Help Me Review Online Tea Retailers!

87 Replies

I just added BourgeaTEA to the online places.

After reading your review: I agree that the little things really do make a difference. I’ve had similar experiences where I feel I am ‘just another customer’ (no personalization to the experience what-so-ever). And I hear you when you state there are plenty of “other companies out there that treat me better.” I tend to want to buy again and again from those, too.

Oh, and I don’t like wasteful packaging either.

Yes… it wasn’t as though I was treated bad or anything, but, I was just another customer … it was kind of like shopping at the grocery store, you know? I got what I paid for, I got it in a timely manner, but, there was just nothing special about it.

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I just added a listing and a review for Still Water tea, and I added a review of The Tea Spot earlier this week.

I’m glad to hear that both your and Dinosara’s experiences with The Tea Spot were positive.

I like that the owner tells us a little about herself in the ‘About Us’ section for Still Water tea.

About your review on Still Water Tea (and I hope you find this encouraging), I believe that the true value in reviews lies in the honesty with which the review is written; it seems you were honest by telling us how important the little things are to you (I can totally relate). Being honest not only helps the potential customer who reads the review, but it can also encourage the company to make changes based on the review; at least, I think the best companies do this. After all, how will they know what’s important to us, the customer, unless we speak up? And, as many people don’t seem to feel comfortable giving constructive feedback directly (I consider myself pretty direct, but at times I still have a hard time with giving constructive feedback), what better place to do it than in a review?

I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of their teas in your reviews.

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I just added Townshend’s Tea to the online tea reviews. They also have a physical tea shop and if you happen to live in the Portland area (or if you’re visiting) you really should visit it. I love that place!!! Make a day of it and spend some time shopping on Alberta Street.

I’m glad you liked them.

The Matejuana looks very interesting.
http://www.townshendstea.com/matejuana.html

The jars they store their tea in (which you can buy) are very cool. I’ve never seen anything like them before (I prefer keeping tea in glass jars, especially the more visually appealing ones, so I can actually ‘see’ it). http://www.townshendstea.com/teaware/extras/townshend-s-tea-jar.html

I ordered the Matejuana tea with this order I placed… just haven’t taken the time to try it yet.

What I do like about most of the teas that they store, though, is that they store them in tins (or at least they DID when I visited them last), because … I don’t like it when a company stores their tea in jars. It makes me mad, actually. I got angry with one B&M tea shop that did that and walked out before ordering. Sure, tea is pretty and I like to see it too, but, tea should be in something to protect it from the light. And I don’t think a jar does this adequately. That being said, these jars are very appealing, and something I’d want for the artist in me, so that I can alter it or something. :)

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This is pretty neat however, the tea lounge that is pretty much one block from my house is now Gelati Martini Lounge. used to be One Tea Lounge in Wilton Manors, FL. Is it easy to remove as it is to add?

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SimplyJenW said

I just had to come in here and warn again against using Fortnum & Mason online shop. This whole back and forth process to get a refund has been almost 5 months. I had to get my credit card company involved. I had assurances from the company of a full refund or the refund of shipping which turned out to be worthless. My holiday order was for about $130USD of goods with $30USD to ship. Not a bad shipping to goods ratio, or so I thought. They sent $15USD worth of goods and then cancelled the rest of my order. I did not get the refund of shipping that they had promised ($30 is a good chunk of change to me). So I have two jars of preserves that cost me $45USD total. I really wanted the 5 tins of tea. Such an order failure. They seriously failed me.

SimplyJenW said

And just so you are certain that my experience was not some freakish accident:

http://www.urbanpath.com/london/department-stores/fortnum-and-mason.htm#main

The first three pages (at least) are similar experiences……I did not read further, but so wished I had looked this up before ordering.

Dinosara said

Jen, I read some of those reviews and I am astounded! How on earth can a company function like that? Do they ever deliver anything? It boggles the mind.

SimplyJenW said

Yes. Unbelievable. I so wish I had read the reviews first. Some of those reviews go back to last holiday season and before. It seems like business as usual for them.

Advice: Get your F&M teas from Williams Sonoma if you are in the States if you must have it. Me, I have gone on to much better teas elsewhere.

Hi @SimplyJenW – I did read your review of this company and I’m not planning on placing an order with them, that’s for sure. I feel really bad for all that you’ve gone through with them… it’s really a shame to learn about how badly you and others are being treated by them. I do hope that it comes to a positive resolution for you soon – err, that is, I hope that you get your money back soon!

