Teavana is a popular chain of tea stores in the United States. Although the teas sold by Teavana are consistently above-average quality, there is concern that Teavana’s prices are high. My personal opinion is that although Teavana does sell top-notch tea, I also think that it is possible to obtain similar products from other companies for lower prices.
This article outlines some of the other sources of buying high-quality loose leaf tea, sources that are cheaper than Teavana. Inexpensive does not necessarily mean low quality. I have tried to cover a broad range of prices in this article, so I will cover companies priced slightly lower than Teavana to those offering more bargain buys, but I will focus on companies that sell high-quality loose-leaf tea for reasonable prices.
Upton Tea Imports:
Upton is a very different sort of company from Teavana; it focuses on pure teas and single-origin teas, rather than blends. Its true strengths lie in black teas from India, such as Darjeeling and Assam, although it has quite a selection from China as well. Upton has many offerings which are priced well under $10 for 100-120grams, or about 1/4 a pound.
Ahmad is a brand of tea, based in London, which is marketed primarily towards a middle-eastern audience. Ahmad is the most popular brand of tea in Iran, and is widely available in boxes in middle-eastern stores. I find it to be an excellent choice for strong black and green teas; many of their offerings are under $10 a pound, yet have impressive quality for this price.
Sustainablity-focused companies: Rishi, Arbor Teas, Shanti Teas:
Three companies that I also like to recommend are Rishi Tea, Arbor Teas, and Shanti Teas. These companies tend to have significantly higher prices than Upton or Ahmad, but the higher prices are associated with an increased selection of organic certified and fair trade certified teas. These companies are all leaders in sustainability. Rishi, being the oldest of the three, is the best-known and the one whose teas I have had the most experience with. If you are going to pay top dollar for your tea, I would recommend buying from one of these companies; many of their teas are still cheaper than Teavana, but you will be paying to empower the tea producers, protect the environment, and preserve local traditions of production in developing countries rather than just paying for the high rents in high-end shopping malls that you are paying for when you buy Teavana’s tea.
Teavana’s teas are high quality, but are also high-priced, and are in my opinion, overpriced. There is no company exactly like Teavana, but there are many good alternatives from which you can buy loose-leaf tea at reasonable prices. My personal recommendations of companies to buy from include Upton, Ahmad Tea, and the sustainability-focused companies like Rishi, Arbor, and Shanti Tea, which have a lot of organic and fair trade certified offerings.