Tea – Sip By Sip ... No Gulping Allowed
Written: Jun 11, 2004 (Updated Jun 11, 2004)
The neighbor gave my parents a cannister of Vanilla Almond tea by Republic of Tea. Her daughter had stopped drinking tea, and she knew my father enjoyed flavored teas. Coincidentally, my father was searching for a brand of vanilla tea that he liked. He had tried many and found them wanting. You can probably see where this is leading ... my father loved the Vanilla Almond tea. When he pulled the last tea bag out of the canister, I thought he might go into mourning. Until I discovered The Republic of Tea website (www.republicoftea.com).
The Republic of Tea home page is colorful and inviting. The images entice visitors to stay awhile and browse. The website offers easy navigation with quick loading pages. At the very top right of the Home Page is a search feature if you dont have time to browse the various categories. When I typed Vanilla Almond into the search box, eight product choices appeared with photographs. There is also a View Basket link to keep track of purchases.
Along the top of the page, beneath the search feature, is a horizontal line of links. When each link is clicked, a sub-menu opens with links for each category. Explore the world of tea by these choices:
Black Tea, Black Blended Tea
Caffeine Free Herbal Teas:
Herbal Tea, Red Tea, New Herbal Teas
Green Tea, Daily Green Tea
White Teabag Tea, Full Leaf White Tea
Bulk Black Tea, Bulk Black Caffeine Free Herbal Tea, Bulk Green Tea, Bulk White Tea, Bulk Organic Tea
Decaffeinated Tea, Decaffeinated Bulk Tea
Bottled Varietal Iced Tea, Bottled No-Carb No-Cal Tea, Imperial Republic Tea, Healthy Chai Tea Lattes, Organic Tea, Kosher Tea, Seasonal Tea, Travelers Tea Tins, Full Leaf Sampler Pouches, Childrens Tea, Oolong Tea, Sip Right Tea, Sip for the Cure Products
Tea Oil, Tea Jam, Tea Honey, Gifts & Accessories, Gift Certificates, TeaMind Library, Teaware, Teapots, Teacups, Tea Trivets
Each link transports the visitor to a page filled with choices relating to tea. Click a product, and a page devoted to the product appears, showing a photo with the option to view a larger product photo. Each tea page is loaded with information such as: tea name, description, origin/estate, caffeine, tasting notes, preparation & serving, interesting anecdotes. Most of the teas can be purchased in different sizes or forms all pricing is included on the page. There is also the option of choosing a quantity of the product and adding it to your online shopping basket.
More Website Choices
In case you need even more links to click, the Home Page offers links for: Whats New, Best Sellers, Tea Knowledge, Get Your Fortune (a fun feature in a virtual tea room), and Request a Catalog.
There is also a page devoted to Sip for the Cure. The Republic of Tea offers a special edition Pink Grapefruit Green Tea. From each purchase of this special tea, a donation is made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Sample Product Listing
From the product page, here is what is listed for Vanilla Almond tea:
Vanilla Almond The smoothness of Madagascar vanilla beans takes over the first sip of this tea, sweetening the cup. Nutty almond follows, which sends it soaring to the realm of dessert. Try a strong brew with steamed milk for a tea latte.
There is a lot of additional information about the tea, but I wont list it all here. You might fall asleep! The page then offers the status of the product. In this case, the status is Available for immediate shipping.
This tea is offered in several sizes and forms:
Vanilla Almond Full Leaf (3.5 oz) $8.50
Vanilla Almond Full Leaf Bulk (1 lb) $25.00
Vanilla Almond Bulk (250 Tea Bags) $30.00
Vanilla Almond Black Tea (50 Tea Bags) $8.50
Vanilla Almond Sampler (.6 oz) $2.50
Vanilla Almond Full Leaf Refill (3.5 oz) $8.00
Vanilla Almond Refill (50 Tea Bags) $8.00
I purchased the Vanilla Almond Black Tea (50 Tea Bags) and added them to my cart. I already knew from the canister that the neighbor gave my father that the tea would come in a round metal container measuring 5 1/2" tall with a 2 1/2" diameter. The natural unbleached tea bags are circular with a diameter of 2 1/4". The tea bags are stacked vertically in the container. Since the container is reusable, if you choose, you can buy tea bag refills for the canister. The metal lid of the container is similar in design to a cork. It pushes closed with a tight fit and a twist-and-lift motion pulls the lid off. My 70-plus year old parents have no trouble removing or replacing the canister lids.
