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Teavana (WestFarms Mall) in Farmington, Connecticut
2/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

This was my first actual visit to a Teavana, instead usually getting friends to send the teas across the border to Canada for me. But I was in the area, and since my town is getting one in October, I thought I should check it out.

First impressions of the store were of . . . chaos. There was not enough sales people to handle the flow of customers, and very little space near the cash in order to allow people viewing access to the wall of teas while other customers placed/received/paid for their orders. The main business of the day seemed to be for their teas to go, and I purchased one myself as I wanted something to sip as I wandered the mall. I asked for it to be only slightly sweetened, however apparently in Teavanaland this means two full spoons of their rock sugar (four times what I would’ve liked to have). Even with all that sugar, the tea was only half flavoured, making me wonder why so many people were buying single cups on their visits.

There was a lovely collection of accessories and teaware to browse in the store, as well as a collection of samples to sip and taste test. Only one of the approximately eight flavours on tap were un-sweetened and unblended. I do not understand how someone is supposed to understand what a tea tastes like when it is blended with another. I really dislike this sales tactic of theirs since it means someone needs to buy double the tea to get the same flavour at home.

The sales staff were extremely friendly and helpful, although you could tell that they were not solid in their tea knowledge. Still, the woman who helped me did pull whatever I asked to sniff off of the wall and let me examine the blends before purchase. And when I only left with a two ounce purchase, there was no drop in customer service.

Overall the people were nice but the chain lived up to its not-great reputation. I think I’ll stick to my David’s Tea when Teavana invades my local mall.

The Green Teahouse in West Hartford, Connecticut
3/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

I visited the Green Teahouse for the first time over the weekend with a friend who is a frequent purchaser there. She’d sent me some teas before so I was already aware of the average to excellent quality of their teas, depending on which was your selection.

The store itself has an excellent collection of teaware for sale at prices comparable to Teavana and other major tea chains. It is lovely and clean, and I really enjoyed the ability to see and sniff the available teas without requiring staff assistance, since there are small sample containers for each throughout the store. There were also many teas pre-brewed to sample, however all of them were extremely sweetened with honey, making it difficult to discern the true tea flavours for some blends.

The staff were not the friendliest of people, however they definitely improved their demeanour with the regulars as opposed to the browsers. When I asked for an ounce of a tea to be measured because there were no pre-prepared bags of that flavour he was distinctly unhappy about having to do so.

The prices of the tea ranged from average to extremely high depending on the blend. I paid under $5 for an ounce of an oolong, and yet saw some whites and blacks going for more than $12.00 for a quality that I can get for far lower. The blends were not overly weighed down with fruit/nuts/non-tea ingredients like some other companies, making the prices slightly more understandable. Still, I find it priced higher than David’s Tea or comparable chains.

All of this being said, there are some things I really liked. The location is excellent, in a nice neighbourhood close to many local attractions, and with a beautiful outdoor sitting area in the shared courtyard. The store was extremely clean, well floor-planned, and as I said before, made sure that all teas were accessible for inspection. Cups to-go are available for those who wish to try a tea before purchase, and if you take a bag to be refilled, a free sample is given of the tea of your choice.

The bags themselves are excellently made, with solid seals and no light accessibility. The instructions on the bags are full of the various “health benefits” of each type of tea and while I don’t agree with some of the steeping instructions, they aren’t so bad as to dissuade a tea first-timer.

Overall it wasn’t a bad little store, but it isn’t one that I’ll add to my mandatory visit list, either.

The Tea Haus (Canada) in London, ON
5/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

General Information:

The Tea Haus opened in October of 2000, in the Covent Market, downtown London, Ontario, Canada. They started the company as a labour of love, and to help them keep their own tea supplies fresh and plentiful (as any true lover dreams of doing!) They have over 200 varieties now, ranging from the traditional blacks to herbals and blooming, and everything in between. All of their teas are able to be seen in the store if you’re lucky enough to go, and they are more than willing to allow you to smell them at your request. They use German suppliers, and all teas are loose-leaf only, however bags are for sale to create your own, as are infusers etc. In-store cups and pots of tea of any tea on the wall are available for an affordable price. (It was 1.25 a few years ago but I’m not sure now!)

Each cannister of tea (glass for all but the greens and whites, which are kept in tin) is sealed tightly, and is clearly labelled in colour coded stickers which give a quick summary of the tea as well as a list of the ingredients.

There is no rewards program, however those who return their bags in-store are offered a discount for recycling the bags. Online orders always come with a sample, which after more than one order is reflective of your buying history. Subscribers to their tea newsletter are offered promotions between 6-10 times a year. Occasionally they will also donate proceeds from certain teas towards charitable concerns, for example Japan when they suffered their earthquakes.

