Overall Experience: VERY POSITIVE
I have made two purchases from Verdant tea.
David is the owner, and he seems to be genuinely passionate about tea and connecting others with his tea. I discovered his online shop after spending time reading the reviews and posts on this website, and for that, I am grateful. He specializes in small farm Chinese grown teas. He offers many different pu-erh teas, but he also has quality oolongs, greens, whites and blacks, and a number of blended, or flavored, teas. He is among the best on the web when it comes to how much information he provides about each tea, including information on location and year of harvest (which is very important to me). One thing lacking about each tea: information about how to best steep each particular tea (although he happily responded to an email I sent with questions about how to best steep one of his teas). He sells a few tea accessories. He had a sales event the weekend of Black Friday (Thanksgiving 2011). My understand is that he sources his tea directly from the farmers in China. He sells his tea in one, two, four, and 16 ounce sizes for most of his tea, providing a price break for each successively larger size. Gift-wrapped boxes are available. He offers samplers for a reasonable price, and he offers a tea of the month club. Although the prices of most of his teas are beyond my reach (over $5/oz.), I have found his teas to be of the highest quality anywhere. All of the tea I have purchased from him (mostly green) has been very fresh and it accurately matched the description on his website.
I like the ‘earthy’ look-and-feel to his website (lots of blues, greens and browns). It is well laid out, and easy to navigate. He provides very clear closeup pictures of each tea. There have been a few issues with his cart system, but if you alert him of the issue via email he is very responsive, and he will not only correct the problem, but my experience is that he will reward you for your patience by including extra tea with your order (if you purchase from him). I believe he uses PayPal to process your order and to send out information about your order, which allows you to review the status of it. To the best of my knowledge, he currently does not have the ability to create personal accounts on his website. His seasonal tea does sell out. On his website he provides information about tea and the tea business in a section called, Encyclopedia of Tea.
It is about as good as it gets on the web: free to the US if your order is over $10 (over $25 internationally); otherwise it’s $2. He offers the ability to track your package online once it is in route. He ships USPS (first class or priority mail). For me, everything listed as in stock was delivered in both purchases. He will happily include samples if you ask, or include one of his choosing if you don’t ask. He included a personally written card with each package (something only one other tea retailer has done for me).
I have exchanged many e-mails with him and he is very responsive; in them he comes across as very personable while still being professional. I have also found that he is very flexible and willing to work with you to meet your needs.
The tea comes in sturdy, resealable, ‘earthy’ light-brown colored bags. The labels are colorful and have the name of the tea handwritten on them.
Would I buy from them again?:
In my experience buying from roughly 15 – 20 online tea retailers over the past year, his customer service is the best, bar none. I really like the information about the farmers he provides on his website and that he provides the year and season of the picking (especially for the green teas). I like the close up pictures of each tea. I like his packaging and that he offers free shipping to the US (If over $10). When I emailed him requesting a sample of a tea I wanted to try before buying he sent me a very generous one (roughly 20 grams). In my experience, everything he does is professional. I judge his prices are fair, and I personally don’t mind paying a little more when I know when and where the tea is harvested and for many of the other reasons I list above. But the only downside to Verdant tea for me: the cost: the prices of most of his teas are beyond my reach. C’est la vie!