Sanctuary T - Online Edit
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- 337B West Broadway
- New York, New York
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Overall Experience: MIXED
I made two purchases from them at the end of 2011.
They are both a restaurant in NYC (with a separate website) and an online tea shop. They have a great selection of each class of tea including tisanes and fruit teas. There is no information available on location and year of harvest for their green teas. As mentioned in another review, they sell a few food items and spices. They had a 30% off + free shipping sale during Black Friday 2011. They sell teas in two, four and eight ounce sizes. Two ounces come in a tin. They also sell what they call, ‘teasers’ for a few teas (not all) that are listed as one ounce (see below). I judge the teas are expensive at the two ounce price, but the price (per ounce) when you buy eight ounces is reasonable.
My Own Experience: I had a very strange experience with my both of my orders (more below). A few of the teas I got were somewhat mislabeled. The teasers I ordered are stated on their website as being one ounce, but there is no way the ones I received are one ounce. I got about 7 – 8 teaspoons out of one of the flavored rooibos teasers (I would expect to get the standard fourteen if it’s truly an ounce). The teasers are no where near half of the amount of tea that is in their two ounce tin I bought. I was not happy about this. If a teaser is supposed to be only half an ounce, it should be clearly stated as such on their website. On a positive note, all of the teas (and the brownies) are clearly good quality.
They have one of the most appealing websites around (check out their restaurant webpage for great pictures of some yummy looking food!). Although there is supposedly a way to access the status of your order, I personally was never able to get any reliable information about the status of my order, or a tracking number. That was very frustrating to me (more below).
Very expensive, but you can use a code to get free shipping (listed on their website).
My Experience: This was, well, to put it lightly, a cluster. First off, after waiting over a week for the package, and then contacting them via email, I finally received it, but it was someone else’s order. They figured this out the day my packaged arrived, and they apologized and promptly mailed the correct package, which came a few days later with one free ‘teaser’ (again, I could not find the status of that shipment on their website). They graciously offered me a significant discount on my next order, so I ordered from them again about a month later. As with the previous package, I was unable to find the status of my order online. Again, after over a week without any sign of getting a package, I emailed them. I had to email them again three days later since they had not responded, and was finally told they were contacting the owners about the status of the package (with no information as to the status). I got no other communication from them, but a little less than a week after that the package finally arrived. I was in the process of drafting an email to tell them to cancel my order the day the package arrived. Oddly enough, the box had a printed message on it, “Make tea, not war.” So I decided to follow that advice and drop the whole matter (I was considering sending them a not-so-nice email). I have not had any other communication from them since (no explanation as to why my order took so long to get to me). Luckily, at least I got everything I ordered.
Details in Shipping. I judge they have some serious work to do in the email/contact and shipping department, though.
Their two ounce tins are very nice looking steel cylinders, with tightly fitting lids. 8-oz packaging is standard. Teasers packaging is standard. They use quality boxes and nice looking filler material.
Would I buy from them again?:
I wish I could say, Yes, but it’s hard to say. All of their tea seems to be of good quality, and they did make a few efforts to try to make thing right, but I had such an odd experience overall that there would have to be some good reason for me to think about ordering from them again.
I recently used a groupon-style deal to order tea from this company. Their website is nicely laid out and easy to use, and they offer not only tea but tea-based seasonings, foods and such. They have samples of a very few teas (called “teasers”), but none of them that I was super interested in. Fortunately they do sell 2oz sizes at least, so I ended up buying two teas for the amount of the deal; I thought that was a little steep, but I didn’t realize that the teas would also come in tins as well, which usually increases the price.
Shipping was a bit pricey, although they do have a free shipping code that can be used on any order unless you are also using another code (so if you have a discount code you can’t get free shipping, and vice versa). Oddly I got a shipping notification from USPS, but the tracking number never showed up on the site, and then I got the package today shipped via UPS.
The tea was packaged in a nice box, and there were two tins nestled in some accordian paper shreds. They clearly had put stickers for each tea on the tins, but they had come off. Fortunatley it was pretty obvious which tea was which. The tins are very nice quality and will be useful for a long time, though I would like option for no tin for refills. No free samples in the box. Overall a pretty decent shopping experience, and I would buy there again.