Ah a dangerous topic, Teavana.
Many people hate them, for the special teas fiasco, for the over-flavored teas, for the pushy sales people.
Other people, myself included, see them as the gateway tea.
Tea for me started as an item in a paper bag, on a string, with a staple. My mother drank twinings earl grey every morning, and heaven forbid you talked to her before she started her second cup. She wanted the cup warmed, then the tea steeped, only a few minutes, with a lid, then a touch of sugar and milk. The water had to be full boiling, and new fresh water. She could taste if you slacked on the preparation.
For many years I casually tried teas wherever I went, restaurants, hotels, cafes.
Some places used fancy teapots, and put the tea in a strainer, which I thought was novel.
I was able to tell when a tea was poor quality, or prepared poorly.
Somewhere around college there started to be “full leaf sachets” of tea, and Teavana. I went absolutely wild over NOVUS and The Republic of Tea. The US was coming of age with tea I think, there was much more variety in the upscale grocery stores, and there were many more tea shops. I started desperately trying to get my hand on all the tea, I wanted to try it all!
My mother was supportive through all this, she bought me tea, she went out and hunted tea down with me, attended high teas, let me place orders online. She still started each day with her earl grey, but we bought many early grey teas, and she tried them all. Very few met her standards, but she was happy to give them he a go.
For mother’s day, I bought her a zarafina. It was this amazing tea brewing device with all sorts of settings. So began my addiction with not only tea, but methods of brewing.
In my searches, I tried many tea shops in NYC, where my fiance at the time lived, and I went and decided to not only have every Republic of Tea tea, but every Teavana tea.
I started spreadsheets, notebooks, it all started to get hard to remember. Had I tried this tea? Had I visited this teashop? How did I prepare this tea last time?
Somewhere soon after, I came upon Steepster. I decided I would blog, and use this nice new tea community to keep myself on track. I had decided trying ALL the tea was a reaching goal, I wasn’t going to quit, just realize there was so much more to tea than a lifetime could afford me the opportunity to try.
Over time I have now attended tea festivals (Northwest Tea Festival in Seattle, WA, First Flush in Charleston, SC, World Tea East, Philadelphia, PA), tea meetups, tea tastings, tea cuppings, trainings, discussions…I have tried a large variety of ways to steep teas (gaiwan, breville, zarafina, ingenuitea, french press, tea balls, strainers…
In all this time, I have meet amazing people, learned so much, and found I have so much more to learn.
I owe my mother, The Republic of Tea, and Teavana for really starting me on this quest.
And every time I walk by a Teavana, I still manage to leave with more tea.