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Hugo Tea Company has launched! Huzzah!

After 18 months of sourcing, buying, testing, tasting, re-tasting designing, packing, fidgeting, and tiger-taming, Hugo Tea Company (wwww.hugotea.com) has officially launched.

Huzzah!

Some things we’d like to share:

1) We offer a limited selection of imminently drinkable teas, never more than five. Hugo Tea isn’t a tea super-store.

2) Hugo Tea is 100% Organic, 100% Natural tea. (Mostly Fair Trade, too!). There is no fruit, no flowers, and no herbs of any kind. Only 100% pure tea. The fruit that companies put in certain teas is certainly fancy, but it adds no flavor—the flavor in “fruit” teas comes from the artificial and natural flavors that are doused on the leaves. Indeed, nothing is wrong with that, it’s just not our game.

3) Tea is (and always has been) about more than the leaves brewing in the cup. As such, we’ve given a tremendous amount of effort to design and branding. We are excited to hear your feedback—there has been hundreds of hours devoted to bringing Hugo to life.

4) Shipping is a bunch of poppycock! We have taken tremendous efforts to control shipping costs. We hope you’ll find Hugo’s Shipping Policy satisfactory. Going forward, this is a priority for Hugo Tea Company.

5) We’ve certainly heard it before: “why is tea misunderstood?”, “why is coffee so much cooler than tea?”, “what is so strange about being passionate about tea?” Aside from selling great teas, Hugo Tea Company also seeks to show these tea naysayers the true pleasure of tea. The fact is—tea is better for the environment, better for your body and mind, and better for your wallet than all of the alternatives. Tea is a hero’s drink. It means something great to be a Tea Drinker.

6) You can support our mission without being a customer—you can follow the adventure on Facebook (facebook.com/hugotea) and twitter (twitter.com/hugoteaco).

We hope to see you soon.

Cheers,

Tyler Beckett
[email protected]
Founder, Hugo Tea Company
www.hugotea.com

32 Replies
Nik select said

Congratulations on the launch, Tyler, and all the best to you!

A little feedback on the web site:

A lot of companies throw up a cookie-cutter web site, pop in a shopping cart, and call it a day. It works, but it doesn’t help them stand out from the pack. So I can see why you’ve put such an effort into the site’s design, and it really is beautiful. That said, it could be a little more functional.

- A mobile version of the site would be nice. On my phone’s web browser, it’s pretty difficult to tap the left/right arrows of the shop without first zooming in. And speaking of arrows…
- With such a choice selection (never more than five, you said), there’s really no reason to require user interaction to scroll through the catalogue. Upon clicking the “shop” link, all five selections should be visible at once. This will require a bit of redesign on your part, but it will increase the site’s usability.
- I’m really not a fan of single-page site designs. This isn’t just an aesthetic thing, as visually I think they’re neat and, geek that I am, I appreciate the CSS+JavaScript bells and whistles. From a usability standpoint, though, they’re almost as bad as Flash web sites. For example, if I wanted to send someone to read about the Organic Hill Station black tea, I can’t send them a direct link. I have to tell them, okay, go to the Hugo Tea web site, click on the “shop” link, find the Organic Hill Station tea, then click the “more info” button. For someone who really just wants to read the spec sheet on a particular tea, that’s kind of a drag, and it’d probably dissuade them from visiting at all.

I don’t mean any offense. I hope it’s clear that I’m offering this constructive criticism with the best of intentions. I really think that, thanks to tea’s diversity and versatility, there’s plenty of room in this market for anyone offering a quality product. As a consumer, I’m happy to welcome another vender to the market and especially to Steepster. I hope you find the feedback helpful.

Of course your feedback isn’t offensive. We understand that different people have different tastes (in design and in tea). We are working on the code to allow direct linking to various section of the site—thanks for the recommendation. Look for various usability updates in the coming weeks. Including: more HTML optimization and improved design.

Thanks again for the feedback. Your comments have already been submitted to our dev team.

Cheers,

Tyler

Nik select said

Thanks, Tyler, I appreciate that. =)

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ashmanra said

Congratulations! I wish you all the best!

Thank you!

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ashmanra said

Oh dear, the site won’t show me the tea! When I click on a tea all text and pictures disappear just leaving a background, and nothing ever loads! I will visit again in the near future!

Nik select said

I didn’t have this issue, so it’s possible it’s browser- or browser version-related. If you have any other browsers installed, maybe give one of them a go?

ashmanra said

Thanks, Nik! I will give that a try! I am using an iPad. I will switch to the desktop.

Let’s get this fixed. The site has been tested extensively on several IOS devices, but you must have found the lucky hidden bug. Congrats, drink some tea.

Are you using Safari? What else can you tell me about the issue?

Thanks for exploring the site!

Nik select said

ashmanra & Tyler, I just tried the site on my iPad (iOS 6) and it’s true that tapping More Info clears the space, but it’s just for a minute; after that, the tea’s info populates the area. ashmanra, is it possible that it’s a connection speed issue? If you wait a minute, does the information eventually appear, or does the space stay blank?

