My experience at Teavana.

For general/other topics related to tea.


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Apr 6th, '16, 23:56
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » Apr 6th, '16, 23:56

Bumping this old thread to report on Teavana a bit. I still work there, though I recently moved from Stock/Barrista to team member. This was initially a little daunting because I am unbelievably uncomfortable with the pushy sales tactics Teavana is infamous for...

So you'll be glad to know that we have dropped this completely. I mean... we're supposed to have dropped it completely. I can't speak for any stores other than the one I work at, but... now, we have to do what Teavana always should have done from the beginning:

"Oh hello. What brings you in? Oh, just looking? Well, my name is [name]. If you have any questions, just ask." And leave them alone until they come to you.

And also, we are no longer allowed to upsell and we've been commanded to provide customers with the exact amounts of tea they ask for and no more, or be written up. Which is cool. I'm much more comfortable with this method and apparently I'm really good at it because a lot of customers ask for me, which is nice. :mrgreen:

And, we have to take "no" for an answer, period. Plus, if a customer has a specific budget, we are not allowed to go over it, and if they have one thing in mind and want nothing else, we have to accept that and sell them no more than what they want.

And if they are interested in engaging, we have to ask open-ended questions to find out exactly what it is they're looking for, and help them find it... if they want us to. And if we want to show them anything, we have to ask for permission, and if they say "no", we have to accept that as the answer and let it go.

I guess the number of complaints about the old, horrible, pushy, "don't take no for an answer" sales tactics piled up too high for Starbucks, and they finally made the changes they should have made back when they purchased Teavana.

On the downside, we're still sampling, and we're still telling customers there's less sugar in the sweetened samples than there really is (only the chai blend is "lightly sweetened"... the rest are much more than "lightly" sweetened).

But... you know... baby steps...
Last edited by NateHevens on Apr 7th, '16, 00:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Apr 7th, '16, 00:41
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by debunix » Apr 7th, '16, 00:41

Good to know some change is coming, however slowly, because that may permit more people to explore long enough to get hooked on tea.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by daidokorocha » Apr 16th, '16, 01:24

Interesting developments... I still remember my first experience with Teavana. I was visiting Toronto and I was walking through the underground when I caught a really strong sweet smell. I came around the corner and saw Teavana. "Hey, TEA!", I thought as I rushed over before I could connect that the sweet smell was Teavana. I was handed one of their samples and my face was like this emoticon's :shock: Sweet, sweet, sickly sweet. No thank you... Here in Philadelphia I believe we have this new chain Capital Tea that has chased some other tea stores around here out of business... but they aren't that bad. Although, I recently noticed they seem to be doing the whole sample thing like Teavana outside of the store. I can only imagine from the flavors they choose to highlight that they are sweet, sweet, sickly sweet as well. However, they remind me more of a David's Tea, from whom I bought a Korean tea which was decent. I also had a cup of dong ding oolong there as well which was not bad at all. I went to Capital Teas once with some friends and had a cup or two of some teas and they weren't necessarily bad either. However, I have never tried any of the teas outside of that sample from Teavana. I never even stepped foot in the store. Anytime I see a Teavana I immediately run away. I suppose the moral of the story is that I'm not interested in big tea stores, but I'm not completely averse to all the tea they sell. However, Teavana completely scared me off due to such a strong first impression. If I had skipped the samples and tried a cup of something of decent quality, I surely would not want to gag everytime I see the word Teav... well, on second thought, I'll spare myself the further nausea.

