simply must commend you on both your writing style and your apparent maturity (would adding “at your age” be too much?). As I type this comment, I find myself hesitant to submit it due to the irrational fear of mistakenly provoking your ire. In all seriousness, I have read a few of your comments on other teas and have been repeatedly impressed by your deep grasp of what most would consider “mature” or “adult” perspectives. (not the adult or mature which requires a rating guide…) Bravo to you and to your parents for raising such an accomplished, intelligent, and articulate young man. There is hope yet for the future.

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Bonnie

Sometimes it pays to say that you have a tea blog and also review tea companies on Steepster. Teavana fell over backwards when I mentioned Steepster …almost gave me the tea. Oh, did you have a hogie? The best are from Philly! I was a Vista Volunteer there in 1968. And soft pretzels…um!

Bonnie

Sometimes it pays to say that you have a tea blog and also review tea companies on Steepster. Teavana fell over backwards when I mentioned Steepster …almost gave me the tea. Oh, did you have a hogie? The best are from Philly! I was a Vista Volunteer there in 1968. And soft pretzels…um!

Ian

I agree-I’ve mentioned the site to a few other tea enthusiasts and even a few companies and they’ve been surprised and excited. I didn’t get a chance to have a hogie :( I reallllly wanted to try a legitimate Philly Cheesesteak but I wasn’t able to as it was rainy and we couldn’t find anywhere that had them. Next time though!

TeaBrat

sheesh. After all the stories I have heard I don’t know if I want to set foot in any of their stores.

Bonnie

Amy, my son went into STE at Pier 39 and he was getting Chocolate Strawberry Puer for me and said I did this Steepster thing (I did not tell him to say that!) and they gave it to him! What is this FEAR! He paid for the other tea though!

TeaBrat

@ Bonnie LOL – I will need to try that!

ScottTeaMan

Teavana dies/did have a few nice accessories on their site not long, but as far as purchasing their tea…….I’ll pass.

ScottTeaMan

I meant does…….but if the company died, I wouldn’t even notice. :))

Jillian

They must think we’re all terrible ogres here or something, lol. Anyways with all the stories about Teavana there’s no way in hell I’m going near their stores – I don’t care how good the tea is, it’s not worth the hassle.

Cheryl

What makes his math even worse, is that (for me) this blend requires more than your typical 1 tsp. for a good (8 oz) cup. Not to rile you up more or anything, lol. But I like this blend too (a lot), but their tactics will make it hard to repurchase. Nice trip!

Kittenna

Holy – this is a long note! Just thought I’d mention that before… going up and reading the whole thing :D Yep, people do read the long ones!

Ian

@ScottTeaMan and Jillian-The only reason I go to their stores is because a.) I’ve heard equally as many horror stories about the website and I would rather just get the teas and stuff in store where I can physically see what I’m getting and make sure it’s not tainted/broken/out of stock when it says it isn’t and b.) because their teas are already so overpriced I would hate to have to pay shipping costs on top of that!

@Krystaleyn-I know! I didn’t realize how long it was until after I’d finished…. I’m glad you’re reading it! I always try to read everyone’s notes no matter how long or short! I like reading about your lives outside of tea!

Alright that sounded really creepy but I meant it in the most endearing way possible :P

Bonnie

No…we just read IAN ’S long ones!

Ian

I’m honored, Bonnie :D

Yogini Undefined

I enjoy reading the long reviews too and thought it painted a great visual of your trip’s highlights Ian – thanks for sharing! I looked up Marcel and checked out his other works – very interesting!
Such a shame about Teavana – I will have to see what they do with all the Teaopia stores they’ve bought out here. I’ve been lucky to have dealt with some great Teaopia employees, & can only hope they keep them on after the rebranding is over.

Kittenna

@Ian – Yeah, I always read everyone’s notes too, and love to hear about people’s non-tea lives in them! And it totally didn’t come off as creepy :P

Krista Ramala

I think that the customer service is not always the greatest.
Maybe in Canada they will be a bit more civil!!!!!!!!!!!

EnvyEyes

I fear I may sound pandering, but I simply must commend you on both your writing style and your apparent maturity (would adding “at your age” be too much?). As I type this comment, I find myself hesitant to submit it due to the irrational fear of mistakenly provoking your ire. In all seriousness, I have read a few of your comments on other teas and have been repeatedly impressed by your deep grasp of what most would consider “mature” or “adult” perspectives. (not the adult or mature which requires a rating guide…) Bravo to you and to your parents for raising such an accomplished, intelligent, and articulate young man. There is hope yet for the future.

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Bio

Hello!

I’m Ian and I’m a 15 year old student who lives in Vermont. I started (heavily) drinking tea in Late 2010 and have been obsessed ever since!

I tend to drink more black and herbal teas, though I do enjoy oolong, green, and white, and I’m exploring other facets of the tea world (I’m still trying with pu-erh!)

I tend to lean towards sweeter and fruity flavors in my teas, and I’m not a big fan of smoky flavored teas, or anything that’s VERY bold.

I also enjoy a cup of coffee every once and a while, though it does mess with my stomach sometimes so I don’t drink it as often as I drink tea.

In addition to tea drinking, I’m also really interested in:
Classical music (I’ve been playing clarinet for 5 years now and it’s my favorite thing to do), independent arts/music, education on environmental sustainability, reading, Fair Trade and safe-trade practices, Cognitive science, art history, and a lot more.

I’m open to swaps, but I don’t have a very wide collection. Regardless, if I review a tea and you would like a sample, feel free to message me and we can work something out! If you would like to just try something without a swap, feel free to ask too! I know that I personally don’t have a lot of teas to swap and if you’re in the same position as me just feel free to ask for a sample and I’ll send you some, no strings attached!

I run a blog on TeaTrade which you can find here: http://serendipitea.teatra.de/. The goal of my blog is to better connect tea with the arts and go beyond just the taste aspect of tea. Enjoy!

Location

Vermont

Website

http://serendipitea.teatra.de/

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