I tested this myself by turning off Wi-Fi and letting the cellular network take over, and the information did take a little bit to show up. Also, the tri-picture slider at the top of the page is working fine on my iPad, but doesn’t populate at all on my iPhone (also iOS6, Safari) with Wi-Fi turned off. When I turn Wi-Fi back on and refresh the page, the slider works fine. It seems like the design might be a little heavy for mobile devices with Wi-Fi disabled.

ashmanra said

Okay, it seems to be working now, the tri-slider is working fine. The only issue I have now is that I looked at the five teas and it is stuck on the second page. No matter how I try to go back, it won’t show me the first three teas again, even if I leave the site entirely and come back. I am using iOS 6 Safari. I will keep trying…I know there is always the potential for user error. That’s why it needs to be idiot proof! :D

Okay, just tried again and it worked. It took me back to the first three. I will check my desktop now and see if there are any issues with that!

Well, poo, now it is acting up again. To the desktop I go, for reals, right now!

ashmanra said

Okay, I am on the desktop using google chrome. I am having the same issue. If I click the right arrow to look at the last two teas, there is nothing I can find that lets me go back and look at the first three. I clicked on Home, Teas, Shop, everything, and all I can see are the last two teas. I had to actually leave the website for a while, go back on Steepster, click on your link above, and then I could see the first three again. As soon as I clicked the right arrow, it was right back where I started…no going back!

Oh boy! I hope I am not doing something stupid! I use computers a lot, really I do! I will have my ubergeeky kid check it out and maybe she can find my problem!

No worries Ashmanra. Sites should just work. There isn’t much you can do wrong. My initial guess (like Nik suggested), is that it’s a speed issue. Do you know your internet connection speed on your desktop?

ashmanra said

Okay, showed brainy child what I was doing. She said she thought there should be a left arrow to take me back to the first three. Even the right arrow is partially hidden on my large monitor. I clicked everything trying to get back to the first three teas and nothing would take me there. She told me to try clicking refresh and VOILA! It took me back. But it seems like a left arrow would be lots easier – LOL! It is a beautiful page, though, and I really like your concept! Best of luck!

Nik select said

ashmanra, try increasing the width of your browser window. Upon clicking the right arrow to see teas 4 and 5, a left arrow appears on the left side. You won’t see it if the browser window isn’t wide enough.

http://screencast.com/t/2GcncrYN

ashmanra said

Thanks, Nik! You are brainy like brainy child! SHe just went in the settings, set my screen to 75% and there was the left arrow! I will have to have her set it on my iPad, too.

it is strange that you must set it to 75%. Are you having this issue on your Ipad, Nik? Thanks for helping troubleshoot the navigation.

Nik select said

Tyler, I had to widen my browser window (Chrome, OS 10.8.2) to see the arrows, but other than that, it’s been fine. On the iPad, the left arrow doesn’t appear: http://screencast.com/t/sLhfSlHj

ashmanra said

Same here. No left arrow on iPad. The only way to get back to the first three teas is to click refresh.

Same. Which reinforces the belief that my iPad is just not a replacement for a computer… Yet.
Lovely site, btw.
Also, having nothing to do with your lovely website, I quite miss having a real keyboard sometimes and I often find myself reaching for an invisible mouse.

@Ashmanra (and all Ipad users the world-over),

The site has been (mostly) optimized for mobile, with a few more bells and whistles—go explore! We’re excited to hear your opinions.

@Londo Mollari,

Your name reminds us that we really should get back into Babylon 5—we here the later seasons are the best?

Cheers!

When choosing to represent myself as Londo I was really just trying to think of an avatar that could look as smugly introspective with a drink in their hand as I have been told I do. That being said, I actually loved the show despite myself and the dreary first season. It gets better as it goes. :)

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inguna said

Nice job! I appreciate the effort.
Nik has a point when he said that " Upon clicking the “shop” link, all five selections should be visible at once. " I would agree with that.
Also I would definitely change “add to cart” text so that there is more contrast and you could actually read it.

Great—this shop view is certainly something we are planning for. Thank you for your support. We will examine this contrast issue.

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Zeks said

2 things are not obvious on the site:
1) Which is the currency you use?
2) Will you ship worldwide or to some select country only?

Hi Zeks,

Here you go:

1) USD is our currency

2) We ship only to the USA right now. However, by the end of the year we are planning on shipping to Canada as well.

Where are you located?

By the way,

Thank you for pointing this out. We will add this information promptly.

Zeks said

sigh, I’m in russia, so yet another shop I can’t purchase from …

That is so very unfortunate. We can point you in the direction of several world-wide tea shops. Min River Tea is an excellent shop run directly from China. Their teas are ultra-premium, small batch teas, so the price-point may not be as attractive. However, I know they ship worldwide. Check them out.

Sil select said

Glad you pointed this out Zeks! I was about to post on that as well until i saw your note :)

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I like the steampunk-y aesthetic :)

In-house we call it Steampunk-Chic. Pure steampunk would be a bit heavy. Thanks for the compliment, Rebecca

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