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Tea of the morning…..

I purchased another round of 2 oz samples from the Harney Millerton Shop. I love getting tea in 2 oz amounts for sampling. The samples on their website work, but I prefer having a little more time to make my decision about purchasing larger quantities. Sarah was the one who filled my order, and was the one who handled my email correspondence. She was very helpful and very professional. There were questions I sent to the main website that were more easily answered by her at the shop, and I appreciate the extra effort to get me an answer.

Skip this part if you want….it is my mini-rant about online customer service in general. Not specific to Harney. (I was asking about the Black Jasmine and when it might return to stock. I have not yet gotten an answer from the web form inquiry, which I am guessing the person who handles those questions did not know the answer. Sarah asked Michael Harney for me. Sometimes it is knowing who to ask. Also, I wish that whoever answers the web form understands that an ‘I don’t know’ answer is perfectly acceptable! Just answer the inquiry rather than leaving someone hanging! I often wonder if people who have worked customer service in person realize that there is a different way of handling service by correspondence. You need to answer every single email in a timely fashion. If the customer does not get an email response in a few days, it seems like he is being ignored rather than his issue being looked into or it does not have a direct answer….. The “in person” equivalent from the customer’s perspective: You are working the counter, and they are the only person standing there having asked a question, and you are pretending like you did not hear them. )

I am in a spot where I am almost out of my 8 oz. of Malachi McCormick that is my favorite breakfast beverage, so I decided to try a few more options for my breakfast tea of choice before diving into another 8-16 oz. Supreme Breakfast sounded like it would be a good contender as it has higher quality teas of the same varieties that are in my beloved Malachi. I also ordered a few ounces of Eight at the Fort, Palm Court(Titanic)*, Organic Assam, and Irish Breakfast. Let the trials begin!

Tippy Assam and Hao Ya B. This is really good. It is a more refined version of Malachi McCormick. The leaves are finer and I can see the golden tips in comparison to Malachi. The taste is smooth and malty with a touch of smoke and cocoa, plus a velvety mouthfeel. I am glad I have more of this to figure out if I want this one or Malachi. Or maybe 8 oz of each…..which kind of defeats the purpose of trying to simplify and pick one….. I just hope I don’t end up with 5 winners plus the Malachi.

Usual teapot method with a 3 minute steep.

*Surprisingly, my receipt listed it this way, so I am guessing that means Palm Court and Titanic are the same blend. I am so not sorry I bought the Titanic Blend, though. The tin is so pretty.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

2 Emails I sent to Harney were never answered. One concerned my credit card which was used by someone else right after placing an order with them.

SimplyJenW

Sometimes I wonder if a web form even works when I don’t get answered…. I work in online CS and I see how the customer feels about non-answered emails because some of our customers post on an outside forum kind of similar to this. There does need to be a respect for business hours, but all emails should be answered even if it is just to say for example “we have received your email. Unfortunately we don’t have an estimated time of restocking of x at this point. Mr. Harney is looking for a tea that meets his standards and has not found any.” How hard is that?

So sorry about the credit card thing. Are you sure it could be traced back to them? I have called a few times and gotten great service. If it was as serious as the credit card, I probably would have called.

Electronic CS is a young field and the rules of in person/by phone don’t apply. They need to spend more time on it!

SimpliciTEA

I totally agree with “I wish that whoever answers the web form understands that an ‘I don’t know’ answer is perfectly acceptable! … it seems like he is being ignored rather than his issue being looked into or it does not have a direct answer.” My guess is that when they (an online business) get an electronic communication (email, webform, etc) that they can’t answer right away, they think it’s better to not answer it (and then, the world being ‘busy’ as it is, my guess is they don’t track it to enable them to get back to it at some later date) rather than admit, in same way, shape, or form: “I DON’T KNOW”. I have been a teacher and a trainer for much of my life, and it’s hard to admit it when I can’t answer a student’s question; but I have found, “I don’t know, but I will look into it and get back to you.” to be a much better ‘answer’ (and then to follow up with them, even if the response is, “I’m sorry, I looked but I could not find anything. You may want to try looking here …”) than just letting the question drop. The customer/student may not initially like an answer like, “I don’t know,” but they know at least you were honest (and if you followed up, you made an attempt to find the answer).

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Comments

Charles Thomas Draper

2 Emails I sent to Harney were never answered. One concerned my credit card which was used by someone else right after placing an order with them.

SimplyJenW

Sometimes I wonder if a web form even works when I don’t get answered…. I work in online CS and I see how the customer feels about non-answered emails because some of our customers post on an outside forum kind of similar to this. There does need to be a respect for business hours, but all emails should be answered even if it is just to say for example “we have received your email. Unfortunately we don’t have an estimated time of restocking of x at this point. Mr. Harney is looking for a tea that meets his standards and has not found any.” How hard is that?

So sorry about the credit card thing. Are you sure it could be traced back to them? I have called a few times and gotten great service. If it was as serious as the credit card, I probably would have called.

Electronic CS is a young field and the rules of in person/by phone don’t apply. They need to spend more time on it!

SimpliciTEA

I totally agree with “I wish that whoever answers the web form understands that an ‘I don’t know’ answer is perfectly acceptable! … it seems like he is being ignored rather than his issue being looked into or it does not have a direct answer.” My guess is that when they (an online business) get an electronic communication (email, webform, etc) that they can’t answer right away, they think it’s better to not answer it (and then, the world being ‘busy’ as it is, my guess is they don’t track it to enable them to get back to it at some later date) rather than admit, in same way, shape, or form: “I DON’T KNOW”. I have been a teacher and a trainer for much of my life, and it’s hard to admit it when I can’t answer a student’s question; but I have found, “I don’t know, but I will look into it and get back to you.” to be a much better ‘answer’ (and then to follow up with them, even if the response is, “I’m sorry, I looked but I could not find anything. You may want to try looking here …”) than just letting the question drop. The customer/student may not initially like an answer like, “I don’t know,” but they know at least you were honest (and if you followed up, you made an attempt to find the answer).

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Bio

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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