Teavana Opens, Avoid It

by theelvee_w2oe3m

So I decided to check out the new Teavana at the Lehigh Valley Mall on their opening day last Friday.  Before I went I browsed around a bit online on their site and read some reviews.  I read that their salespeople were pretty aggressive so I kept that in mind when I went.  I had a $20 spending limit in mind for tea and a steeping ball. The store itself is decent enough…very nice teapots and a great selection of different ways to make tea.  There was a decent amount of people wandering around the store and about 6 different tea samples to try.  I was asked by a sales associate if I needed any help and I responded that I was just looking around.  I didn’t find any of the steeping balls so I went up to get tea.  The tea is all behind the counter in large tins so you can’t open it up and smell it yourself, etc.  I was asked if I wanted any help and said I was just seeing what teas they had.  The associate handed me a booklet that contained all of their teas.  He then asked if I tried the samples, to which I responded I had two of them.  He then took my acquaintance and I around and had us sample all of them (VERY quickly).  He then asked if he could get me any of those.  Also note most of the teas being sampled were, of course, the most expensive ones.  I hadn’t had time to look through the book at the other teas so I took a minute to do that. I then asked one of the salespeople if they had any tea steepers (I was looking for something simple like a ball).  I was shown a tea pot thing that was about $30, and while very nifty, was far our of my price range.  I was immediately asked if I wanted one added to my order — no thanks.  My acquaintance then pointed out to me they had the tea ball I was looking for on the bottom shelf (keep the expensive stuff at eye level, remember), however it was $13.  I’ll wait and get one at the grocery store for $3, thanks. My acquaintance got her tea first.  She wanted one of the mate teas that was being sampled.  The clerk spoke very fast and noted that the mate tea she tried was actually a blend of two different teas.  She then whipped out these nice little tins that cost $7 that she made seem like you MUST purchase in order to get any tea at the store.  The clerk asked if she’d like a tin of each tea (so two $7 tins, or $6 for the small ones) or if she’d like them mixed together.  Mixed together, of course, was the route taken so only one exhorbitantly-priced tin would need to be bought.  The clerk then offered to fill the tin.  Sure!  Little was it known that it would bring the cost of the tin and tea to $56.  Would you like some (disgustingly expensive) German rock sugar with that?  No thanks.  It was such a pressuring, fast-paced experience she just paid the price and was left feeling shocked at going from getting a little bit of tea to dropping $56 on a platinum-priced tin and enough tea to last a year. I picked out a tea I thought I’d like and asked for it.  Supposedly it was “awaiting harvesting” and they were out of it.  I was then offered another tea that tasted “very similar” which was also much more expensive.  I declined.  I picked out a different tea that was about $9 for 2oz.  All of the prices in the books reflect 2oz of tea (which, they say, equates to 15 cups).  The girl grabbed me one of those great tins and asked if I wanted it filled up.  No, sorry.  I asked her to give me $14-worth, so I’d stay on my $20 budget.  She poured in two heaping scoops, about $27 and looked at me.  I replied that I only wanted $14 in tea.  She scooped some more out and placed it back on the scale…$18.  She asked if that’s alright.  Apparently my English wasn’t too good that day so I responded in a harsh tone, “No, I asked for $14.”  Eventually she made it down to $13.72, which I agreed to.  Do I want some German rock sugar with that?  No thanks.  I grabbed my bag and got the hell out of there, cringing at the poor schmuck that just got swindled for $143 worth of tea next to me as I was rung up. That night I decided to read up a little bit more.  Not only is Teavana expensive as hell, but you can also get the same, if not better, tea online for much cheaper.  I also read about one of their former employees getting treated like absolute shit and it really gave me a taste of what this sham of a company is all about.  Do yourself a favor and order online, or better yet, shop local at places like Christine’s Secret Garden.  Avoid the Teavana nonsense like the plague.

