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.