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Is it fair for me to rate and review teas?

34 Replies

First of all, welcome to the Steepster community!

From the Steepster guidelines: “Also, don’t rate your own teas because of the (obvious) conflict of interest. It’s misleading and everyone will figure it out anyways – you’ll turn away the very customers you’re trying to attract.”

So, it would be acceptable, I think, to rate other tea companies teas, so long as you’re fair about it. There have been instances in the past about companies that have come under false accounts and rated their competitors teas low while rating their own teas high in an effort to buffer the ratings.

So, as long as you’re fair, I don’t have a problem with you rating other people’s teas. As long as you’re honest and if you’re reviewing a tea you’ve helped create, let us know that up front.

K S said

Agreed. Deleting my personal opinion. Rules are rules.

Uniquity said

I thought that was posted somewhere, thanks for putting the quote though, LiberTeas!

I read the rules after I posted (Oops… my bad). I also emailed the head honchos and they explained that I can post a tasting note without a rating or review. They also emphasized the importance of making people aware that I work for the company that sells the tea.

Kittenna said

Yep, that sounds about right. Kudos to you for checking things out before going about posting things and getting people ticked off – you’ve probably already garnered a bit of respect simply from that.

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WtFGoD said

could you just review the tea without giving it a rating … that way people can read/understand what you think/feel about the tea without you giving 100 to your teas and 0 to others (exaggerating)

i think that moving the rating up/down (when rating own/competitors products) is not ethical even if you are not bias(whos to know)

but to just give people a better idea of what to expect from the tea is perfectly acceptable (maybe even a great contribution) as long as your not trying to sell/bash

(like a personal description)

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As long as you were fair and honest in your reviews, and objective… I see no problem with reviewing your own tea.
In regards to rating your own teas on the green rating bar, that would seem a little biased. However, if you really wanted to leave a “rating”, how about stating it in your review? that way it would not impact the already present scale. You could even change it an alpha system like they do it school, as in A+ through to F…
However, you’d have to be willing to give your own teas a lower grade if need be!

Including a numerical rating embedded within your review—such that it does not impact the overall Steepster rating—is a great idea!

The reality is, Anthony Borthwick, you can do whatever you want. AND, I want to let you know that I personally will value what you have to say in your review more if you are objective and honest about your written review, and if you leave off the numerical rating (as in, don’t use that slider bar to rate a tea).

On a related note, I am starting to consider not giving a rating to teas that I don’t like simply because I don’t like that particular type of tea (I am using the word ‘type’ loosely here, as in a SF Darjeeling, or a Ceylon, or a Tie Guan Yin, or a Keemun, or a Milk oolong, etc). For example, I hope to review Verdant Tea’s Da Hong Pao’s (Big Red Robe) soon, and I have had a few other Da Hong Pao’s before, and have not really cared for any of them. If I rated it based on how I liked it, I would probably give it something in the 60’s (as to me it’s OK, and has some merit, but not something I would choose to drink very often), but I don’t feel comfortable doing that, as it seems I may not even be able to recognize a really good Da Hong Pao even if it came up and slapped me in the face. : – }

thanks SimpliciTea! :)

Great idea Indigo!

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I would say that is not appropriate to numerically rate any teas. I own a tea company and I choose not to rate any other company’s tea. I feel like it would come off as dishonest even if intentions are to be fair. Its especially hard to be fair for your own teas. I create teas that I really enjoy, so I would automatically have high ratings for my teas and it would difficult for other companies to equally match my specific flavor preferences for flavored teas. For unflavored teas its a little easier to be fair when grading by quality but it might not come off that way. So far I have done 2 unrated reviews of my own tea on here and that I felt was ok because I’m transparent about it being my tea.

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Zeks said

Tbh, I am at a loss as to where this conversation has went… I mean.. if you like tea, how is it different to liking YOUR OWN tea? Seriously. Either opinion is biased by personal preferences and I cannot see how is it not appropriate to rate when the person at least tries not to be biased and is not going for cheap “bashing opponent’s tea rating” tactics.

Kittenna said

The problem is not with blenders/companies liking and enjoying their own tea. And perhaps they do like all their teas enough to rate them 100. The problem is that some tea companies have deliberately rated their own teas highly simply to raise ratings and presumably get more business, and it’s extremely difficult as a consumer to differentiate between teas that a company thinks are fabulous, and teas that have been rated highly just to boost sales, when perhaps they’re an inferior tea.

Either way, rating your own teas looks shady. High ratings seem fake/inflated, and low ratings – well, why are you selling a tea if you’d give it a low rating?! I’d refer people to say, David Duckler or DavidsTea’s pages, where you’ll see that they’ve written about their own teas, each in different styles. Basically, there is nothing wrong with a company praising and discussing their own tea, when we can see it’s from the company itself.

Really though, it’s impossible to stop companies from doing what they want. However, the obvious general preference of the Steepster community that companies should not rate (i.e. give a numerical rating using the ratings bar) their own teas. And really, why would you want to irritate such a large community of tea drinkers who are likely to be a fabulous customer base?

Very well put, Krystaleyn.

Here are a few previous threads on this topic—based on what I judge to be the relevant hits from searching the discussions threads using “Companies rating their own teas” (in the order listed):
http://steepster.com/discuss/331-tea-companies-rating-their-own-teas
http://steepster.com/discuss/1942-tea-companies-rating-their-own-teas
http://steepster.com/discuss/1070-fake-ratings
http://steepster.com/discuss/1290-expand-your-enjoyment-of-your-tea-collectioncupboard-by-creating-your-own-blends
http://steepster.com/discuss/1225-some-interesting-tea-rating-logs-i-was-able-to-uncover
http://steepster.com/discuss/1339-recommendation-for-online-tea-supplier
http://steepster.com/discuss/67-discussion-guidelines-read-before-participating (Check out #9, as this thread is what I believe to be the source of LiberTEAS reference to “the Steepster guidelines”)

I think my biggest worry with rating teas is how it will be perceived by others in the community. Obviously I trust myself and know I’m typing each word with good intentions. My intentions, however, will only take me so far. If the perception is that I’m trying to trick people into buying my tea then a good rating is pointless.

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I automatically view someone who is reviewing their own teas with skepticism. If you are in the business of selling tea and you’re here to promote yourself why would I trust your opinion?

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My final decision: I will post tasting notes on my company’s teas – especially if I can add helpful or fun info that is missing from the description – but I will not review/rate the teas.

I will also post notes on other companies teas but will shy away from reviews and ratings, with very few exception. Basically, if I am giving another company’s tea a rating then I must have really, really loved the tea.

Thanks for all your help everyone. I encourage you all to follow me to make sure I hold up to these standards - and feel free to call me out if you ever think I am being overly self-serving or spammy with my posts.

K S said

respect!

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