Harney & Sons - online Edit
|Serves||Loose-leaf, Bagged, Chai, Iced|
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- 5723 Route 22
- Millerton, New York
- 1 (888) 427 6398
|Serves||Loose-leaf, Bagged, Chai, Iced|
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Overall, I would say that my experience shopping online with Harney & Sons was a positive one. I like that I can order samples of most of their teas, and that the samples are reasonably priced. I received my tea order in a relatively short amount of time (I placed my order on the 10th of April and received MOST of my order on April 17) given that the package traveled from New York State to Washington State. I say “Most of My Order” because part of it appears to be on back order.
Up front, I’ll mention some cons: I’m disappointed that I wasn’t contacted about the back order, and that I had to find out about it on my packing list. I would like a little more attention to detail … again, it’s the little things. I like it when a company includes a free sample. My order wasn’t a large order, but, I seem to recall that in orders past, I received a free sample, and this time no free sample. I also would have liked a little thank you note enclosed with the order. Like I said, these are small things, but, I like it when a company takes time to focus on the details like a quick hand-written note or a free sample, it makes me feel like I’m important to the company. When a company gets as large as Harney & Son’s has become, I feel like the personal touch is lost somewhere along the way.
Now, for the pros: I am glad that they sent out the rest of my order instead of making me wait until the back ordered item was in stock. While I consider myself to be patient when it comes to waiting for tea, I am glad that rather than assuming that I’ll wait, they went ahead and fulfilled the rest of the order. However, had I been contacted, I would have told them that it would have been quite alright to hold the rest of the order until everything was in stock. But I am glad that since they did not choose to contact me that they went ahead and sent the rest of the order.
Of course, Harney teas are usually top-notch, so I’ve no complaint there! I look forward to trying these. And I will also update this review when I’ve received my back order to let you know how long it took to receive, and whether or not they did contact me at all about it.
UPDATE: I had meant to update this review when I received my back order – but I failed to do that … busy, or it slipped my mind… one or the other, or both.
Anyway, I received the back-ordered item within a week of receiving my first package from Harney, so, I would say that their back-order time frame was sufficient. I was quite pleased overall with the the speed in which I received both orders, in fact, I would have been satisfied to wait until the whole order could ship in one package, but then, I’m pretty patient when it comes to tea orders. I know that some are less patient than I am – and I suppose my patience comes from the fact that I once operated my own tea business so I know how hectic things can get.
All that being said, I find their speed at fulfilling orders to be very satisfactory, and of course, the teas are wonderful. I think if Harney started offering more personalized service (customer contact when there’s back orders, or a handwritten thank you included with an order) or included a free sample with their smaller sized orders, they would be in my top three companies.
Tea is good quality and well priced. Packaging is great. They often have free shipping promotions for orders over $25. For these reasons, I order here the most out of any company. If mistakes are made in your order, they are incredibly prompt to correct them with a phone call. There have been a few times where customers requested that a tea offered in sachets also be offered in loose leaf and they did make it available.
Customer service is average at times, but I am sure that has something to do with the volume of orders processed. I also recommend asking specific questions in an email, as the response can be hit or miss on occasion. If you are looking for a more personal shopping experience (even over the net and by phone) try the Harney & Sons Millerton Shop or the SoHo Store.
After having Paris at a teahouse, I figured I needed to buy it, so to Harney & Sons’ site it was! It’s full of information, and anything you are curious about can be answered in a live chat. If nobody’s online, it still sends a message and you’ll get a reply via email. I didn’t see anything anywhere about how much tea was in a sample bag, so I asked via the offline chat and received a reply within an hour. (The answer by the way is enough for about 3-4 cups.)
I ordered on the 11/29, and didn’t receive any update on my order until the night of 12/4…which was informing me that my order had shipped on 12/2 – I got it the next day (really the day after because I didn’t get to my apartment’s office until then).
I might order from them again, because I love the tea, and I like that it automatically comes in a tin. The teas are all very reasonably priced – 4 oz of Paris is just $7.50 which is a steal, I think if I had gone back to the teahouse where I had it, I wouldn’t have gotten it for that! I just wish that email had come on the day it was shipped because that was kind of a long pause without knowing what was going on.
I took advantage of free shipping, and I’d probably wait for that again.
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.
Overall Experience: POSITIVE
It was my first time buying from them (I ordered from them in July 2011).
They have a wide selection of every class of tea, including tisanes, iced teas and fruit teas. They sell loose-leaf, as well as teabags and tea sachets. They provide a least a few sentences describing each tea. Although no detail is given on location or year of harvested tea, each tea has a five-digit lot # displayed on each tin or sample bag, representing the ‘date of production’: first two digits are last two digits of year, last three digits are the number of days in the year (my understanding is this number is indirectly related to the harvest date, not directly). They have a rewards program, I believe it is for every $100 USD you spend, you get a five dollar credit toward your next purchase. They sell many tea accessories and other related items (including books). They offer $2 – $4 samples on many of their teas (most are $2). Occasionally a few of their teas will go on sale. They often have promotions (through their mailing list): for example, 10% off your entire order, or free shipping. On occasion, they stop carrying some teas (I, at least, have seen a few that are no longer listed on their website).
Their site is very professional-looking, well laid out, and easy to navigate with colorful pictures of each tea.
Facts: They ship US Postal and Fed Ex. For US, if your order total is under $25, shipping is $4.50, if it is up to $50, shipping is $5.50, if your order is $50 or over shipping is free. They do Two Day and Next day delivery. They deliver to Canada and internationally.
My Experience: I ordered after business hours, so my order was processed the next business day, and the package was promptly delivered via Fed-Ex. Although there was one item I wanted that was listed as out of stock on their website, everything I ordered (and advertised as in stock) was delivered, all packaged with the invoice and a small amount of filler material (no free samples). From the tea I have tried so far, it is all fresh and exactly as described on their website.
The gave me a reasonable response to one e-mail query. No phone contact attempted.
The black tins (prism shaped) have a rounded-square base, are outlined in gold trim with tea name and company logo elegantly displayed on front, and are well sized for the amount of tea purchased. Samples are in small opaque similarly decorated zip-lock bags. I like their tins as they are very elegant.
Would I buy from them again?:
VERY LIKELY. What drew me to this company was Michael Harney’s book. In it he writes like he really understands the world of tea, and I believe he has a genuine passion for it (those two things don’t seem to come together too often). I like the elegant look that they maintain in everything they sell. I have enjoyed every tea I have tried so far. I like that they offer samples for a very reasonable price.