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Apr 29th, '16, 10:06
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by chingwa » Apr 29th, '16, 10:06

You can't really blame them for pushing the sweet varieties of tea, or ramping up the sugar. These types of stores are catering to the masses, after all, who's taste profile leans more to the sweet stuff. As much as I would love to see a "true" tea shop, I have a hard time believing they would stay in business unless they were within a Chinese/Japanese/Korean community.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » May 17th, '16, 00:06

daidokorocha wrote:Interesting developments... I still remember my first experience with Teavana. I was visiting Toronto and I was walking through the underground when I caught a really strong sweet smell. I came around the corner and saw Teavana. "Hey, TEA!", I thought as I rushed over before I could connect that the sweet smell was Teavana. I was handed one of their samples and my face was like this emoticon's :shock: Sweet, sweet, sickly sweet. No thank you... Here in Philadelphia I believe we have this new chain Capital Tea that has chased some other tea stores around here out of business... but they aren't that bad. Although, I recently noticed they seem to be doing the whole sample thing like Teavana outside of the store. I can only imagine from the flavors they choose to highlight that they are sweet, sweet, sickly sweet as well. However, they remind me more of a David's Tea, from whom I bought a Korean tea which was decent. I also had a cup of dong ding oolong there as well which was not bad at all. I went to Capital Teas once with some friends and had a cup or two of some teas and they weren't necessarily bad either. However, I have never tried any of the teas outside of that sample from Teavana. I never even stepped foot in the store. Anytime I see a Teavana I immediately run away. I suppose the moral of the story is that I'm not interested in big tea stores, but I'm not completely averse to all the tea they sell. However, Teavana completely scared me off due to such a strong first impression. If I had skipped the samples and tried a cup of something of decent quality, I surely would not want to gag everytime I see the word Teav... well, on second thought, I'll spare myself the further nausea.
I have to be honest... I'm not against sweet teas. I do like me some flavored teas and tisanes, but they have to be sweetened. I pretty much shun sweet when it's a pure tea, of course (you don't put sugar in pure teas, period). But some tisanes and even flavored tea blends are quite delicious and refreshing every once in a while, especially in the summer when I can get away with iced tea but I'm not in the mood for a cold-brewed green or white (I currently have some cold-brewed Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls [not Teavana's, though] that is delicious, but as wonderful as that is, it only hits the spot when I'm craving it; to be fair, I crave it rather often, but still :D).

And Teavana does know how to do tisanes and flavored tea blends. Every year around Christmas time, they have this rooibos blend called White Chocolate Peppermint that is, I have to say, an addiction. I have four pounds of it at home and am looking to get more. I'll brew it in coffee for a seriously delicious WCP latte, or I'll brew it iced and mix in a little low-grade/culinary matcha for a very tasty energy boost.

I'm also a fan of their Cococaramel Sea Salt. And throughout the winter they have this blend called Winterberry, which is made with Strawberry Lemonade (an herbal tisane) and Strawberry Grapefruit Xue Long (a flavored green tea blend) that is ridiculously good.

Plus, away from Teavana, I'm a sucker for the classic Southern-Style Sweet Iced Tea, but I did grow up in Georgia, USA, so I have that southern in me. However, I make it with loose English Breakfast, now, instead of Luzziane or Lipton bags, because I just don't like bagged tea anymore, and English Breakfast is low-quality and cheap enough that I don't feel bad boiling it.

I wonder if it'd be possible to do something similar with Gunpowder... I wouldn't be able to boil it, that's for sure...

Hmm...
chingwa wrote:You can't really blame them for pushing the sweet varieties of tea, or ramping up the sugar. These types of stores are catering to the masses, after all, who's taste profile leans more to the sweet stuff. As much as I would love to see a "true" tea shop, I have a hard time believing they would stay in business unless they were within a Chinese/Japanese/Korean community.
You need to come out to a little place in New York City called "Tea Drunk". It's strictly pure Chinese teas, ranging from white to pu-erhs, and is an amazing little spot I love to go to whenever I can get to the city. All pure, no sugar... it is so dang good. Very very very small (almost claustrophobic) place that's easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for, but yeah... it's wonderful.

