Shopping for Teas online
My first tea purchase was from Upton. I was in the market for a Chatsford teapot and they have a very nice affordable selection. Here is a list of the places I have ordered from:Upton, Strand Tea Company, Dr. Teas, Teavana.
The thing I really like about Dr. Tea’s is that all the teas come in a tea tin…no need for an additional purchase. His shipping is high, but the tea is really good and he will email you back right away. The Strand Tea Co. will also email back quick.
You might be more comfortable with online shopping if you check with your local tea shops. My first online tea shopping experience came out of necessity. I had planned to run by a local shop, Anna Maries to pick up something for a gift. Before you know it – time got away from me. I phoned the shop to see if I could order some tea by phone. They were just getting their website up and running and encouraged me to give it a try. It couldn’t have been easier – ordered, gift wrapped and on its way within the hour. I still shop in the store on regular basis, especially after one of their tea parties but … when shopping for a gift, I let them handle it completely. I feel like I get the best of both worlds (online & storefront) this way.
I always like to support small family owned outfits whenever I can. I’m the same with my coffee having found a little mom & pop outfit that does their own roasting. I get great customer support plus I feel like these people need our support in this economy.
I love sites that specifically sell only one type of tea or tea from a specific region. Den’s Tea only sells Japanese greens and matchasource.com only sells matcha and related products. Are there any other specialty sites/companies out there?
I’ve been going to ww.jollygoodtea.com for a couple years now. She’s quick, and at this point I tend to order tea in larger quantities. I had just ordered the Yorkshire Harrogate loose leaf tea. It was $11.50 for 8 ounces with $5.95 added for shipping USPS Priority, or $20.95 for 16 ounces with $8.50 (a little more) added for shipping USPs Priority. So yes I’m paying more than I had intened, but I LOVE this tea and plan to have it every morning. So I’ll save because I’m not doing repeated orders and forking out an extra $5.95 each time for shipping. Does anyone else use this method with their favorite teas?
Absolutely, that and there’s less chance of you running out because you’re placing orders less often. Stocking up is good all around:)
sorry if this is a silly question— does tea go bad?
would you be interested in a plan that automatically ships your tea every so-many days (assuming shipping was free or negligible) rather than buying it in bulk? Or is buying it in bulk okay?
Not a silly question. Yes. Tea does go bad. Or leas deminish in quality. Light and humity kill tea quickly. Depending on the source, the average shelf life of tea is a couple months to a couple years. Although one woman here logged a tea she drank after 10 years and it was still good!
Wow thank you all for sharing your experiences! it’s really great to see that you all seem willing to support the smaller, mom and pop sellers. I’m sorry I haven’t responded sooner, I stopped getting the e-mails! Oops.
A few more questions, of course. :)
When you’re on a tea website shopping, do you ever use the search box to find that you want? Or do you move through the site using the provided navigation?
Would you consider some teas more popular than others—not just your opinion, but trends you might have noticed. For example, is black tea more popular than white tea in general? is oolong tea having a really prominent year or something?
would it beneficial for a website to have a live chat person? do you find that you have a lot of questions while you shop about teas or buying info that speaking to a customer service chat person would help?
thank you all!
YES! Live chat and customer reviews are an ABSOLUTE MUST in my book. Also a phone number contact.
I doubt that there are trends that you can track as to what’s more popular than something else. Everyone is at different points on their tea journey, tastes change, and every person is different. I’d say that overall white is probably seeing a little boost in popularity as it’s being discovered by the western world.
Live chat is definitely NOT essential. But it’s a perk. Simple e-mail suffices. I don’t expect a small company to have someone sitting there all day prepared to answer every asinine question I have. It’s more than likely a waste of their time and resources unless they could afford it.
I use both a search box and provided navigation. I assume that’s the norm?
In regards to customer service, though, I really like the little touches. Like the fact that TeaGschwendner included a personalized note, signed by an actual person, and a free sample. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside – like there’s someone on the other end that’s tied to this tea and cares enough to reach out to me.
I love the signed note idea. I got post card after my 1st visit at my local tea co. There was a sticker on it for 10% off 1oz of tea (teas there are sold by the ounce in bulk.
Oh and also, how familiar with regions are you all? Does everyone know where Assam tea is from—or just the middle to expert tea drinkers? What about specific Japanese or Chinese regions such as Bancha or Hua Ding? How interested are you in knowing the specific region a tea is from over just the country of origin?
Today is National Free Shipping Day (online purchases only). Any tea companies participating?
Ive just started into my loose tea experience .So far Ive received some samples from one company to try and will be purchasing from them one or two I enjoyed.My problem is there isnt any place where I live to puchase loose leaf beyond a couple tins of twinings in a grocery store.So that leaves me looking online however I dont use paypal or use online credit card services due to security issues and finding a tea outlet that has a phone order service is a problem at times.I am about to purchase my first tea order over the phone so Im pretty excited. I wish more companys could provide you with a sample that would fit inside a regular first class mail envelope so sampling isnt so expensive with the shipping charges just for an minimum of an ounce of tea sample.
I order from Harney & Sons, Upton, and Teas etc. so far. I have been VERY happy with the service (prompt), prices and any extras I received. But I use the friends I have on this site to experiment with other companies.
I’ve always wanted to order from Upton- I was actually considering them for my tea scale and matcha set purchases. Have you ever gotten any extras from them? Free sample? Coupon? Adagio used to put samples in orders- I even got a bottle of their iced tea once. But that hasn’t happend in a long time.
I let my tea instinct guide me when it comes to online tea shopping. I recent bought two teas from Bag Ladies and had not only excellent tea, but excellent service. The bags come with a quote on the tag and I suspect someone at Bag Ladies somehow found out I was a Peter Gabriel fan and draped the tag with a PG quote on it to dangle outside of the reuseable canister. Unless they always do that and it was a major coincidence that the quote happened to be one from PG. Of course, I’m never going to drink that bag of Ceylon tea. I think I’ll frame it.