In addition to the tea itself, the store is an excellent source for quality tea accessories, including but not limited to pots, cups, thermoses, and matcha materials.

Teas are sold online and in person in set amounts, with most teas starting at 50g. (Many whites and greens start at 25g due to their weights or costs.) There is no discount for mass purchasing, however shipping is free for online orders in Canada after 49.00 and to the USA after 75.00.

The costs of their teas is amazing, coming in usually about half the rates of most retailers (eg. David’s Tea, Teavana, Teaopia). Orders are shipped promptly, and are packaged nicely and safely. All teas I’ve ever ordered have been fresh, quality, and identical to their descriptions.

Website:

They revamped their website this year, and it has made a big difference. It is easy to use and simple to figure out. There is an excellent search engine, and the options are identical to stock available, so you won’t order and then have it redacted from your order as many have had happen from Teavana. I once noticed my favourite staple tea from them wasn’t online anymore so I called them, not realizing yet they weren’t open. The owner answered the phone anyway, despite it being really early in the morning, and was amazingly nice and assured me it had been pulled due to no stock, and that they’d gotten a shipment overnight and to look again that night to see if it was back online. Less than half an hour later the tea was back online. Again another time I noticed that a description of a tea was wrong, and one phone call and fifteen minutes later they had fixed the site.

Each tea has a lovely colour picture on the site, showing a closeup of the dry tea. The only negative I have of the new site is the review process seems to not allow logging in unless you’re placing an order . . . although I prefer Steepster for my reviews anyway so it wasn’t a huge heartache.

Every order is followed upon completion with an email receipt, listing all items ordered. Shipping is almost always next day and rates are on par with what they are charged at the post office. A friend once ordered and was given a small refund on her order due to an over-estimate on shipping costs.

Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted. Currently no options for Discover, Paypal, or other online methods.

This was my first tea store, and is still my favourite independent store. The service remains amazing, as are the quality and the variety. I have yet to find any teas that come close to their Lime Fizz, Milk Oolong, Pear Cream, and Apple Pie Black. If doing a first time order, I recommend all four! Also their Lemon Grove makes the best iced tea EVER!

The Tea Haus - Online in London, ON
5/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

VERY POSITIVE EXPERIENCES
I have ordered from them five or six times now, and will do so again without a thought.

General Information:

The Tea Haus opened in October of 2000, in the Covent Market, downtown London, Ontario, Canada. They started the company as a labour of love, and to help them keep their own tea supplies fresh and plentiful (as any true lover dreams of doing!) They have over 200 varieties now, ranging from the traditional blacks to herbals and blooming, and everything in between. All of their teas are able to be seen in the store if you’re lucky enough to go, and they are more than willing to allow you to smell them at your request. They use German suppliers, and all teas are loose-leaf only, however bags are for sale to create your own, as are infusers etc. In-store cups and pots of tea of any tea on the wall are available for an affordable price. (It was 1.25 a few years ago but I’m not sure now!)

Each cannister of tea (glass for all but the greens and whites, which are kept in tin) is sealed tightly, and is clearly labelled in colour coded stickers which give a quick summary of the tea as well as a list of the ingredients.

There is no rewards program, however those who return their bags in-store are offered a discount for recycling the bags. Online orders always come with a sample, which after more than one order is reflective of your buying history. Subscribers to their tea newsletter are offered promotions between 6-10 times a year. Occasionally they will also donate proceeds from certain teas towards charitable concerns, for example Japan when they suffered their earthquakes.

In addition to the tea itself, the store is an excellent source for quality tea accessories, including but not limited to pots, cups, thermoses, and matcha materials.

Teas are sold online and in person in set amounts, with most teas starting at 50g. (Many whites and greens start at 25g due to their weights or costs.) There is no discount for mass purchasing, however shipping is free for online orders in Canada after 49.00 and to the USA after 75.00.

The costs of their teas is amazing, coming in usually about half the rates of most retailers (eg. David’s Tea, Teavana, Teaopia). Orders are shipped promptly, and are packaged nicely and safely. All teas I’ve ever ordered have been fresh, quality, and identical to their descriptions.

Website:

They revamped their website this year, and it has made a big difference. It is easy to use and simple to figure out. There is an excellent search engine, and the options are identical to stock available, so you won’t order and then have it redacted from your order as many have had happen from Teavana. I once noticed my favourite staple tea from them wasn’t online anymore so I called them, not realizing yet they weren’t open. The owner answered the phone anyway, despite it being really early in the morning, and was amazingly nice and assured me it had been pulled due to no stock, and that they’d gotten a shipment overnight and to look again that night to see if it was back online. Less than half an hour later the tea was back online. Again another time I noticed that a description of a tea was wrong, and one phone call and fifteen minutes later they had fixed the site.

