Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teavana - The High Price of Being a Snobby Tea Drinker

I recently developed a terrible new obsession. No, not to shoes, drugs, or even to that pasty guy in that vampire movie with the diamond skin, but to high-end teas. I've always loved tea but this is an entirely different story.

It all started innocently enough. I was walking around the mall one day and as I walked pass this one store, the air around me was suddenly scented with the aroma of sweet exotic fruit. I looked up at the store name...Teavana. Sounds like Nirvana. Sure I want some of that. I was intrigued! So I walked in and got the second worse case of sticker shock in my life, only second to this other time.

As you enter the store, there are shelves against the wall on both sides of the space. The shelves are filled with delicate tea sets, tumblers, high tech tea making devices, thermos, mugs and teas pots for making different teas. There are heavy duty flat pots for brewing Japaneses teas and regular individual circular shaped pots for other teas. I don't yet know all the aspects of teas and pots so I cannot go into more detail. What you probably won't find in here are teas in bags. Probably a sin around these parts. What you will find at the back of the store behind the counter/register area are large aluminum tins filled with exotic teas stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling with the names of the teas display on a white label on the front. Inside these tins are endless scents and flavors of teas from all around the world. Some you probably have never heard of or probably didn't know existed.

It was here that my tea obsession started. First, they tempt you with small sample cups of their best sellers. Either iced Youthberry or some aromatic Oolong. These teas smell and taste like nothing a teabag can ever be. Then, they invite you inside where they invite you to smell the teas but really once you've tasted the tea, it's pretty hard to just walk away. I managed to walk away a few times before I finally purchased my first tin of one of their best sellers, Youthberry. A fruity white tea blend of acai berries, white tea leaves, mixed with an orange flavored component. My sister describes it as a "warm hug" and it truly is a little piece of heaven in a cup.

This is how it all began...

There are dried apple and orange pieces in there. 

This is the color of the tea that the Youthberry blend produces. There is a timer in this photo because it is really important not to under or over brew your tea else you will end up with bland or bitter tea.

They also sell this German rock sugar there which they tell me is only 25 calories for a teaspoon.

But frankly I prefer to take my tea sweetened with a bit of this stuff.... 

And for Christmas, one of sisters got me this Trudeau tumbler which makes brewing and sipping loose leaf teas on the go a breeze!

Then because I'm such a smooth operator in the kitchen and broke a glass mug in the microwave heating up water and kept burning myself with boiling water, my sweetie got me this Hamilton Beach 10-cup electric kettle. It can boil a lot of water pretty quickly. I still managed to splash hot water on myself with this thing. When you press that button on the top of the handle, it kind of just pops the lid open and the condensation on the lid will get you if you are not careful. Don't be like me.

In conclusion, I'm officially obsessed!


Nobel4Lit said...

Well, this is a post that takes your blog back to its "tea" roots...

Jean said...

Madison, I'm always happy to discover someone learning more about tea. I'm tea-obsessed!

Niki said...

Hey - I just want to Teavana myself, but I was really sicked by their used-car salesmen tactics. Your tin there is full to the brim, and the tins are $7 by themselves with no tea in them - I can only imagine what you spent.

Their tea is good. Their ethics are not. I know tea - I'm Sri Lankan - and they basically lie to people about their tins/pots and even teas. Oh well. I wonder what you experience was - how did they sell to you? Their pitch about their specific tins being NECESSARY to keep the tea fresh is not true, any old coffee tin would do.

Madison said...

Niki: yes you are right, they are very car salesmen like now that you mentioned it. I don't buy from them as often now.

♪Samantha♫ said...

I happen to work at a Teavana myself, and I never force useless things upon people if I can help it.

You don't want to keep your tea fresh/keep the "warm hug" flavor, be my guest.