May 17th, '16, 00:40
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by daidokorocha » May 17th, '16, 00:40

Nate, nothing really against flavored teas and herbals. I don't really drink much flavored tea and herbal relative to pure tea, but I certainly have many kicking around. In fact, I just ordered a few different jasmine teas the other day, along with pure rose buds, jasmine buds, and lavender. I very much like floral thing. For instance, I adore rose soda and rose ice cream. When I lived in Japan I always went to Laduree and got rose flavored frozen yogurt or ice cream and had their iced laduree teas. Those teas are flavored of course, and I find them quite lovely since they come off so intensely perfumed. I have two laduree teas in my cabinet now because I missed them so much and had to order. I was happy one just opened up in New York so that I could. There was also a cold earl grey by Fauchon they sold at one of the convenience stores in Japan. That was very excellent and I had if often. I also like some holiday themed ones, like pumpkin tea in the Fall. I find it to be tasty. I also almost bought a winter white tea from a Fauchon store in Japan (They don't have them in America!!! Travesty. I am filled with regret) that smelled very lovely and I thought I could share with others. That being said, I never put sugar in any of these things, as I find it ruins the flavor. I generally like things to have a bit of earthy flavor, and I find that sugar takes away from it... it is like how lemonade is one of my favorite drinks but I find most lemonade disgusting since it is typically oversweetened for no reason. As you can imagine, sweet tea repulses me. I just hate what sugar does to the tea taste profile. They sell these imported Taiwanese cold tea drinks here and they always have sugar in them.. I make sure to pick up the "Japanese style" versions. :mrgreen: Although they don't have much sugar in them, so they can be okay, but I'd prefer without. A lot of my herbals are things like kuding and other bitter herbs that I tend to enjoy. One of them though is amacha (sweet tea in Japanese), which is very sweet as the name implies. If you haven't tried it, I wonder what you would think of it. It is Hydrangea leaf for reference.

AS FOR GUNPOWDER. This reminds me that there is one tea that I sometimes may add some sugar to and that is Moroccan mint tea. I haven't made it in years so I don't remember exactly how I made it, but I remember it involved a big pan on the stove. boiling water, something like 15 minutes of steeping, and then putting sugar in and boiling it for a little. Mint is one of my favorite flavors in the world so...

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » May 17th, '16, 00:52

Oh I totally get you, daidokorocha. I've always had a major sweet tooth, plus I've never been able to handle bitter (I cannot stand any beer at all for this reason; it also hinders the fact that I abhor milk chocolate, but love chocolate in general, so I'm always looking for a very sweet dark chocolate :D)... of course, that means one of the things I keep in mind when brewing any tea, hot or cold, is minimizing or completely eliminating the astringency. Gyokuro has been the hardest with this in my experience, but I love the umami flavor and broth-like mouthfeel of a good Gyokuro enough that it's worth the experimentation to get it where I like it.

I think growing up in the Southeast US really developed my sweet tooth because, down there, everything is either sweet, salty, or spicy. Outside of beer, you didn't find much in the way of bitter. So... yeah...

I will say... certain kinds of raw/unprocessed sugars actually bring out flavors rather than mask them, but, as always, taste is ultimately subjective. Hell... taste is actually quite complicated, and involves a lot of things like perceptions, atmosphere, expectations, brain chemicals, and so on...

May 17th, '16, 01:48
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by daidokorocha » May 17th, '16, 01:48

NateHevens wrote:Oh I totally get you, daidokorocha. I've always had a major sweet tooth, plus I've never been able to handle bitter (I cannot stand any beer at all for this reason; it also hinders the fact that I abhor milk chocolate, but love chocolate in general, so I'm always looking for a very sweet dark chocolate :D)... of course, that means one of the things I keep in mind when brewing any tea, hot or cold, is minimizing or completely eliminating the astringency. Gyokuro has been the hardest with this in my experience, but I love the umami flavor and broth-like mouthfeel of a good Gyokuro enough that it's worth the experimentation to get it where I like it.

I think growing up in the Southeast US really developed my sweet tooth because, down there, everything is either sweet, salty, or spicy. Outside of beer, you didn't find much in the way of bitter. So... yeah...