Each tea has a lovely colour picture on the site, showing a closeup of the dry tea. The only negative I have of the new site is the review process seems to not allow logging in unless you’re placing an order . . . although I prefer Steepster for my reviews anyway so it wasn’t a huge heartache.

Every order is followed upon completion with an email receipt, listing all items ordered. Shipping is almost always next day and rates are on par with what they are charged at the post office. A friend once ordered and was given a small refund on her order due to an over-estimate on shipping costs.

Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted. Currently no options for Discover, Paypal, or other online methods.

This was my first tea store, and is still my favourite independent store. The service remains amazing, as are the quality and the variety. I have yet to find any teas that come close to their Lime Fizz, Milk Oolong, Pear Cream, and Apple Pie Black. If doing a first time order, I recommend all four! Also their Lemon Grove makes the best iced tea EVER!

ETA: Just did another order from them, and all the tea arrived safely and beautifully. In two days. TWO. These people are just so awesome I can’t say enough good things about them.

McNulty's Tea & Coffee Company in New York, New York
1/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
1/5
and said Edit

When I went to NYC this time around, I was determined to find the best teas in the city. A city like that should have amazing tea houses, right? I searched online and everyone talked about this place, so off I went, down to SoHo for my first time. SoHo I adored, McNulty’s? Not so much.

There were two Asian gentlemen in the store behind the counter. One was an older gentleman who glared at me the entire time I was in the store, making me feel entirely unwelcome. The other man welcomed me then proceeded to completely ignore me.

Not giving up, I started wandering and looking at all the teas, loving how many they had and occasionally stopping to smell. They do have a great variety, and I finally settled on a couple greens and a couple herbals. One they had on their price listing online but none blended, so when I approached the counter, the younger man volunteered to blend some on the spot for me. From this point on he was attentive and polite, clearly happy that he had a sale. I was buying some coffees as gifts as well, so I was spending a pretty penny. As I left he wished me a good day and invited me back to the store with a smile. The older man just grunted.

Fast forward to me back in Canada, eager to try my new teas. Reader, all of them were disappointments. If they weren’t stale, they were bitter and over powering, even the herbals. I bought one called Very Berry, and I swear it is like drinking pure hibiscus, despite it looking like blueberries. I’m told the coffee was absolutely delightful, but their teas were abysmal, as was their service overall. I’m sure I can find a better coffee store to give as gifts next time, and there is no way in h*#l there isn’t a better tea store for me to find in NYC. Maybe next time I’ll try the one owned by Moby.

DAVIDsTEA - online in Mont Royal, QC
5/5
Edit
Tina S. rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I first placed an order online with David’s because there were flavours online that were not in the store — apparently they were discontinued seasonal teas that my store was too new to have had on their teawall. I live in Ontario which is one of the two more populated provinces on the east side of the country, and where the core of businesses in Canada seem to be. The online ordering process was simple and clear, and I had no technical problems. The tea was shipped the day after the order, and arrived two days after shipping. The box was in mint condition, as were all the teas and tins inside. All labels and invoices were in the box waiting for me to apply to the tins. Very happy with the service, I have since ordered twice more, and both times I again have been extremely happy with the service and the product. Each order always comes with three samples of tea (usually enough for at least two cups), is fresh, and I have nothing but good to say of the customer service of this company, instore or online.

Profile

Bio

An avid tea addict in the GTA, Ontario, Canada. I’m always looking for new teas and new tea addicted friends!

My preference is loose leaf of all varieties, however the occasional bagged tea can come along and charm me. Flavoured or straight, there is a good chance that I will be falling in love.

~

My ratings system is based on the smiley faces above the ratings scale.

0-10 — This tea didn’t get past the initial sip process. I just couldn’t bring myself to drink more, I found it so horrible.

11-50 — It made it past first sips, but as I drank a bit more I realized I really wasn’t enjoying the tea, and would never drink it again.

51-60 — I probably made it through the cup, but won’t be trying another one.

61-69 — Either it’s a mystery tea and I can’t decide if I like it or not, or it is one that I felt was purely adequate.

70-85 — These are the teas that I appreciate and/or like. If they are falling in this area they are ones that I would definitely re-buy, however are not ones that I must always have on hand. The good, but not the amazing.

86-94 — These are the favourites. My cupboard feels empty if they aren’t inside.

95-100 — Tea perfection!

Location

GTA, Ontario, Canada

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