Tea Store Evaluation- Rishi

by Jason on June 21, 2010

in Uncategorized

Part of a series on evaluating online tea stores.

A look at Rishi Tea in the areas of quality, selection, and tea community.

Quality: Overall, a strong selection of medium to higher quality teas with prices either on par with or slightly above their competitors. Rishi’s landing page displays badges indicating they are USDA certified, certified Kosher (via Wisconsin-K), and Fair Trade Certified. In addition, Rishi offers a quality promise of satisfaction. Rishi also took home multiple awards from the World Tea Championship competition. Walker Tea Review has given several of their teas 90+ scores.

Selection: Rishi’s strength lies in its Chinese and Japanese green teas. Its selection of unflavored, unblended teas in this category outnumbers the range of unflavored/unblended black, oolong, and white teas. However, that is not to say that their black or oolong selections are weak. Rishi has worked to select about 10 strong performers in each category, most notably Taiwan oolongs and Darjeeling blacks. In addition, you can find several pu’ers from their fair trade villages.

Tea Community: Rishi has tapped into all the major forms of engaging community: blog, Twitter, Facebook, and newsletter.  Updates via these media can be found on a daily or weekly basis- twitter and facebook updates appear at least daily during the work week. Rishi’s messages aim less at education and more at informing its audience of events and projects. There is also the occasional comment about tea enjoyment, but engagement in chat with individual followers has been limited at this point. Blog posts are where Rishi shines. Joshua Kaiser and others provide a wealth of education on how they work with farmers and source teas. In addition, there is much to be learned about the varietals and processing of the teas in their selection.

Conclusion: Go to Rishi to get connected to and learn about good teas, but don’t expect to interact much with other tea aficionados.  Do not expect to read customer reviews on their site either. The result is a rather one-sided conversation in which Rishi tells us about their teas with less opportunity to listen to feedback.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeni Quigg September 15, 2011 at 11:23

Hi Jason – I would agree with their strength in Chinese teas and that’s why I was absolutely delighted and surprised that their Earl Grey took first place in the tea championship this year! Being a huge Bergamot fan I had to try and lo and behold it is the most citrusy Bergamot ever! You can tell it is actual Bergamot rind left on the tea leaves, not flavoring. It’s actually too citrusy for me but that is what many find with tea drinking – one tea will tend to captivate leaving the other’s behind and longing for a great crop the next year!

RE: reviews and one sided conversations… I truly enjoy the dialogue tea conjours! It makes me sad I can’t do reviews on my website as I don’t know how to work the technology yet (I think I have to buy some expensive plug in and pay to have someone install it… blah, blah,) so I’m trying to engage the conversation on FB and promote the review tab. All that to say I’m glad you encourage the dialogue.

Thanks Jason for the great work!

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