I will say... certain kinds of raw/unprocessed sugars actually bring out flavors rather than mask them, but, as always, taste is ultimately subjective. Hell... taste is actually quite complicated, and involves a lot of things like perceptions, atmosphere, expectations, brain chemicals, and so on...
Yes, I do think that is true. All sugar is not the same! Just like the variations on salt that make a world of difference in cooking, sugar certainly has an important place.I have had some sugars lately that I thought were pretty fantastic! Sometimes I catch myself eating some by itself. I am by no means sugar-averse and I have quite the sweet tooth myself. Especially for anything matcha flavored or coated in the stuff. Generally I find all chocolate in the US to not be bitter enough (most chocolate sold in the US as Dark is hardly that imo), but I do love a very good milk chocolate regardless. I also personally love beer and I enjoy drinking bitters straight as well. The market will never fully cater to my taste and I am okay with that.

It is always interesting talking tea just because of how people can love so many different things about teas. For instance, I love Japanese teas the most possibly because of the astringency and bitter notes. I purposefully brew it as such. Judging from how some people on the forum brew their Japanese greens, I imagine that sometimes my brew would be a bit too intense for a lot of them. That is the great thing about tea though, is it is so easy to have control over the brewing to adjust it to your liking.

I periodically take milk in my tea. :shock: I also enjoy blending Japanese greens with various alcohols. I am certainly not the figure for tea purity.

Although I must say I am shocked that you didn't run into bitter greens and things such as that growing up in the south.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » May 18th, '16, 01:02

daidokorocha wrote:Yes, I do think that is true. All sugar is not the same! Just like the variations on salt that make a world of difference in cooking, sugar certainly has an important place.I have had some sugars lately that I thought were pretty fantastic! Sometimes I catch myself eating some by itself. I am by no means sugar-averse and I have quite the sweet tooth myself. Especially for anything matcha flavored or coated in the stuff. Generally I find all chocolate in the US to not be bitter enough (most chocolate sold in the US as Dark is hardly that imo), but I do love a very good milk chocolate regardless. I also personally love beer and I enjoy drinking bitters straight as well. The market will never fully cater to my taste and I am okay with that.
I have had some decent chocolates that were a little more towards the bitter side, but even there, they had a sweetness that balanced it enough to be worth it.

I sometimes think I'm in the minority with my aversion to bitter, though. Which may be. It's just not what I like... :mrgreen:
It is always interesting talking tea just because of how people can love so many different things about teas. For instance, I love Japanese teas the most possibly because of the astringency and bitter notes. I purposefully brew it as such. Judging from how some people on the forum brew their Japanese greens, I imagine that sometimes my brew would be a bit too intense for a lot of them. That is the great thing about tea though, is it is so easy to have control over the brewing to adjust it to your liking.
Exactly! One of the best things about tea is how customizable it is. That's part of why I love it so much... the experimentation.
I periodically take milk in my tea. :shock: I also enjoy blending Japanese greens with various alcohols. I am certainly not the figure for tea purity.
I have done both of those things... :mrgreen:
Although I must say I am shocked that you didn't run into bitter greens and things such as that growing up in the south.
I think the US south doesn't really know tea outside of the low-quality bagged teas. And I'm not entirely sure you can count Lipton "green" tea as actual green tea...

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by daidokorocha » May 18th, '16, 13:21

I meant vegetables :lol: I don't know that I have ever had lipton green... I don't really know what lipton tea in general tastes like actually, and I have had my fair share of bagged teas. Some not half-bad, some gag worthy. Green tea bags are probably the worst of the lot, though I've managed to have two or so that weren't so bad. Certainly, most people would agree that Teavana is a step up from bag, no? Although sometimes loose leaf can be much worse than bagged, if it is fresh it usually isn't the case.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by chingwa » May 19th, '16, 12:30

