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April 1, 2006

Adagio Tea

I've been drinking a lot of tea recently. It didn't help that I bought a big Bodum three serving tea pot from my friends at Namaste Cafe (more on them in a future posting); I can now boil a huge pot of water and have pot next to me at all times while I work.

I've got a lot of places I can buy tea. I've generally purchased directly from Coffee & Tea, Ltd. in Linden Hills, Minneapolis. Tea seams to be a secondary stock item for them (well, I guess it's not Tea & Coffee, Ltd. is it?) but every once in awhile I've found a gem or two in the many glass jars they have squirreled away on their shelves.

If I cannot find what I like there, I've usually ordered from Tea Source. I've never been let down by their tea before and their mail-order catelog is great! I've got a few favorites from them that I re-order again and again. I keep them in big canisters at my house.

If I find myself at the Mall of America—which is rarely—I sometimes wander into Teavana. Their teas are good enough but their prices are horrible. My biggest irk with them is every time I go into their store an apelike urge wells up inside me and I feel like leaving a turd someplace in a corner. I've haven't heard a larger set of reguritated lies and pretension surrounding a set of products since the last time I mistakenly stepped into a Bang and Olafson store. I hate a shopping atmosphere that is engineered to make the customer feel like its a priviledge just to be allowed in there.

I received a gift certificate from Adagio Teas. When I ran out of my staples, some variety of Japanese Green and some variety of Oolong, I decided to pop on over there and place an order.

In general, it's a very clean and well organized site with just about every feature you could imagine for an eCommerce store centered around the business of tea. They've got snazy pictures of the leaves, comments sections, the ability to sort products along several different criteria, user reviews, accessories, and even a free downloadable tea timer!

I had been coveting my co-workers clear mug for a while so I ordered the Adagio-branded "clarity cup" and a couple of teas to go along with it: oolong #40 and sencha tea.

Shipping was fast and my order arrived within the week I had ordered. I was really impressed with their packing ability but mostly of all their packaging. I had expected bags of loose tea but had received instead little metallic canisters with plastic pop-top lids with color-printed labels complete with steep time and temperature that looked like they had been designed out by a graphic design student. The letter on the labels were done according to tea type: green for green and a green-hued brown for oolong. Well done.

It finally made sense as to why you couldn't order any arbitrary quanitiy of tea, they weight out the tea to fit in the container. It seems to make good sense. I only hope there is an option for rebuying the same tea from them in order to refill the container. I'd hate to develope a huge empty collection of these things.

The teas were good, not Earth shatteringly good but exactly as described by the copy written up on their website. I think I've discovered that I like oolongs that are not like "oolong #40" but are more toasty than champagne-like and light. User reviews for the tea I bought were all over the map. Several of them I suspect are not brewing their tea correctly. The clincher for me would be able to add "trust" to certain reviewers on the site that I believe match my palette. I'd love to mask off any clown that would add milk and sugar to an already great tea!

I have no doubts that business for them is going to grow and they're going to bring on some new features. All in all, not a bad site!

Posted by jordanh at April 1, 2006 1:24 PM |

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