Tea Journal

A Trip to Teavana at the Mall of America

Mark Gstohl via Flickr CC Attribution License

It was a beautiful fall day to take a trip to Bloomington, Minnesota for a little shopping adventure at the Mall of America (MOA).

Finding Teavana at the Mall of America

Upon arriving at MOA it was quite the feat to find Teavana, after consulting several kiosks and walking for what seemed like forever, I finally found my way to the west side of the mall. As I got closer to my destination, I saw an inviting, warm-glow emanating from the Teavana store front that quickened my pace in anticipation. Just before reaching Teavana a wonderful scent captivated my senses and enticed me to come inside.

Entering Teavana is like taking a step into tea heaven. The décor is natural-chic with warm-earth tones. And a soft, sweet fragrance of tea fills the air, perhaps from the variety of brewed teas lying about ready to sample, and did I sample! Yum!

Turning my attention to the stylish and Asian inspired teaware, I made a mental-note on what I liked and planned to purchase at a later date. Today, I was here to buy tea.

Tea Tins or Sampler Bags?

As I approached the counter, I saw a wall filled with huge round tea canisters that were all color coded. Upon closer inspection, each canister was marked with the tea name and cost per two ounces.

After assisting other customers, the friendly Teavana guy came over and I inquired about purchasing some sample sizes.

Tea Tins from Teavana

He said that he could certainly hook me up with some sampler bags of tea, but encouraged me to buy tea tins instead, stating that the tea canisters would help the tea stay fresh for up to a year.

He also shared with me that the sampler tea bags tended to not keep the tea fresh for very long, about two weeks to be exact.

This wouldn’t have been a concern, except that I had just purchased about thirty sampler bags of tea online the previous week.

Plus, I had been admiring the exquisite tea tins located throughout the store just moments ago. I thought to myself that this could be the perfect opportunity to indulge a wee bit.

Once I had chosen my favorite four Washi Tea Tins, the fun really began. I got to decide which tea would fill each of them.

Picking the Perfect Tea

The Teavana guy asked me a few questions, then swiftly went and picked out a large tea tin labeled Gyokuro Imperial. I saw the cost per two ounces was $15.00. Yowza! But, once he opened the lid and I saw that bright, fresh green color and took a deep breath, I knew it was worth every penny.

Next, I decided I wanted a black tea. He first introduced me to Golden Monkey which looked amazing with all the golden tips. It also smelled like chocolate when he fanned the tin lid over the tea towards me. But, for $18.50 per two ounces, I decided to try a less expensive black tea, especially since I had just splurged on the green tea.

Next, he pulled a black tea from the shelf called Copper Knot Hongcha. This tea didn’t smell as chocolaty as the Golden Monkey; actually, the smell was quite subtle overall. Nonetheless, I was intrigued by the dark and light brown leaves that were rolled into tight little balls. For only $9.80 per two ounces, we had a winner.

Then I decided to go for a dessert tea. The Teavana guy pulled down something called Zingiber Ginger Coconut. He took off the tin lid and swooshed it over the tea, so we could both get a good whiff. Between the sweet, intoxicating smell and exquisite display of curled coconut and red rooibos, I was spellbound. I had to try some and for $6.00 per 2 ounces I thought it was a no-brainer.

Finally, I thought I would go for one more dessert tea. Without a moment of hesitation the Teavana guy pulled down two tea canisters: White Ayurvedic Chai and My Morning Mate.

The smell was amazing as he waved the two canister lids, back and forth over both tea blends. It was like stepping into some exotic candy store; where sweet and spicy intermingle creating a scent that tickles the soul.

The Mate tea was $6.80 per two ounces and the Chai was $10.00 per two ounces. I didn’t even have to think about it, before deciding on my final purchase.

The total came to a whopping $114.00 bucks, but I felt like I had gotten my money’s worth. Not only was I leaving with four beautiful tea tins, I also had some amazing tea to sip all winter.

As I left the store I thought to myself, “Wow, that was a lot of fun!”

Buy Teavana Tea Online

Just in case you don’t have access to a nearby Teavana store, you can always purchase their tea online. If you’re interested to see Teavana’s online tea selection just click on the link below. Enjoy!

Teavana

Note: Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Additional Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Have you ever visited a Teavana store? What was your experience like?

A New Love Affair (Losing My Loose Tea Virginity)

Black Tea in White Teacup

I lost my virginity the other day…

My loose leaf tea virginity that is, and my “first time” was near perfection.

There was a bit of bumbling about trying to get the right amount of tea in my “t-sac” paper filter. I tried to jam too much in there, a half tablespoon instead of a teaspoon on the first try.

But, when all was said and done, it was a wonderful experience that I plan to do again, and again, and again. I’m hooked.

If you’re curious as to what tea I chose for my “first time” it was a loose leaf Assam tea. I chose this particular tea for three reasons.

One, Assam is a black tea. And I do love my black tea.

Two, I had read that Assam tea has a malty flavor which I was most interested in tasting.

