Wednesday, January 25, 2006

More Philadelphia Tea

Tea Guy set out yesterday - in the company of the lovely Mrs. Tea Guy - to check out another of Philadelphia's purveyors of tea. Actually we came up a bit short of the city this time around, running to ground at the King of Prussia mall, an impressive bastion of material excess so vast that it can't be contained in one building.

You could be forgiven for thinking that Teavana is gunning to become the Grand Exalted Poobah of the retail tea world. The company is based in the Atlanta area, but is gradually fanning out around the country. According to their Web site, Teavana currently has 35 locations in a whole bunch of states and even one in Mexico City.

The Teavana at King of Prussia is their only Pennsylvania location - sort of. You see, there is actually a Teavana in each of the King of Prussia mall buildings - these are called the Plaza and the Court, if you're scoring at home. This seems a bit odd, but nobody really asked me what I thought. They just went ahead and did it.

Crack, detail-oriented journalist that I am, I can't tell you if we were in the Plaza or the Court, but I'm sure it was either one or the other. Anyway, Teavana is a nicely appointed kind of place that fits in rather well in this upscale palace of conspicuous consumption. The store is not very big and most of the display space is given over to a wide variety of teapots, along with a few other accessories.

The decent, but not staggering, selection of tea is kept behind the counter and there is also a nicely designed leaflet that describes each variety. A helpful gentleman approached us as we entered the store, pressed a number of samples upon us, dogged our every step and kept up a running commentary on the health benefits of tea and so on. A little more hard sell than I prefer, but no big deal really.

The samples were quite nice, especially the Assam Golden Rain. In the end I decided that since I have so much "real" tea around the house I'd just go with a Rooibos Peach, which turned out to be very nice. I also picked up a proper tea measuring spoon and we were on our way.

All in all I declare Teavana to be a good thing. Personally I'd prefer a place with a little more tea, not so many teapots and a bit less of an aggressive approach from the sales staff, but these pretty much fall into the category of minor quibbles.

See the previous installment of Philadelphia Tea here.

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