SimplyJenW said

Unfortunately, there is not an electronic tie between my emails from them and my invoice of goods received. The bank has said I have to pay since F&M sent them a corrected invoice with the preserves and the shipping charge. In other words, the word of their CS people means nothing. If I wanted to get a refund without the involvement of my bank, I was going to have to make an overseas phone call to give them my credit card number. How many red flags does that set off for you?

TONS! And I would be very skeptical too. However, it could be that they don’t have your credit card information to issue you a refund (as many companies don’t actually store that information in their database, depending upon what processing system for credit cards they utilize). But, given the issues you’ve already had with them, I can definitely understand the hesitancy to want to give them the card number.

What a frustrating situation.

SimplyJenW I am as saddened as the rest to hear of your ongoing experience with them. I looked at the reviews at the link you gave. I glanced at the first 20 reviews on that page—all 1 star out of a possible 5 stars, and all had horror stories to tell. Wow. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to push for more reviews of online companies out here, rather than just the teas Themselves. Someone may write about their experience, for example, in a tea review, but then it is buried in a place that others may never find (I have run in to a number of these only because someone I am following wrote about it in their review of a tea). Having a separate place for them helps others to more easily find this kind of information.

I am also astounded at this pattern with F&M. It counterpoints the importance of doing, and making easily available, company reviews; that way—ideally, at least—the companies that provide good tea with good customer service will survive, and the ones that do not provide anything worthwhile, won’t (it may take time, but if they continue on their course, eventually they will go out of business; and all the more quickly for any reviews written about them; a bit of wisdom, ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ comes to mind just now). I see this as one of the benefits (and/or a direct consequence of) a free market economy (I use that phrase here loosely, by the way). But communication is the key for this kind of accountability to work. People must speak up about their experiences, and the rest of us must have a way of finding out about them.

The bummer thing is, it doesn’t get you your money, or the things your ordered, back. : (

SimplyJenW said

To be fair to F&M, I think I still have a chance at getting my full refund. I think the issue now is more communication between their CS and Finance Depts. internally, and then with my bank. But it is almost May, and I placed this order in November……. It has been a huge headache.

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WtFGoD said

should have a separate section for online tea shops
since they are used so much to obtain tea

SimplyJenW said

We kind of do. On the places page…..take your location out of the first box by backspacing. Then in the box after ‘named’ type online. That is where you will find all of the reviews mentioned in this thread and more.

WtFGoD said

yes but thats kind of “jumping through hoops” and most people may not know that

would prolly get a lot more reviews if it had its own tab/area

SimplyJenW said

Agreed, but I am not the coder for this site, so we make what is here work for us until we have that option.

I’m glad you brought this up and voiced your want on this, WtFGoD.

In the topic of this thread (first page, first ‘post’) I mention how I have communicated with Jason—one of the administrators of this site (btw, I am not one of them)—regarding my want, as you have mentioned, that they have a separate section for reviewing online tea retailers. You can e-mail him directly if you’d like ([email protected]), but last time we communicated about this (although it’s been months now), his reply mentioned something to the effect of, a way to review online tea retailers (and an appropriate place to put/keep them) is in the works. So, for now, as SimplyJenW mentions, the method mentioned in the topic seems—at least to me—to be the best way to review them given the way things are currently designed (at least, the best way I am aware of). Certainly, if you have any ideas, it wouldn’t hurt to post them out here (I would be interested in hearing any way to use what we currently have to review them), or email Jason.

Still, I agree with your last statement. And hopefully we will have a dedicated area to review them soon! I believe the more folks speak up about wanting it the more likely it is to happen, so I’m glad you spoke up! : )

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There are now over 50 online ‘Places’ listed thanks to many of you (and in large part due to LiberTEAS)! =)

The more that I hear about the experiences of others with buying online, and the more I hear others wanting to know which online company to buy from, the more I see the usefulness of writing and placing reviews here http://steepster.com/places?near=&name=online.

Anyone else had any experiences buying online that you want to share with the rest of us (so we can benefit from it)?

I will soon! I just placed two orders, my first time online! and am waiting on the shipments :)

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K S said

I am not sure I did this correctly but if I did Fusion Teas has been added.

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Jason admin said

This is awesome btw. Adding a link to this in the FAQ.

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Could someone come review our tea site? I would love to know what people thought of it!
http://www.satyatea.com

Ciao,
~David Moore, Satya Tea

I just surfed all around it like I would if I were shopping. Unfortunately I’m broke at the moment, but I saw many teas I would have bought! Anyway, I think the colors on your website are soothing and go together well; it all looks professional. The site is easy to navigate. I noticed on several of the main tea pages the words “Loose Lease Tea” are written instead of “Loose Leaf Tea.” It was easy to put a tea in the shopping cart and continue shopping. All in all I think it’s a lovely customer-oriented site. Hope this helps.

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