Three, I could get the tea in a one ounce sample size. So, just in case I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have a lot of it sitting around the house going stale as I moved on and started dating other teas.

There you have it, my new love affair with loose leaf tea.

Goodness, I hope the tea bags don’t get jealous when I write my very first loose leaf tea review!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

[box] What was your first experience with loose tea like? [/box]

My English Tea Store Order Arrived!

Tea Plantation

I just wanted to do a quick post because my first online order of loose leaf teas from the English Tea Store arrived today.

I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to tear open the box!

Inside I found my samples of Chinese and Estate teas.

Here’s the list:

  1. Jasmine with Flowers
  2. Keemun Panda
  3. Lapsang Souchong
  4. Pinhead Gunpowder
  5. Darjeeling Mim (Estate)
  6. Kambaa Estate (Estate)
  7. Oolong Orange Blossom (Estate)
  8. Nonsuch Estate (Estate)
  9. Formosa Oolong (Estate)
  10. Assam TGFOP (Estate)

I think I’ll start with #10 and drink my way down the list of teas. My plan is to do a full-fledged review for each tea sample.

Oh, I also purchased some T-Sacs, which is a brand name for paper tea filters made in Germany. I can’t wait to give them a try too!

Soon, I will no longer be a loose leaf tea virgin. I hope it will be worth the wait.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: Jakob Montrasio – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Do you remember when you lost your loose leaf tea virginity?[/box]

What Is Your Tea Story?

MzScarlett – via Flickr CC Attribution License

I can’t remember when I first started drinking tea…

Tea Memories:

Perhaps it started in my teen-age years. My mom would keep a jar of instant, unsweetened tea in the cupboard for warm summer days. Sometimes, when desperate and out of soda, I would screw off the lid on the instant tea jar and make myself a glass of iced-tea. Knowing me, I probably added a ton of sugar to my drink! I had a big sweet-tooth back then, as I do today.

When I went away to college, I found myself drinking instant tea with flavoring like lemon, raspberry and peach. Because I was more weight conscious in college, I went for the artificial sweeteners.

My next memory of tea is when I attended grad school down south—Arkansas to be exact—where sweet tea is a staple beverage on restaurant menus.

When ordering iced tea in a restaurant I learned to always add “unsweetened” to my request; because in the South, simply asking for tea means you want sweet tea. The funny thing is, that once my unsweetened iced-tea was brought to the table, I would add two packets of Sweet-N-Low! Boy, I was a weird-o!

My next clear tea memory is when I was working at a university. My boss, at the time, introduced me to an interesting twist on iced-tea. She would take whatever tea bags she had on hand, mainly a lot of fruit teas, and she would brew them all together. The resulting concoction was quite yummy and no artificial sweeteners required.

My walk down memory lane has made me realize that: Not only have I gone from instant tea to tea bags but, I’ve also given up soda and coffee along the way.

Giving Up Soda and Coffee:

All my life, until the last 6 years, I had been a huge pop drinker. I was literally drinking gallons of diet soda per week. Then one day, I decided to stop. I was concerned about the consequences of continuing to load my body with chemicals.

At this time I decided give up coffee too and only drink tea or water.

I found it pretty easy to give up coffee, because I had never been a big coffee drinker. I didn’t even own a coffee machine. If I was in the mood for coffee, I would drink it at the office or order it at the local coffee shop. Plus, coffee started to make me feel anxious and jittery. It seemed like a no-brainer to just stop drinking the stuff. Not to mention, I had discoverd Tazo Awake tea. This tea was a welcome replacement for coffee.

It was a little harder to give up soda because I had been drinking it for so many years. I would say that it took me a good year to wean myself off of the diet pop.

All this time, I was drinking a limited selection of tea bags but, they did help me kick my soda and coffee habits!

Next Steps:

As I had mentioned above, for the past six years my main source of liquid intake has been water or tea. Yet, I’ve never ventured outside the tea bag.

My Limited Tea Drinking Experience

The picture to your right is an example of my limited range of tea drinking experiences. As you can see by the sad assortment of tea packets, I am no tea connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination!

Now it’s time to take the next step. Get out of my comfort zone of drinking the same off-the-shelf brands of tea and start exploring the wide range of exotic loose teas available.

Just from the little bit of time I’ve spent trolling the internet for anything tea related, I’ve discovered that the world of tea is huge, a bit overwhelming in fact.

Therefore, I plan to take this journey slow and easy. I want to relish each moment and each sip.

If you’ve never tried tea or would like to investigate different types of teas, I hope you’ll join me.

Perhaps we’ll discover something pretty cool together along the way.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off for now. Wishing you peace and happiness

Amy

P.S. Thanks for reading my first blog post! I’m looking forward to reading your comments, and commenting back.

Photo Credit: MzScarlett – via Flickr CC Attribution License and A Girl With Tea (tea packets)

What is your tea story? When did you have your first tea drinking experience? What do you love about tea? What types of teas have you always wanted to try?