Teavana (Valley Fair Mall) Edit

4 ratings
1 2 3 4 5
Type Tea Shop
Style Modern
Serves Iced, Loose-leaf
Hours
Mon Fri 10:00 AM 9:30 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM 9:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM 6:00 PM

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4 Reviews

Teavana (Valley Fair Mall) in Santa Clara, California
2/5
Edit
High Adventure rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

Oh, Teavana. I want to like you. I enjoy the many free samples of tea and looking at the cute teaware. I wish their washi paper tea containers were not so expensive — they are super cute and airtight. In the meantime I’ll use my cheap tins from world market.

The teas themselves are good but not so good that I’ve ever gone back for more. Recently I got a gift of some fruit tea from here that had gone totally bad — the fruit had gotten moldy or rotten in the bag and it smelled terrible. Really off-putting!

Teavana (Valley Fair Mall) in Santa Clara, California
2/5
Edit
vancouvergirl rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

I’ve only shopped at Teavana once and let me tell you, it wasn’t a great experience. Since it was my first time shopping at Teavana, I didn’t know how things worked. The shop is rather small and there is typically only one employee at a time working at the register. The lady that attended us at this Teavana was impatient and pushy. When I told her that I was new to tea shopping at Teavana, she explained thing in a hasty way as if we were wasting her time when there was no one in line and the store being empty. I had to ask her to give me 2 ounces of the 2 teas that I was purchasing because she wanted to sell us 1 pound of each one.

On another note, their free samples are decieving. They are free but they are a mix or 2 teas. So if you were to ask to purchase some of the tea up for sample, they pull out TWO of their giant containers. It can be confusing and the purchase is twice as expensive. It’s a very smart thing on their hand, but something that they should tell their possible customers.

The bottom line: The service that I have recieved at this Teavana was poor and the setup of their shop makes it very difficult to see what they have to buy. (Even though all Teavana shops have that layout)

Teavana (Valley Fair Mall) in Santa Clara, California
2/5
Edit
JMKauftheil rated this place
2/5
and said Edit

Well, I currently have a negative opinion of this company, but in the old days I was a BIG fan. This shift in attitude is due both to a my own maturing and refining as a tea drinker (and tea snob, I suppose), and Teavana’s fall from more pure teas into the retail and sole emphasis on flavored… well, crap.
In the beginning, Teavana was really a haven of tea for me. I’ll give them that – they create an atmosphere with their store. Their variety of teaware, and huge tins of tea really turned me on, and made a big impression on me at the time. I’d literally spend hours a week in that store, just absorbing. But alas, we must grow apart.

Even in my earlier, more accepting months of drinking tea, I was never a huge fan of their blends. Finding half an orange slice amongst other large chunks of fruits and whatnot in my tea is just… not especially pleasing. What I did like, was that there were a few good, untainted teas in their selection, as well as, I’ll admit, a rather good rooibos selection. Over time, though, they started eliminating the good stuff and supplementing more dreck.

I also dreamed at one point of tasting their “Monkey Picked Oolong”. When I finally went in and bought it, a year or so after discovering the store…. It just didn’t compare to the really good oolongs I’ve had. I didn’t even finish the two ounces. To the buyer beware: It’s just regular Ti Kwan Yin (what they call Iron Buddha), mixed with a bit of higher grade stuff. And even their regular Iron Buddha is overpriced. Buy your TKY elsewhere in the mall or Santana Row.

I’d definitely suggest not buying any real tea their, unless you know they just got a shipment in. This is because of the way they store and sell their tea. While the large tins may seem kind of cool, every time they open that tin to waft the smell over to someone, or scoop out a couple of ounces, the tea is being exposed to light and air, thus decreasing the value. You’re better off at Lupicia, Puripan, or even Peet’s, where the tea is prepackaged and airtight. I would think that herbals should be fine, as well as their rooibos, which, again, I have a good opinion on.

As for customer service… as Suzi mentioned, it depends on who you’re working with. Some people will try to pressure you into buying what you really don’t need, and some people are more laid back. I’ve seen quite a few employees come and go, and even regreted as a few passed. Especially the guy that made me free drinks all the time.
If you plan on going to this shop frequently, I’d suggest right of the bat expressing a superior knowledge of tea – that should deflect them a bit from trying to con you too much. Also, it’s very good to develop a sort of buyer-merchant relationship with specific employees, so you can get a bit more bang for your buck – an extra fraction of an ounce here, a free cup there. It’s also good to keep in mind that they’re working on commission – and they make money on the tea and merchandise, but not making drinks. You can use this to your advantage, especially with people more comfortable in their positions, by striking a deal. “I’ll buy this tea [which I was planning on buying anyway] if you hook me up with a free drink.”

I’d say, it’s worth checking out. If you’re still feeling your way around the tea world, it’s a great doorway, and if you’re more experienced…. well, there’s free samples at the door! It’s a nice place to be in, and sometimes they hire cute girls. Overall, though, not a truly great tea experience.

Teavana (Valley Fair Mall) in Santa Clara, California
3/5
Edit
Suzi rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

Teavana’s teas are pretty expensive, and you can find very similar (if not the same) teas on-line for much cheaper. I have only bought loose tea from them once or twice.
Their teaware is much the same. They have a wonderful selection, but it’s expensive. None of it is unique to the store; I have found most of their yixing teapots on other websites, again cheaper. But for simple exposure, and to see what everything looks like “in real life,” Teavana is a great store to visit and browse.

The experience at Valley Fair really depends on which staff members are working. Some of them are really pushy for sales; others are quite laid back. Several members of the staff are quite chatty and fun to talk to, but the store’s usually too busy on weekends. All of the tea is behind the counter in large bins, so it’s impossible to just browse the tea on your own. It must be done with a sales associate, which has benefits (they can tell you why that tea is so great and suggest other teas that are similar) and negatives (you can’t browse on your own, so if you’re feeling anti-social it can be difficult, and you have to suffer through the upsell process.) Personally, I feel like I know enough about tea that I would prefer the ability to just pick teas on my own.

When at Teavana, I usually purchase tea drinks. I work in the mall, and don’t have a chance to brew tea at my store so this is the best way for me to get tea. The staff do a great job of steeping the tea just the right amount of time, removing the leaves before tea gets bitter. Unfortunately, since there are rarely more than one or two staff at any given time you usually have to wait for the staff to finish with any other customers looking at tea, so wait times are too long much of the time to justify getting a drink. In fact, during the holiday season the drink service isn’t even offered, which stinks if you’re a thirsty mall employee craving some oolong.

When I first started working at the mall, I was intimidated by the staff at Teavana and avoided the store. It wasn’t until one of my friends started working at Teavana that I started to get to know the staff and feel comfortable going in. Unfortunately, Valley Fair’s Teavana goes through a lot of employee turnover, and once again I’m not as comfortable with the current team.
There are so many other places to get drinks in the mall, and there are less pricey loose tea alternatives, so it is hard to justify a trip to Teavana anymore.

(I originally posted this on Yelp in March of 2008.)