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Penny Amici November 2, 2010 - 5:30 am

It sounds to me as if your acquaintance should be having us over for an afternoon tea party … no? 😉

Tweets that mention Teavana Opens, Avoid It | The El Vee -- Topsy.com November 2, 2010 - 5:32 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by LehighValleyNewbie, The El Vee. The El Vee said: The El Vee recommends you skip on Teavana: https://www.theelvee.com/?p=816 […]

Amanda November 14, 2010 - 3:03 pm

ah yes, Penny, the acquaintance” has enough tea to last until next October

Tom August 6, 2011 - 10:23 pm

I had exactly the same experience,

I said I want only a very small amount of tea.

she said we only sell in 2oz

so then she filled the bag to 1.9 oz, I saw the scale price $17.63

WTH?! i have never paid that amount.

anyway i told her “no i’ll keep it at that”
she then said “sorry it has to be 2 oz”, she added more tea to make it 2.1 oz

I’m a kind person, but i have friends that would yell at her.

DO not go here, these is just bad business practice

Sasi August 13, 2011 - 10:16 pm

I almost cried today at Teavana store. Imagine if English is your second language…The staff was talking so fast that I had to pause and tried to understand her. I did not know that the store charged its tin for 7 dollars…My total came down to 127 dollars for 20 tea balls, tea container and tin box. I was shocked. Later on I told the sale girl that I could not afford this price. She said “no you need to buy this” and then she said “you basically mix up all my tea together…you seriously need to buy this.” I was confused and scared. I am not young but I felt that she was really intimidated me somehow….

I asked her to remove some of the product. Still I paid 50 dollars today…just for a cup of tea and TEAVANA container.

This store is such a rip-off. Please don’t go there..don’ t even try. It is not worth your time.

travcm September 5, 2011 - 11:49 pm

Seems like a biased review followed by some biased answers. It’s not a bad place. Their prices are high, but so are the prices at Christine’s Secret Garden, which you linked.

JN October 30, 2011 - 4:32 pm

It sounds about right to my ears, “travcm”. It’s easy enough to discover this is the overwhelming opinion of Teavana by spending just a few minutes with Google and having an open mind. The only thing biased is your accusation, which contained nothing to prove others wrong or yourself right.

Teavana is absurdly overpriced compared to the many excellent online stores. I paid easily four times what I would with a number of online stores whose tea scores in the 4/5 to 5/5 by many tea connoisseurs. To compare to coffee, consider even Starbucks (whose pricing isn’t even defended by Starbucks enthusiasts) – their most expensive pound of coffee is about on par with some of the more expensive Teavana teas. Except that Starbucks prices per pound, not per two ounces.

I’m a fan of monkey picked oolong. I’ve tasted some stale and some not-quite-right from a place or two but a few of my regular online stores offer average to stellar tea. Teavana’s monkey-picked oolong tastes no better than the average varieties but is MANY times more expensive than most. There’s simply no justifying their ridiculous pricing.

laura August 23, 2012 - 1:06 am


Bettie September 23, 2012 - 4:10 pm

I’m really surprised to hear about people’s experiences at Teavana… I went there yesterday for the first time and found their employees to be very helpful and knowledgable. Yes the tea is expensive, don’t get me wrong. I paid about $23 for about 1/2 lb. And I was like WOW… Most expensive tea I’ve bought ever… But the tea is quite delicious and I would definitely go back. I won’t drink this tea all the time because my budget can’t afford it, but I will be back!

I hope the next store I go to, I don’t have a bad experience like yours!

Thanks for the info, I’ll be searching the net for some more teas!

Antonio September 28, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Lol, Jesus! What stores have you gone to? I know the three in my immediate area are pretty cool. Yes, it’s expensive, but what do you want to pay for something good? And I have never been harassed or forced into buying anything I didn’t want. I don’t know, maybe we’re just nicer on the Northeast coast. Lol.

Colleen March 25, 2013 - 2:01 pm

Same thing happened to me at Willow Grove Teavana. I felt so tricked. He zoomed trough the store and tried to get me to buy a bag full $56 worth at that. I felt quite stupid after buying it, even though I liked it. Their reps are really pushy and when there’s tons of people in the store you feel so pressured. I don’t even feel comfortable going anymore.

Benjamin October 25, 2013 - 2:08 pm

I, too, had a very similar experience. My first visit to Teavana was definitely my last.

