Teavana opens at mall

Hey tea lovers, the long-awaited Teavana  tea store had a soft opening Thursday at Miller Hill Mall.

But it didn’t stay quiet for long. Shoppers, apparently deprived of rare specialty teas for too long, converged on the new shop last weekend. The store offers a changing sampling of brewed teas each day.

By Saturday afternoon, things were hopping at the store. Besides a wide selection of rare loose teas from around the world — including green, black, white, oolong, mate and herbal infusions — they offer cast iron and other tea sets and all sorts of tea paraphrenalia.

The store’s large tea selection includes such offerings as:  Strawberry Rose Champagne (a French-inspried oolong tea), Samurai Chai Mate (a caffeine-rich green tea), Guava Papaya Passion (a white tea made with passionfruit) and Golden Monkey (a black tea that’s one of the top 10 teas of China).

It’s all a matter of taste. But among those I sampled, my favorite was Maharaja Chai Oolong, a rich tea made with spices including cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutty cardamon that’s supposed to be robust. But to me, it was smooth and flavorful.

The loose-leaf teas are sold by the ounce, starting with  a minimum of two ounces, costing  $7 to $12, a store staffer said. But because of the quality of the leaves and other ingredients, you can use them for brewing more than once.