Yes, I know, another post about tea.
In my last post on tea, I talked about shaking up the coffee-drinkers routine by adding tea to the mix. With different flavors for all palates, great health benefits, and less caffeine jitters, tea is truly a great option for people who are tired of coffee or want to add another caffeine addiction to their day (I, personally, drink both because I love having multiple beverages to choose from at any given time).
Now I want to talk about bad tea, and how certain companies sell it by thriving off the terrible, terrible sugar epidemic in America.
Basically, I want to talk about Teavana.
When people are introduced to tea, it’s generally because they walked through the mall and stumbled across this interesting store called Teavana. A cheery associate in an apron approaches them as they meander by the storefront and offers them a sample cup of delicious tea. Maybe it’s fruity, maybe it’s minty … but whatever it is, it’s damn delicious. It’s sweet, addictive, and popping with intense flavors that leave you craving more.
So of course, the unsuspecting mall patrons enter Teavana to learn more and get hooked by their sales tactics and sweet, sweet loose leaf tea. Tea, Teavana tells them, that will detoxify you, boost your metabolism, hydrate your skin, and cure other health issues for only a mere $25 per 40-50 cups.
Tea is not a cure for all ailments. Like anything, tea is good (in moderation) in combination with other lifestyle changes. Drinking a cup of tea in place of your morning cup of coffee or afternoon Pepsi, for example, will help you lose weight because you just cut back on the sugar in the soda or the creamer you put in your coffee. Really, one of the biggest reasons tea is better for you is because it helps take the place of other choices, worse choices.
So it’s surprising to find, for a company who promotes tea as being good for your health, that they load their tea samples with Belgian rock sugar. Rock sugar is unrefined sugar that sweetens food and drinks without changing the flavor. A little goes a long way to sweeten up a cup, but at the end of the day, it’s still sugar. In fact, while many people tout rock sugar as being “purer and healthier” than regular sugar, rock sugar has 25 calories per teaspoon compared to white sugar’s 10 calories per teaspoon! Even more so, rock sugar is bad for your teeth and has all the negative effects as regular sugar.
What does this have to do with Teavana? Well, Teavana makes its tea samples taste soooooo good by pumping their tea pots with … you guessed it, rock sugar. No wonder their tea draws people in! According to a former Teavana employee (and others I’ve talked to in person), they put “half a cup of German Rock Sugar” in “a 32-oz brew” of one of their iced tea sample pots. That’s 600 calories in each batch! For individual cups, they suggest using anywhere between 2-6 teaspoons of rock sugar at home. While better, that’s still 50-150 calories per cup of tea.
Sure, 150 calories a day for tea doesn’t seem like a lot, but the point is … how can you promote your product as healthy if it’s loaded with sugar right off the bat? Especially for unsuspecting customers who don’t realize what’s in each sample brew?
Remember the unsuspecting customers at the beginning of the post? I was one of those customers, and Teavana was my first introduction to tea. The sample I received was out of this world good, especially for an 18 year old who loved Caribou coolers and other sugary drinks. Thinking this was what tea was, that this was the essence of tea, I went in and bought some. It was only when I got home that I realized the tea I bought tasted nothing like the sample I’d received in the store. And when I went back to ask about it? I was sold a 4 oz bag of rock sugar and told to sweeten my teas with as much as I wanted.
How exactly is this healthy again? How exactly am I boosting my metabolism and shedding the pounds by consuming ounces upon ounces of sugar water?
America is truly in the middle of a sugar epidemic. Companies have found that people aren’t interested in a product if it doesn’t taste sweet. Sugar is addictive, and tea has become a victim of this sugar-no sugar war in so many ways.
If you want real tea with down-to-earth health benefits, avoid Teavana. Drink tea without loads of sugar. Retrain your tastebuds and enjoy the true taste of tea … not tea filled with deceit and six teaspoons of rock sugar.