To be fair I have yet to find time to drink the tea I received from Teavivre, but in terms of shipping, communication and care for both tea and my needs as a customer, they are A-1. Like many others, I obtained my tea after Angel contacted me on Steepster offering free samples, which were sent out promptly, including 2 or 3 additional ones that I requested.
It took about a month for the package to arrive in Canada, which seems fair to me (and also was over Christmas, which likely slowed things down). The samples came in smaller bags within larger bags to keep them seperate and avoid smell mingling (of which there was none!). I did find the larger bags to smell very plasticky which would be offputting if the teas weren’t in seperate packaging inside but since they were it is sort of a non-issue.
Angel contacted me a few days after I received the package to inquire about it’s safety (no damage, yay!) and wished me luck with the teas, asking me to let her know if I had any additional questions. All in all, this is probably the best shipping experience I’ve had and I will certainly be placing an order with them when my tea cupboard is a little more bare.
Quick review for now: I live in Canada and have ordered from 52Teas numerous times. The shipping is always slow (3 or 4 weeks minimum) but it is also always free. I like that. I don’t always love the teas and lately find myself gravitating away from them (with a few exceptions – Merry Berry Rooibos and Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish I am looking at you!) but it was a great experience while it lasted, and the customer service was wonderful. The site was easy to navigate, payment was painless and my orders always had a brief handwritten note included on the receipt. While my tea tastes have changed and I find 52Teas lacking in some ways I still think this is a good company to support and I recommend them to those who enjoy flavoured or unusual blends.
UPDATE: 52Teas is now charging for shipping to Canada which is unfortunately the straw that broke the camel’s back. Though I still encourage others to give them a shot, I find the lengthy shipping time and high cost of tea BEFORE shipping (it’s about $9 for 56 grams which is pretty high for rooibos, honeybush and black teas) to be too much, especially if you factor in $2 shipping cost for the first pouch, $.50 for each additional. I would rather try a tea before I buy it, and it needs to be pretty spectacular to get me to pay 9 dollars for 50 grams.
Verdant Tea is a shop that I have greatly enjoyed communicating with and purchasing from – despite my qualms with ordering online. I prefer to shop local and independent, and leave online shopping out of the equation. However, Verdant’s quality and commitment was enough to make me ‘take the plunge’ (all for the sake of good tea, of course). Shipping was free (a great bonus if you live in Canada and order from the US) and well packed – the teas were in their seperate bags, and the tea charms I ordered were in a seperate envelope within the larger (solid) box. It arrived within a few weeks (standard for regular shipping to Canada) and everything was intact and as ordered, with a bonus of two generous samples.
I happened to make my purchase during a sale and had no issues with my codes or transaction. I corresponded with David a few times over the course of my order and he was very helpful with questions, even offering to send another package out at one point (I despaired that Canada Post stole my tea – Luckily they did not!). The tea itself is a wonderful quality, and a testament to Verdant’s commitment to quality and service. I am looking to make another order in the near future once I’ve made a bit of room in my tea cupboard – I highly recommend trying their teas!
My only online experience with this company was a bit of a disaster. Not quite on the level of Aisling of Tea’s debacle, but still unpleasant and enough to turn me off the company. Yes, I enjoy their products but their customer service is terrible (but apparently only if you are Canadian).
I placed my order on Tuesday February 15, and on the 22nd I contacted the company looking for shipping information (as my confirmation e-mail said it would be 2-3 business days for processing.) On the 25th I finally received a response saying my package was mailed that day, as it takes them up to a week to process International orders and there was an American holiday earlier in the month which put them behind. Keep in mind that in my confirmation e-mail said 2-3 days, and I waited 10 just to have it shipped.
From this point (10 days after placing my order) I waited another two weeks for my tea. Granted, when it arrived there was no issue with the tea but I have refused to order from (and advised others against) ordering from Harney based on this poor service. Again, while I like the tea, I would rather shop somewhere that values me as a customer. I’ve heard many glowing reviews of Harney’s customer service from my American friends and many more stories of terrible waits and lack of information for my Canadian ones. Clearly there are some issues with Harney’s International policy.
My go-to locale for DT, since it’s more convenient. Not much to say about it…If you’ve ever been to a David’s Tea then you know what they are all like: a wall of tea, staff who love it and will enthusiastically convince you to smell everything. Too much focus (from the company, I would assume) on encouraging people to try EVERYTHING, but it’s not a hard sell. I like the staff, I love the tea. I’ve never sat in for a tea (a bit too commercial for relaxation, much as I love it) but I do have loads and loads at home.
EDIT: I have actually sat in for a tea a couple times in the past few months and actually really like to do so, despite how very small the seating area is. In the summer, the big front window was open and it was neat to sit there with my tea and still feel involved with the world. I had a chat with a little girl in a stroller and patted a dog while enjoying tea – How much better can it get?
Absolutely in love. The owner knows what she’s doing – in so many ways! She taught me, but she wasn’t pushy, she offered advice and recommendations, but only after I made sure she knew I was interested in them. The beau, a friend and I stayed til the store closed to enjoy a tea in the lovely french press style individual serve pots, and we bought lots to take home. The teaware is great, the tea is great and the service is great. Next time someone asks me to go out for coffee, I’ll be guiding them to Sawadee, to learn the loveliness of tea..
The prices are also great for teaware, and better for tea…higher weights of tea cost less (I think it’s .50 savings per 50 grams?) and there seems to be a discount if you return the emptied tins. You can peruse all the teas, and smell what you want, drink in store or buy some to take home. I, for one, did and will continue to do all three!
I’ve never been into the Mahone Bay (IE actual) location of The Tea Brewery, but I do get some tea from them now nearly every Sunday at the Market. They’ve got a smaller booth set up, but seem to bring in their full range of teas – space is at a premium. You can buy a desired amount, or there are pre-packaged samples of tea for $2 if you’d like to try. The weight of these samples varies, but since I picked up an equivalent amount of oolong and rooibos for the same price in samples, it’s a steal! I learned yesterday that if there is a specific one you’d like to sample, they will do one up for you on the spot! They also carry pre filled tins of certain teas, if you want something quick to pick up, but still delicious.
Finally, the coup de grace for me – They have 4 or 5 hot samples on the go at any given time. You can take a sip and see what you think, or buy a cup while you wander around if you’d like. I keep saying I don’t need more tea. The Tea Brewery thinks it’s fun to prove me wrong.
I suppose it’s unfair to rate a store where you haven’t tried the tea, but it seemed a small collection – nicely displayed, but in clear glass containers. Light is still a no-no when it comes to tea storage, right? : )
The sales clerk recommended going to a smaller sample wall on the left to smell the options, but it didn’t look like all the teas were there. If so, the selection is smaller than I thought. Very relaxed atmosphere, but unfortunately I was looking for a bit of guidance, especially upon entering a tea store I’ve never been in before.
I was looking for a good apple cinnamon tea and got excited when it seemed to be the tea of the day, but in reality they were steeping chai tea in apple cider. Seemed like cheating to me. I didn’t buy anything and I don’t know that I’ll be back without hearing a recommendation.
I am a big David’s Tea fan – They brought me into the world of loose leaf tea. As many already know, David’s Tea features a wall of tea tins, coded by type. Ask and you shall receive – you can smell any kind, and buy any weight. Yes, the tea can be dusty sometimes from being shipped and stored in larger quantities, but I am almost always pleased with my selections. If I’m not, it’s usually because I don’t actually enjoy a flavour I thought I might.
The staff can be pushy, but they can also be extremely thoughtful, patient with exact lists or vague statements. If I go in and ask for something with orange, I will get my options. Yum!