NateHevens wrote:You need to come out to a little place in New York City called "Tea Drunk"...
Thanks Nate. Next time I'm in the East Village I'll give it a shot :) I've been to most of the tea shops in NYC at one point or another, but have not really found one I consider worthwhile (at least as far as tea quality is concerned). The only exception is the small Ippodo shop on 39th, but this isn't a sit-down-and-drink type of place unfortunately.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » May 20th, '16, 02:51

daidokorocha wrote:I meant vegetables :lol: I don't know that I have ever had lipton green... I don't really know what lipton tea in general tastes like actually, and I have had my fair share of bagged teas. Some not half-bad, some gag worthy. Green tea bags are probably the worst of the lot, though I've managed to have two or so that weren't so bad. Certainly, most people would agree that Teavana is a step up from bag, no? Although sometimes loose leaf can be much worse than bagged, if it is fresh it usually isn't the case.
Oh vegetables! Ha! :lol: Sorry... :mrgreen:

I like greens prepared a certain way, and that way means they aren't bitter. But lots of people don't know how to prepare them that way, sadly. Even I have trouble with it. The people who know how to prepare greens the way I like them have some kind of natural talent for it.
chingwa wrote:Thanks Nate. Next time I'm in the East Village I'll give it a shot :) I've been to most of the tea shops in NYC at one point or another, but have not really found one I consider worthwhile (at least as far as tea quality is concerned). The only exception is the small Ippodo shop on 39th, but this isn't a sit-down-and-drink type of place unfortunately.
I've been to that Ippodo shop a couple times, too! Got one of the best Gyokuros I've ever had from there. In fact, for my next trip into the city, it's on my list of stops.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by kindofobsessed » May 4th, '17, 07:43

daidokorocha wrote: Interesting developments... I still remember my first experience with Teavana. I was visiting Toronto and I was walking through the underground when I caught a really strong sweet smell. I came around the corner and saw Teavana. "Hey, TEA!", I thought as I rushed over before I could connect that the sweet smell was Teavana. I was handed one of their samples and my face was like this emoticon's :shock: Sweet, sweet, sickly sweet. No thank you... Here in Philadelphia I believe we have this new chain Capital Tea that has chased some other tea stores around here out of business... but they aren't that bad. Although, I recently noticed they seem to be doing the whole sample thing like Teavana outside of the store. I can only imagine from the flavors they choose to highlight that they are sweet, sweet, sickly sweet as well. However, they remind me more of a David's Tea, from whom I bought a Korean tea which was decent. I also had a cup of dong ding oolong there as well which was not bad at all. I went to Capital Teas once with some friends and had a cup or two of some teas and they weren't necessarily bad either. However, I have never tried any of the teas outside of that sample from Teavana. I never even stepped foot in the store. Anytime I see a Teavana I immediately run away. I suppose the moral of the story is that I'm not interested in big tea stores, but I'm not completely averse to all the tea they sell. However, Teavana completely scared me off due to such a strong first impression. If I had skipped the samples and tried a cup of something of decent quality, I surely would not want to gag everytime I see the word Teav... well, on second thought, I'll spare myself the further nausea.
I purchase and drink a lot of varieties from Capital Teas since I live in Maryland and Annapolis is their headquarters. I've been quite happy with many of them....definitely far better than Teavana (can't stomach anything from there) and customer service is fantastic. Some of their blends are pretty great, and of course, some of their blends just aren't for me. Give them a shot! My winter obsession is their "Figgy Pudding" (black).

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by NateHevens » Jul 27th, '17, 18:41

I'll link to articles later (I'm on my phone), but Starbucks will be closing all Teavanas by spring of 2018. I still work here, and I have to admit... I don't know what to do with that... so we'll see...

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

by victoria3 » Jul 27th, '17, 23:07

NateHevens wrote: I'll link to articles later (I'm on my phone), but Starbucks will be closing all Teavanas by spring of 2018. I still work here, and I have to admit... I don't know what to do with that... so we'll see...
Coffee is more profitable -I'm guessing is the reason?

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