Each product page offers the choice of adding an item to the shopping basket. You can view the basket or check out from any product page, too. Simply click the Check Out button in the middle of the page.
When the Check Out button is clicked, a page appears displaying the complete order. From this page you can delete items or change quantities. A note in red states that Free UPS Ground Shipping on Orders over $100". You can also add a gift box for an additional $4.95. Click another Check Out button to continue the purchase.
You are then prompted to set up an account with your billing and shipping information.
Accepted credit cards are: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express. The Republic of Tea also accepts gift certificates.
The Republic of Tea cannot deliver during Saturday, Sunday or holidays. Shipping fee choices for the United States include: UPS Ground (7-10 days), UPS Next Day, UPS Second Day (Alaska and Haiwaii ship via UPS Second Day).
The Republic of Tea website offers flat shipping fees as follows:
UPS Ground $4.99 (free on orders over $100)
UPS Second Day $9.99 (when ordered by noon CST)
UPS Next Day $15.99 (when ordered by noon CST)
For tea jam, tea honey, tea marmalade, bottled tea ... there is a surcharge of 50-cents per item.
International Shipping is available via the United States Postal Service Global Express. The website offers a neat feature to calculate shipping charges to different countries. Click the international shipping link, choose the country where the merchandise is being shipped, and a list of shipping costs appears. The costs are presented with rates for 1 pound and up to 9 pound shipments.
I purchased two canisters of Vanilla Almond Black Tea for my father. After supplying the shipping information and submitting the order, a few minutes later I received an e-mail confirmation of the order. The following day another e-mail arrived stating the order had been shipped and provided a link to track the shipment.
The shipment arrived within a week via UPS Ground in a sturdy cardboard box. The box is designed to snugly fit the 5 1/2" tall tea canisters. The two canisters were placed at either end of the box with a copy of the invoice and a catalog between them. The only way those canisters could shift in the package was if they rolled, and the placement of the paperwork prevented too much movement.
I couldnt ask for better service! A great website, lots of selection, fast e-mail notification and shipping. Plus the shipment arrived in great condition and on time.
Customer Service & Returns
I never had to speak with customer service. However, at the bottom of every web page is a toll-free phone number for The Republic of Tea. There is also a Question & Answer page that might help with queries. Another web page offers a variety of contact information including their address and a list of various departments.
The Republic of Tea pledges complete satisfaction, guaranteed. If, for any reason, your expectations are not met, simply return your purchase and we will gladly replace it or refund your money within 30 days of purchase.
My father is delighted with his Vanilla Almond tea. He vows it is the best vanilla tea he has tasted. These teas (and other goodies!) make excellent gifts. Its easy to place an order for everything you would need to put together a tea-time gift basket for just about any occasion. You can include not only tea and a teapot but also a tea-time music CD, tea travel candles, note cards and even Bamboo (their Panda stuffed animal). Ive also seen Republic of Tea products for sale at a few local stores ... so you just might have this delicious Vanilla Almond tea in your backyard and not even know it!
I hope you have found this review useful.
Enjoy your day,
The Republic of Tea
8 Digital Drive, Suite 100
Novato, CA 94949
Toll-free Phone: 800-298-4832
Please read my other reviews:
Kitchenetc.com (online store)
Cooking.com (online store)
Silicone Potholder / Trivets
Farberware Cutting Board
Pyrex Round Storage Bowls
Rubbermaid Stain Shield Round 1.1 Quart Storage Container
Mini Measuring Cup
Pyrex 4-cup Measuring Cup
Amco 4-cup Stainless Steel Measuring Cup
Le Creuset Bean Pot with recipe
Braun Coffee Grinder (and flax seed)
Maytag Gemini Double Oven
Copyright 2004 Dawn L. Stewart