JubJubs said

Torn About Trying Out Teavana

In being a kind of newbie to tea I am still in a phase where I am trying out different vendors to see what they have to offer and what they are best at providing.

So that brings me to Teavana. Now I know that most people here know about Teavana, and from what I hear they are pretty good at blends. And it has peeked my interest a bit. However, I have also heard pretty lousy things about the company. I have read articles from the perspective of customers and their experiences in the store, I have read read ex-employee accounts, and how they are actually trained to over pour tea when measuring it, and I have noticed a disturbing half truth or just blatant lying trend on their site, and apparently it is included in the sales scripts when talking to the customer.

Even looking on tumblr there are some employees that just tow the Teavana line it is almost like a cult. All of their blog posts use the same key phrases, and believe them without anything else to back up the statements. Like “I love this place. I love (and believe in) the products. I love the promotion of health and well-being. I love the relative inexpensiveness of the top 5% of tea in the world.” How some people react to Teavana kind of creeps me out to be honest.

Also it seems like the company takes advantage of people who know nothing about tea, to make them think that they are lucky to get pay that outrageous price at the register for a pound of tea and accessorizes before they are really informed and know what they want.

Anyway enough ranting, I guess, but tea is still just tea. The tea should be judged separately from the retailers, right? But then why am I hesitating to even try some of their tea?

Teavana tries to play off of a whole Eastern spiritual vibe of health, peace and well-being, but ironically, they end up putting out bad karma. I just get the sense that if they treat their customers so poorly, create such a high pressure sales environment for their employees, do I even want to find out about the working conditions of the people who actually pick the tea? Even if I am not interacting with any of the sales staff do I really want to give this company my business even if they have good tea?

I try to keep an open mind, but my slightly morbid fascination with Teavana its kind of harshing on my tea buzz at times. Does anyone else feel this conflict?

Sorry if this was TL;DR

33 Replies
kOmpir said

With me it’s the other way. I like their (online) service and don’t fancy their tea.
When it comes to service, my order got lost in February and they offered a replacement which came in April. They sent me a similar tea (Raspberry Riot Mate) since I ordered some tea that was at clearance sale.

Their teas look beautiful, I give them an A+ for visuals, but the tea was horrible. I’m not big fan of hibiscus but that wasn’t that much of an issue as much as they flavoring that has a strong artificial impression.
Besides that I got some Mao Feng which is pretty nice and I don’t have any complaints about it (besides, I got it on 70% off sale).

Three days ago that lost shipment somehow came to my door. Again, Mao Feng is nice but that Raspberry Soiree that I’ve originally ordered is horrible as its replaced counterpart.

My usual flavored tea is less intense but doesn’t give off any artificial notes. I think they’re blended in Germany. When I clean my teapot with flavored tea leaves in it, a quick rinse is enough. With Teavana’s flavored teas I have to use dishwasher soap and scrub it good in order to get to remove those strong scents. Is this how most of Americans love their flavored teas? What about other blend-based vendors?

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Missy said

I’m not torn about them, but I’ve tried several of their teas. I’ve found other vendors who are at least as good at blending, if not better, (this is really just my taste perspective though). I stay away because I dislike the hassle of dealing with their selling tactics.

My advice is go try them. You may have a really good experience. You might fall head over heels for one of their blends. You won’t know until you try. You can make a truly informed decision, once you’ve experienced Teavana, and give up your tugowar.

Andie select said

Which vendors do you recommend for tea blends? I haven’t really found any that I like.

Missy said

I am by no means finished with my tea journey here, there are many who can recommend with more experience than I. In general I find that different vendors do specific things really well. If you give me an idea of what you are looking for I may be able to make a better recommendation.

Fusion Tea Room is FANTASTIC for blends, and they have a sample thing – check them out. I highly recommend their Turkish Apple Vanilla.

Andie select said

Thanks, Michelle! I’ll check it out..

Missy- I don’t really know what I’m looking for. Just blends that have a unique flavor, but the taste of tea is still present. I gave up on Teavana because their blends usually didn’t taste like tea.. (especially because a lot of the time there are more add ins than actual tea leaves)

Missy said

There are several vendors I’m happy with right now. SerendipiTea, MarketSpice, Teavivre, English Tea Store, 52teas and Upton. I plan on trying out several more like Culinary Teas, Simpson and Vail, Verdant, JKteas, Persimmon Tree and Shang Teas. I have also tried Tropical Tea Company but their teas are hit and miss. However, you can get some for $1 per ounce so it’s a less expensive way to find out which teas you may like from them.