I was at Hamilton Place Mall in Chattanooga, and was lured into the store by tea samples, naturally. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s a standard sales tactic and I was considering purchasing some good tea.

The one I tried was pretty good, so I decided I would inquire on the price. The sales person said it costs $13 for 2 ounces, which I thought was steep, but was willing to pay it since I enjoyed the tea. What I didn’t know until I was ready to pay was that it was a mixed tea, and in fact I would have to purchase a minimum of two ounces of each variety. This brought the total to $26 at the absolutely minimum. After them explaining this to me I opted to just get 2 ounces of the Youth Berry tea instead of the mix, and to my surprise, the sales person let out a loud annoyed sigh and said rudely “well, I already put 2 ounces of each tea in separate tins…” I explained to him that I specifically asked for 2 ounces, so this was not my fault.

After finally getting my desired amount of tea, I noticed that the sales person had put my 2 ounces of Youth Berry into a very large glass canister that I saw elsewhere in the store holding the rock sugar. Before I could say anything he did the whole overpriced sugar pitch which I respectfully said no to about 6 times before he gave up. He then quickly rung up my tea and the total came to around $40… I explained yet again that ALL I wanted was 2 ounces of Youth Berry tea for $13 and nothing else. The sales person AGAIN let out a very loud and disrespectful sigh before tell me in a very rude tone that my tea would go bad in just 3 days (complete BS) unless it was in this specific $27 Teavana brand glass container and actually spoke the following words to me: “You would be pretty stupid if you didn’t take this tea home in a container that will keep it fresh”. I was shocked, but remained composed and told him that I only lived 5 minutes away and had some very nice containers at home that would do just fine.

I ended up finally getting out of the store with my tea, but felt extremely harassed and exhausted by the encounter. As an extroverted male in my early 20’s, this was not a common feeling. The tea I bought I ended up using over a period of 8 months, often to add a light fruity touch to sweet tea, and it still smelled and tasted just as it did when purchased until it was gone.

I will never be back, and after reading so many similar stories online, I realize that this was not just a rouge rude employee, and that the company actually trains its people to treat the customer like shit.

Jennifer November 2, 2013 - 3:10 am

Yes, there tea is expensive but you get what you pay for. I admit, it is pretty darn good.

The first time I went I walked out paying over $100… BUT the tea I bought has lasted me 6 months by only using a teaspoon or less in a pot a few times a week.

I just went back in there today for maybe the third time and I’ve picked up some delicious pumpkin spice tea which I would highly recommend. It’s expensive but I do feel its worth enjoying once in a while.

Yes, the sales people a VERY pushy (it’s their job), so I don’t feel that it’s a really proactive approach for anyone to really criticize them for being pushy. I mean, it IS you (the consumers) choice and YOU have the ultimate power in the situation. Nobody else!

The one thing I’ve learned about sales people over the years is this: You have to set your boundaries. Nobody can really force you to do anything so when I go into a store like that I just always make sure I’m feeling strong and ready to be really straight about what I came in for and what I’m going to come out with. No ifs ands or buts about it.

Delores January 11, 2014 - 11:02 pm

I have visited several stores…different states…and have NEVER had the experiences you guys speak of. The tea is expensive (hello…tea shop) but no more expensive than a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Recently visited a store in Rochester, NY at one of the malls….the service was great and the tea just as good. My daughter and I both bought about $100 worth of tea, (this was back in August) tins and other stuff. I don’t drink this everyday because I live out of country…I still have lots left even though I splurge 2-3 times a week. Maybe you need to speak with the district manager for your store. I never feel that I should be insulted and spend my money at any store. I would think Teavana cares more about your business, and your coming back. Most people spend more energy telling about a bad experience than they do about a good one.

Kate January 13, 2014 - 8:53 pm

I’m agreeing with Jennifer and Travcm. I’m a worker with Teavana after the Starbucks merge and I heard things were hard before, but ultimately, we try to sample quickly because most people don’t want to sit for several minutes per sample. We’re supposed to try and work with you at your pace though, which means if you have questions or you want to talk about the more intricate details, please ask. If you want to spend an hour sampling, we’re supposed to do just that (and we have). Otherwise we just cover the basics because most people flat-out don’t care.

