I have been sitting on this review for quite some time now. This past summer, I went on a weekend trip to Washington D.C. with some friends of mine. While we were there, we stopped by a rather large shopping mall, where I had the opportunity to visit a Teavana tea shop for the first time. My experience at Teavana was strange, to say the least. Teavana has an interesting sales hook in that the store offers about thirty different kinds of fresh, loose leaf tea in bins behind the counter, and the custom flavors and varieties that are offered by the company are achieved by simply mixing and matching the individual tea varieties.
As I found out soon after deciding to visit the crowded shop, Teavana runs a pretty aggressive sales pitch routine on their customers. The second that I stepped in the door, a sales associate was offering me samples of some of Teavana's special blends and filling me in on what custom varieties were currently on offer. After finishing the samples offered at the door, I was whisked away by another employee to sample several more teas at another station. It was here that I tried the subject of today's review, and also where I made the mistake of simply stating, "This is really good. I think that I might get some of this one." Before I really realized what was happening, I had been escorted to the register and was standing face-to-face with a cashier who had already launched into a lengthy explanation of Teavana's convoluted pricing system and was preparing to fill a container with the tea. It became fairly apparent to me at this point that Teavana's prices are specifically designed to disorient the customer.
The prices listed on the bins of tea in the store represented the price of two ounces of that particular tea. As I'm sure that you can imagine, trying to calculate how much half a pound of an uneven mixture of two separately and unconventionally priced teas will cost while standing in front of an anxiously waiting store employee is the mathematical equivalent of Olympic level gymnastics. Even with my five years of engineering education, I was at a loss to come up with an estimate, and after several moments of hopelessly trying to figure out how much money that I was going to be spending, I simply gave up and asked for a quarter pound of the tea. The tea ended up costing me $25, and although I was left feeling a bit unsettled by the confusing prices and the out-of-control nature of my visit, I am happy to say that the tea was worth every penny.
As pictured above, the tea is a combination of jasmine buds and a rooibos blend mixed with dried strawberries and other tropical fruits. The jasmine buds have an excellent flavor, and have a strong "jasmine" taste while still remaining mellow and crisp. Although I am not typically a huge fan of rooibos tea, I found the blend included in this mix to be quite pleasant. The tropical elements mixed into the rooibos give the tea a light, fruity taste, without making the tea taste sweet. The fruity undertones of the rooibos blend also help to mellow out some of the the strong, earthy overtones of a typical red tea. This works well with the mellow taste of the jasmine, and the flavors complement each other much better than I originally expected.
Overall, this is a wonderful tea. Although my experience in purchasing it was a bit manipulative, I have to admit that it is very difficult to complain about the end result. $25 dollars may seem like a lot for a quarter of a pound of tea, but the estimated serving size of 1/4 lb. is about 25 cups, and $1 per cup really isn't that bad, especially for a tea of this quality. If there is a Teavana near you, I recommend checking out their selection, and I definitely recommend their jasmine dragon and rooios tropica blend as a good starting point.
But a word to the wise: If a Teavana sales associate asks you if you've ever shopped there before, just do yourself a favor and say yes.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Purchased: Teavana [Washington D.C.]
Size: 1/4 lb. [Approximately 25 cups]
Price: $25.00 [Approximation]