Kittenna said

If you’re looking for tea blends that taste like tea, I highly recommend Butiki Teas. The flavouring is superb :)

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SimplyJenW said

I have tried a few things from there by ordering online when they had a shipping deal. As of now, I am not impressed, though. I feel their prices are very inflated for what you are getting, so the frugal person in me can’t justify it. Then there is the whole corporate culture…. I have found fabulous tea elsewhere at a much better price, which essentially means more tea. I do have a few samples from other Steepsterites that I got in swaps, and am not totally opposed to ordering if I get a shipping deal and if I find something noteworthy. Also, I do think they have fairly nice teaware, and it is nice that you can look at it before buying.

All of that being said, I am not sorry that I tried what I did. I always would have wondered. My advice is go small and see how you feel about it. Go in knowing you will be buying the minimum (2 oz.) of the teas you are trying. And I would look on the website to see what interests you before stepping foot in the store. I have not set foot in the stores because I hate a strong sales pitch. It makes me want to leave the store immediately. I hate that kind of shopping.

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teawade said

I’ve been to the Teavana near my house and the service wasn’t as awful here. They were a bit aggressive but I guess that’s what they’re told to do and they have a quota to meet. As for their teas, I agree with Missy. At first, I thought they tasted great, but then I tried different tea companies and found that they do blend the teas better and I also found that they offer their teas at a lower price. I too have heard about their employees being directed to over pour their tea. I think different Teavana stores provide different experiences but in general, I prefer other tea companies. I think they offer better tea at a better price. Just my opinion though.

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Ninavampi said

Go for it. I believe that it worth trying any tea that interests you. There are a few Teavana teas that I enjoy but other people didn’t like at all, others I didn’t like but others love. It isnt my favorite tea place, but I am glad that I have tried them and formed my own opinion of them. : )

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MegWesley said

I would go for it. I haven’t bought any Teavana for myself, but I have tried others. If it wasn’t for one friend, I wouldn’t have tried a mate and white tea chai blend. (I’m not that big on white tea.) I ended up loving it and when I have the funds, I’m going to get enough of both teas to re-blend it myself. It might not be your favorite, but it might introduce you to some teas that you never thought you would like. And if it turns out that you really don’t like something about them, then you don’t have to get any of their tea again.

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Dinosara said

Yeah, I’m in the try it out camp. I’m not a fan of supporting a company with sales practices like that, but I have gotten a number of samples of their teas in swaps and I did find one that I do really love. You never know. Actually there is a Teavana opening up in my local mall and I want to go just for the experience, apparently because I am a masochist.

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momo said

Try it out, definitely. I’ve had few bad experiences in stores, but I also live where they are headquartered so maybe they are on their best behavior or something.
The best way to discover if you like something is just to try it. The blends can be pretty hit or miss depending on if you like sweet flavors, or the tartness of hibiscus, but there are some good ones in the bunch. I would probably never buy straight teas from them because the prices are just outrageous compared to what you can find online.

And of course if you don’t like it, you can easily swap with someone here for something new to you.

Oh, definitely, stores near home office can be dreadful. I work at a different retail chain, in two different locations – one store that’s first tier, and another that’s WAY down the list, and theres definitely a correlation between what we’re expected to sell at the tier 1 store than at the other.

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I’ve found that pretty much anything Teavana blends can be found elsewhere with better price and quality. It won’t be the exact same blend, but maybe it’s worth it to look elsewhere just because of their business practices. But I haven’t had a good history with Teavana so perhaps I’m a bit biased. They have their eyes on the profits rather than the tea or the customer service. This explains their financial success, but it also explains why so many people here don’t like them.

Anyway, in the end, it’s up to you. Try a few blends and compare them with similar stuff from other vendors and make your own decision. :)

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JubJubs said

Thanks to everyone who replied, I will probably look at some of their stuff and put it in the online cart and just wait to see if they have a no shipping promotion or something. I am still kind of peeved at the idea that I have to buy two ounces if i just want to try it. I have always been a big sample person. Buy a lot of samples or at the most I buy one ounce, then I know what I want to buy in larger quantities the next time.

Who knows maybe trying some Teavana teas will help me discover some other blenders who knock Teavana’s version out the park, or I might even try my hand at blending if the ingredients are simple enough, and if my local herb whole seller has some of the ingredients in stock.

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