A sales rep should NEVER be impatient or make you feel awkward for getting the amount you want, but here’s why we do a two ounce minimum- half the price is donated to CARE international, the other half is revenue to the company. Our small store alone, since opening 3 years ago, has opened a hospital and a school in an underprivileged area. There’s a specific area of the store dedicated to this particular charity and it sells tea accessories that will donate further. Our cast iron doesn’t even make profit for the store. It’s handmade by artisans who are the master of ther craft, and with a lifetime guarantee on the cast-iron, you’re paying to support the lifestyle of dedicated craftsmen, which are rapidly dwindling in the US. So yes, you could get those cheaper on amazon being mass produced, but it’s a matter of personal preference having a handmade piece that literally only has one teapot like it (a mold is destroyed after two casts) and supports a cause.

As far as teas being out of harvest, it sucks, but that happens when you’re in a business based on things growing from the earth. We ARE asked to show you certain teas that might be pricey (and we know it!) but we depend on you to tell us “no”. We aren’t trying to scam you or freak you out, we’re just encouraged to show them. It’s like, would you rather I show you my least favorite teas first and slowly work up to the top? Nah, I’m gonna show you the best and if that’s your thing, great, but if it isn’t, so be it. For what it’s worth, the higher the price, the more times the tea can be resteeped (as a general rule). Monkey Picked Oolong, for example, could be steeped probably 5-7 times before you discard the leaves. Our leaves are rated (on average) several grades above USDA Organic, with that grade being the lowest, and are certainly of a high quality, but your personal taste is always to be accounted for.

I don’t mean to come off harsh, I just really like my job and what we stand for, and our store is complimented often for being kind to people in comparison to others. It bothers me when I see other stores being so rude and impersonal. We’re people just like you, we love tea, we want you to love tea, and we like making a paycheck doing it. I try being transparent and honest even if it means selling less, (our reverse french press infuser really is probably the cheapest considering shipping costs from other places and I personally find it to be a worthwhile purchase, but otherwise yes, get a tea ball elsewhere because our prices do suck for those) and explaining every step along the way, too, when I make tea or show people how we do it. People complain stores make samples too strong (we have explicit directions we’re supposed to follow) or make drinks extra strong without asking. You should never feel deceived or forced.

I probably won’t change your mind about coming back, but all the same, I wanted to clear things up that teavana is NOT inherently evil. I hope that by learning a little about the internal workings and righting some wrongs by whoever served you I can make things at least a little better. I truly hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy tea all your life, wherever it may be from.

Kate January 13, 2014 - 9:03 pm

Oh! And another commenter is right about the tea not going bad in three days. It’s preservative free, yes, but it will stay fresh for 20 days at least before it begins the process of losing flavor, NOT going bad.

You’re welcome to use your own containers at home and they shouldn’t fight you once you say no to a tin. The only reason I’d suggest it is that if you don’t like the tea or something happens to it within a year, we’ll exchange it for new tea and a new tin because we know ours ARE guaranteed to be air tight, light tight, whereas we can’t know about yours at home.

Again, it was EXTREMELY rude to try to sell you something you said no to and indirectly insult you for it, and furthermore, tea should NEVER go in a see-through container! I have no idea why a sales rep would try to put tea in a glass jar for rock sugar. That’s not at all what the company wants from us, and honestly it’s just plain weird, lol!

Eric January 15, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Kate —

Great response to the insane comments on this board from the other posters. Clueless people often don’t think of the “Big Picture”, which you laid out perfectly, and tend to gravitate toward that ME ME ME culture they’ve been raised to embrace so much…..

That said, I’m not a tea specialist by any stretch, and I’ve just recently made a dedicated lifestyle change as of 27 Dec 2013. I started doing research on the benefits of green tea and decided that was basically going to be my “New Years Resolution” for this year to start eating more healthy, and to — drink more green tea!

Long story short, Teavana was my first stop on my journey to better health. My experience, unlike the others that have been posting on here, was nothing short of a very pleasant experience. The staff was knowledgeable about everything I was interested in, and they were very helpful throughout my first $119.00 visit, and then again on my $198.00 visit just last weekend. NEVER were they pushy or rude.

