Thursday, February 9, 2012
Finding Your Teavana
My husband got me hooked on tea a few Christmases ago, with a starter tea set from Teavana. Although I'd certainly drunk my share of tea up until then (iced and hot tea, made from tea bags), this was my first time trying tea brewed from loose tea leaves, and I've never had any tea quite so tasty as this.
When you enter a Teavana store, you're met with shelves bearing a variety of tea pots, mugs, delicate porcelain tea sets - most every accessory you can imagine. Behind the register counter are cubbyholed shelves bearing dozens of tins of loose tea. They are divided into categories: white, green, black, oolong, rooibos, mate and herbal.
The sheer variety of flavors - 0ver 100 - is amazing. In the store, there are usually at least 2 samples available to drink (hot and iced) that are comprised of tea blends. If you're unsure of what you'd like, employees can make recommendations based on your preferences: something fruity? Nutty? Spicy? They will bring out the big tins, open them and used the lid to waft the scent to you.
Sniffing is a good, but not foolproof, indicator of what teas you'd like. I admit, when someone first had me sniff Cocoa Praline Tart, I wasn't impressed. It smelled vaguely figgy to me. Once I brewed it at home, it instantly became my favorite tea. Trust me, it's delicious!
Teas are sold by the ounce (the minimum purchase for a tea is 2 ounces, which equates to roughly 15 cups of tea). Prices range from $3.30 (for 2 oz. of English Breakfast) to $25.00 (for 2 oz. Monkey Picked oolong). White teas are on the pricier side, but many are in the $5-$7.00 range. Each tea you buy comes with specific instructions as to what temperature to brew it, and for how long to brew.
Teavana is a chain, and they have around 150+ stores nationwide. Here in Illinois, I've been to the emporiums in Skokie (Old Orchard Mall), Schaumburg (Woodfield Mall) and Northbrook (Northbrook Mall). They do not have seating - people might stay all day otherwise - but they will brew you tea to-go, if you want. Visit them online at www.teavana.com. Cheers!