We literally had cancer patients coming into our shop, asking what they should drink. Some folks almost treated us like doctors. Sure, tea is good for you and has benefits to your health, but Teavana's sales pitches makes it sound like a bloody cure all, and I soon started feeling like a snake oil salesman.
I learned a lot about tea, but mostly on my own. I compiled my own book of research on Teavana's specious health claims, because I was simply not comfortable telling customers "oolong helps you lose weight and black tea reduces your cholesterol" if it really doesn't. For this, I was mocked by fellow employees
I think the bigger problem here is that Americans want a quick fix to everything, and a lot of times, when they're visiting a tea shop, what they want isn't well crafted / good tasting tea, but rather a quick fix for some real or perceived problem (they want to lose weight, lower their cholesterol, live longer, etc. etc.). Just to play devil's advocate a little, Teavana is basically giving people what they want (albeit in a high-pressured sales pitch kind of way). Is it awful, stupid, and misleading? Of course. But, like most mall chains, they're in the business of making money and pleasing their investors, not trying to make the world a better place. We just have to hope that the folks who make it into Teavana can see through the hype.
Anyway, back to my original point, I have talked to a couple of tea shop owners (in the US) who say that people are constantly coming in wanting to know which kind of tea will provide such and such a benefit. A lot of times, even when they tell them that such claims are often overstated and generally not yet well studied, they still won't give up.
I think it's very possible that drinking tea may
have some health benefits, but I don't think those alone are a reason to drink tea. Drink tea because you enjoy it, or because it makes you feel good. If it has some other benefits, so much the better.
The one good thing about stores like Teavana is that they bring people into "the fold", and hopefully, some of those people will eventually get interested in tea in a less casual way, and become interested in learning more about tea (and by tea, I mean whole leaf tea made from the camellia sinensis plant). Anyway, sorry for the long rant, and I'm not trying to defend what they're doing... just pointing out that