My wife and I purchased the Teavana Perfect Teamaker, about 6 tins, German Rock Sugar, Matcha, herbal teas and of course, all the green teas that I like. Particularly the Gyokuro Imperial, Sencha, Jasmine pearls, Jade Citrus Mint, etc….. I wanted the Emperor’s Cloud and Mist, but they were out of it.

And guess what?

I love everything I purchased, and then some. It was all worth it to me. A pleasant shopping experience by what I feel are qualified individuals, tea products that I love, and most importantly, spending money to keep Americans employed and giving a business my hard earned money who then turn around and make donations to worthy causes.

Most of the negative people on here need to wake up and SMELL THE TEA!!!!

Nick January 15, 2014 - 6:02 pm

I was introduced to the wonderful world of teas and tea drinking through an accidental visit to a Teavana store over a year ago in my town (Jacksonville). Walking into their stores is like walking onto a used car lot. You are immediately assaulted. When you do settle on buying something, they try to up-sell you more stuff (just like at the dealership). It’s surprisingly high pressure. The whole experience is so uncomfortable (sometimes you just want to go in and look at stuff undisturbed) that I have been driven to alternate sources on the net where there is way better product and better prices much of the time. There’s also a lot of mis-information at Teavana. Surely, their too often dishonest and aggressive sales tactics will backfire on them in the long run. They’ve lost me.

Mita March 3, 2014 - 9:40 pm

Frankly, we have two in the Hampton Roads area (one at MacArthur Mall in Norfolk, came across that one first, and the one at the Peninsula Town Center in Hampton–thankful for that one, won’t have to cross the water!). I’ve had great experiences with both places. I’d love to get a bigger cast iron pot myself, but they are a bit pricey. I did, however, bring a small one from Japan where I was stationed. as Kate said, the quality is great, and if you treat them right, they last for years.

I never use the rock sugar, because after being over there, I’m used to drinking the teas as they should–straight. I’d love it if they were to sell barley tea! I fell in love with it while being there, and though I’ve found the tea sold in 16 oz. bottles and cold, something about it while warm feels comforting. Maybe that’s something ya’ll should consider, Kate! 😉 Barley tea!

Ellie April 26, 2014 - 1:10 pm

Yeah Teavanna definitely sucks. I had no idea until my first experience there last weekend. She didn’t tell me the tins were an additional $7. She just charged me. I hope they go out of business, unscrupulous crooks.

Kim June 19, 2014 - 5:18 pm

I visited Teavana for the first time yesterday looking for a specific tea that I saw on their website-raspberry limeade blend. I should have paid more attention to the word blend. Luckily, they were sampling it and it tasted good so I asked for that. The lady brought out 2 canisters of tea which caught me by surprise. She explained that in order to get the flavor I have to mix these 2 teas. Ok, I got over it mainly because I’m having a hard time finding a raspberry flavored tea. She said I could get the tea in a tin and that’s what most customers do. I usually shop at David’s Tea and thought they must have bags too for their tea so I asked. She said they did. Even then she mentioned other tins on the other side of me. I don’t like that I had to buy 50 grams of tea-nothing less, especially when I’m buying 2 teas to make a certain flavour that they are serving. So I had to buy 100g of tea. Yay. Again, at David’s Tea, if I ask for 5 grams they would give me 5 grams without questions. When she put it in the bags the one tea was a little over 50 grams. I said it was ok. The other one was 94 grams. She looked at me and then proceeded to ask if that was ok, I said no. It was almost double than what I wanted. She kept taking tea out until it was near 50 grams. At this point I was getting frustrated.
She tried to upsell me the sugar rocks. I said no. Any other tea? No. At this point I just wanted to leave because of how much upselling she was trying to do. I understand it’s their job but it made me feel like leaving without my purchase. I was lucky because my order only came to around $19 and even then I thought it was kind of expensive because all I wanted was one tea.
I hope David’s Tea gets a raspberry tea soon. The staff is always pleasant, understanding and they never try to upsell.

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