Friday, December 13, 2013

Teavana

Why am I posting this?

When I was more into tea tasting, I had an insane amount of tea in any variety. I even had enough that I bought a large filing cabinet at a garage sale to devote to tea storage. Since then, I stopped buying new tea, finished up old tea, and threw away stale old tea in order to get rid of the tea cabinet. Now that I'm getting back into tea, that means whatever tea I have now is tea I've recently purchased. So, I only have white tea and having a taste for green tea, I decided it might be worth tagging along with a friend to the mall to get some tea from Teavana.

I felt conflicted and a little worried going to Teavana just to get tea to hold me off a little while. I've heard the stories about Teavana employees being trained to "educate" customers about their products in a less-than-truthful manner. I didn't want to walk out with a tetsubin and more Silver Needle which I can burn to death in the cast iron.

Thankfully, they didn't push me in that direction. I heard them pushing my friend around a bit with matcha, but somehow I was spared. I got the impression that they thought I was new to tea, and tried pushing their brand of sugar and how tea is so cheap compared to coffee. Yet I've been drinking tea long enough that I never knew what it was like to get takeout coffee everyday. Oh well, I don't have anything to prove. All that matters is that I walked out only buying what I wanted to buy. I bought 2 ounces each of Clouds and Mist green tea and White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos (gift for my girlfriend). They tried to push tins and larger sizes so that I could join what I consider the Teavana club (cult?) to save money the next time I refill the tins.

I wouldn't have posted this if there wasn't a positive. The teas are actually surprisingly good. I didn't expect much because I bought a green tea that was stored in a huge tin which they actually open and fan the lid over the tea so that customers can smell the tea. The green tea smelled stale, yet I bought it anyway.

The leaves look a little like gunpowder, which is a little worrying. It was around 14 dollars for 2 oz; did I just buy overpriced stale gunpowder? The minute the water hit the leaves I was proven wrong. It released a strong, sweet, buttery aroma. Maybe the gunpowder style leaf was a business decision so that it would stay somewhat fresh. As for the flavor, anyone that has tried Clouds and Mist style tea knows that it's not a terribly exciting and complex tea, just something soft and sweet. The softness makes it a very comforting tea, as well as a good everyday tea. This tea is no different. It's very soft, with a decent sweetness that actually lingers on after finishing the tea.

Overall, it's good enough that I would buy more of it, but only if it was priced more reasonably. 2 oz was about $14, which makes 4 oz just under $30. I would compare this tea to Rishi Jade Cloud (same style) which is more than half the price, organic, and fair trade. I'll gladly finish what I bought, but I can't justify buying the same tea at twice the price again. Though on the bright side, I learned that once you get past the employees and the price, they actually have good tea. Just be careful walking into one of those stores.

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Since going to Teavana, I at least got my order from Rishi, which is just Jade Cloud and Golden Yunnan. Jade Cloud was my staple tea that I would buy occasionally when I had a taste for green tea, so I shall post about that soon.