A Trove of Tea Surprises

David M. Ford is turning over a new leaf — a tea leaf, that is — with his latest venture: Home Discount Store. Yes, they sell teas!

New tea vendors pop up online almost daily, often founded by people who had been working in Website development or something similar. Sometimes they’re people who are looking for something different to do that involves something they love: tea. That love is quite evident through the teas they carry, their involvement in the “tea community,” and their other activities related to tea. Home Discount Store has one out of three of those things (teas that evidence their love of tea). But, then, the online store hasn’t been around long. I’m sure Ford will be building his presence in the tea community over time.

When Ford first approached me about trying the teas, I looked at the company name and almost said, “Yeah, right!” (The words “home” and “discount” seemed to scream “rock-bottom quality.”) But instead, I took a few minutes to see what teas were listed and was quite surprised. The list is a bit short at present but also rather selective. The best thing: no teadust in a bag! The next best thing: not a lot of overly flavored teas. He’s still working on expanding the line-up but has gotten a really good start.

The company site has a pretty busy homepage, but overall everything is well organized and not mucked up with an excess of bells and whistles (i.e., big Flash animations designed just to impress rather than be useful, cute mouseover effects, etc.). There are fairly decent descriptions of the teas (not always consistently presented) and a few videos thrown in for good measure. You get a choice of package sizes, with most teas having a 2-ounce size available at a very reasonable price, perfect for your own taste test. Ford uses resealable pouches that preserve the freshness of the teas.

The store also carries other products besides teas, from a blue-ribbon coffee roaster, to cookware, dinnerware, a wire hot pad that would be great for setting your tea kettle on, even a few children’s books, and much more.

I’m a bit concerned that the site has no About Us page. Many of these pages are a waste of space since they don’t always mention the people behind the company (and no, a Facebook page is not a good substitute), but they at least show an effort to connect with their customers.

The company has only been in business a short time (not necessarily bad, but a reason to proceed with caution). Also, the return policy says you have to pay the postage for returning the item and that the return has to be pre-approved. Again, not a bad thing, just something to be aware of before ordering.

I can say here that Ford is certainly on the right track with the teas he is choosing. He has also shown an eagerness to learn about the wonderful business of tea and to listen to feedback from customers. All good signs that he is starting this new venture on the right foot.

Reviews will be posted on Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews.

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