Overall Experience: MIXED
This was my first exposure to Teavana (there are two more stores that I have been to). I made two purchases from them near the beginning of 2011 during their year end sale.
Facts and Observations :
The only tea they sell is loose-leaf. Their focus seems to be on fruity, flavored teas. They do not have a wide variety of unflavored teas, but they do have a reasonable selection in every class of tea (with the exception of yellow), including Mate, Rooibos and other herbal teas.They offer a 10% discount for purchasing a pound or more, 15% for two pounds, and 20% for five or more. They sell many different tea accessories. You must buy at least two ounces of each tea (I personally don’t like this). The very rarely have sales. They offer little to no information on the location and year of harvest of each tea.
They do make charitable contributions. Some of their teas are organic (last I checked, it was only one).
I have found their teas to be very pricy when compared to the prices that other tea retailers offer for similar products (when SpecialTeas was in still business, their teas were comparable, and about half the price. Now Teavana owns them. Go figure). They seem to respect your wish to simply browse in this store (I have been there when it has been busy, and when it hasn’t been busy at all). I have to say that their stores (considering the physical structure and layout only) are very inviting. They clearly put lots of time and thought into the overall layout of each store. I like their ‘tea wall’ and how all of the teas are arranged and displayed in large colored tins. They are willing to pull down any tea for you to look at and smell. All of tea I bought from them looked, smelled, and tasted good.
Hesitantly positive. Most of their staff do not seem very knowledgeable (I interacted with at least four of them). And there was a small issue the first time I purchased with them; but after a few phone calls and then going back to the store, my decision to conduct myself in an assertive and respectful manner seemed to win out in the end, and I got what I wanted. I would be remiss if I did not mention here that they have one staff member who is honestly a joy to interact with (I think his name is Sean, but I am not certain). He is knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and not pushy, at least not by my definition; I think he said he has been working for them for five years. He is probably as close to the perfect salesman as I have ever met. He strongly influenced my time while I was there to be a pleasant and enjoyable experience. An interesting side note: as he was pouring tea into a tin for a customer that seemed to me to be new to Teavana I did overhear him say, in a very pleasant manner, “Feel free to fill up this tin so you can get 10% off!” In my judgement, that’s not pushy, that’s just creative selling! In the end, saying, ‘No,’ is not much of a problem for me, so I have little to no fear of walking into any of their stores and walking out with something I didn’t want to buy.
Would I buy from them again based on my overall impression of interacting with them?:
In my judgement Teavana does do a superb job of consistently producing tea that looks, smells and tastes good. However, in looking closely at the base tea leaves in a few of their teas, the quality of the tea seems mediocre at best: there are lots of stems, not very many buds or bud sets, the color of what is there is a little faded, and there are lots of broken pieces. I haven’t personally found or heard of any exceptional teas they sell either. And when it comes down to it their tea is too expensive for me. I think the quality of tea I get is not commensurate with the price. A large portion of the tea I buy is green tea, and they do not provide harvest seasons/dates for their any of their teas; since I do not know how old the tea is, I am only willing to buy it at a discount. The only reason I bought tea from them was because it was on sale. And given their prices, that is the ONLY way I see purchasing from them in the future.