Teavana: (Skip to “The Tea” if you’re familiar with Teavana, or just don’t care to read about my first time at the vendor.) So it didn’t really take me long to crack on the Teavana front. It’s just so convenient to work in a mall with a tea store, and I drop by multiple times a week – often just to look around and enjoy being in a place that’s all about tea. I couldn’t really give that up.
Our new Teavana opened on Thursday, but I wasn’t working until today. I got a peek at the finished renovation-and-stock Wednesday night through the metal gate, but that’s about it. So I had to stop by today to say hi and check it out. The manager grabbed me and asked if she could give me, “the tour,” and I obliged…because I like her and was genuinely curious about what was going on with the store. Apparently Calgary is the first to get finished Teavanas? Some quick observations:
-Staff have to wear stupid colorful aprons like my store does (although being a guy, I generally get let off the hook with anything but the more basic colors). These were truly garish yellow aprons with rainbow text on them that said something about iced tea. My condolences to the staff.
-There were two sample stations of two: one at the door, one at the counter. I was sweetly warned by the manager that they are sweetened, but I obviously don’t care! She also pointed out that all their samples are blends of two teas. The taste of them all? Like juice. Good, but pretty much exactly like fruit juice. I see no need whatsoever to try to replicate them by buying all the teas in the blends.
-Expensive gift sets and cast iron is indeed closer to the entrance than lower priced stuff. Also, there is no price tag on practically ANYTHING, including the cast iron. I’m not sure if that is just because they haven’t gotten to it yet, or what – there is a paper tag tied to everything, but except for some little cute saying, the tag was blank. Stupidly, I kept checking them anyway and getting annoyed when they were blank.
-A lot of the product really does look good. I’m horribly tempted by the pretty glass stove-top kettle. Unfortunately, my family just bought an electric kettle that will probably last us years and years, and we don’t have room for a stove-top. I’m now going to hope the kettle breaks…
-Commission is so obvious that all the employees have little green plastic cards that they put stickers on for each tea they sell. No joke. I have no idea what else that could be for except commission. It makes me sad because I think now that it will be harder to say hi to people when they are so focused on getting their own sales and won’t casually switch off with each other anymore.
I sniffed a bunch of tins, and they indeed all smelled delicious. I was specifically looking for a blueberry white (always looking for one), and a peach white I’d heard they have. I left with both of those and a pineapple herbal because it smelled a bit like DAVIDs’ Tropicalia. The total was a little pricier than I’d expected, but I dismissed that thought because two of them were whites and I figured my mental estimate (without knowing the prices) had just been too low.
Which leads me to my beef. (And if you’ve read rants about Teavana before, I’m sure you know what’s coming…) When I got home and checked my receipt, I found it really hard to read (what the hell is a quantity of 1.91? 1.91 what?), so I got out a calculator and the little Teavana booklet, compared prices and did the math. And it would appear that ALL THREE TEAS were over-poured. ALL THREE, Y’ALL.
-My Precious White Peach was over-poured by 5 grams.
-My Imperial Acai Blueberry was over-poured by 8 grams(!).
-My Pineapple Kona Pop was over-poured by 10 freaking grams! I asked for 50 and got 60. At least that’s the cheapest one, but…
The total price difference works out to $4.31 before taxes, basically the cost of another tea!
THIS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME AT TEAOPIA. Never. There were over-pours, yes, especially towards the end when they were getting rid of stock, but I was NEVER not warned about it.
The Tea: So after that, is the tea any good?
…Eh. Drinkable. It’s nowhere near as good as Tropicalia, I’m afraid, although the smell is divinely pineapple with something almost spicy underneath.
The taste is just disappointing. I brewed it hot and flash-chilled it, and was very far from blown away at the first hopeful sip. It certainly tastes like pineapple, but the taste is not strong. It actually reminds me a bit of DAVIDs’ Bamboozled (which I have yet to review), so if Teavana is closer to you than a DT this might make a reasonable desperate substitute for Bamboozled. Otherwise, I’d go with Bamboozled itself, as it is by far the superior of the two.
I just wouldn’t get, you know, fifty SIXTY grams of this again. The supposedly dominant flavour is not really strong. If it turns out to be much better cold-brewed, I will raise the rating. Otherwise, I’d say skip this one.