News, Updates & Announcements

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Jun 1st, 2011

Tea Percentile Ratings

Screenshot of percentile rating on tea page
We are excited to announce that we now have enough data from enough different reviewers to calculate percentile ratings for a substantial portion of the teas on our site.

These percentile rankings are not based on simple averages of scores, but rather, take into account the fact that different reviewers use their own unique rating scales. We thus ensure that a tea will not receive a higher rating just because it happens to be preferred by the users who tend to rate highly, and we also can detect subtle differences in ratings of users who tend to rate all teas similarly, and not give too much weight to users with widely disparate ratings.

Teas with a percentile rating now show the ranking prominently on the page for that tea, in the upper-left corner. Percentile ratings, rather than the raw averages, are also now used to calculate the listings for the top 10 highest-rated teas and are also displayed on the top 10 most rated tea lists.

Popular is not better:

Our data already shows a clear trend that the most popular teas are not necessarily the best teas, according to our reviewers. When taking into account the tendency of users to rate highly, the top two most often-rated teas, PG Tips and Lipton Black Tea actually emerge with two of the lowest percentile ratings.

Please rate more loose-leaf tea!

Tea bag teas are still much more popular in the U.S. and most western countries. We can already see a strong preference for loose-leaf tea among discerning tea drinkers: users of our site who have reviewed both tea bags and loose-leaf tea tend to rate loose-leaf considerably higher. However, because tea bags are much more popular, they continue to get more overall attention on the site. An overwhelming majority of the loose-leaf teas on the site still have too few ratings to accurately calculate a percentile score. This creates a bias making the tea bag teas look better than they really are!

You can help to encourage loose-leaf tea drinking by reviewing more loose-leaf teas on the site. This helps these teas and the companies that sell them to gain visibility. By encouraging others to buy and drink loose-leaf tea, you will not only be promoting a richer tea culture, but also helping to promote sustainability, and loose-leaf tea is a more sustainable option.

Enjoy your tea rating! And if you think it is getting too hot to drink tea, check out our page on iced tea for a cool, summer option.

Dec 3rd, 2010

Comments on Tea Reviews

Screenshot of comment and reply
Comments on the review page
We have added a new feature that allows registered users to comment on tea reviews and reply to other users' comments. You can now use to have conversations about the teas that you and others have reviewed. You must be logged on to comment!

The comments are displayed in full on the page for each individual review, and a notice that there are comments on a review is displayed at the bottom of each review on the tea page. We also made the detailed pages for each review more accessible, with a link at the top of each review on the tea page.

Screenshot of comment box
Comments box
By default, you will receive an email notification whenever someone comments on one of your reviews; you can turn these notifications on and off by logging on and visiting your profile. For convenience, we also allow you to unsubscribe without logging on, from a link in the notification emails.

Try visiting a tea with lots of reviews, such as Bigelow's Constant Comment® to see how this new feature looks and works. And stay tuned for more news; there are a bunch of other exciting features in the works, and we've already made some small tweaks and numerous new additions to our site since the last newsletter.

Sep 18th, 2010 Celebrates First Anniversary celebrates its first anniversary today! We were launched exactly one year ago today, on September 18th, 2009. Since then we have grown considerably, both in features and in extent. We now have a total of 711 reviews from 143 reviewers, and our database of teas and brands of teas continues to grow.

In our past newsletters we highlighted new interactive features, but many of the biggest improvements over the past year have been to the written content of the site and may have gone unnoticed by most users. We'd like to draw attention to some of them in this newsletter.

Did you know?

• Anxi County, in Fujian province of China is most famous for Tie Guan Yin, or Iron Goddess of Mercy, a type of oolong tea. But there are many other Anxi oolongs; together these oolongs are called se chung oolongs.

Darjeeling black tea is broken into the different flushes, first flush, second flush, autumnal flush, etc., based on when it is harvested.

Chamomile, a popular herbal tea, has a number of medicinal uses and health benefits; there is even some evidence it may be useful for treating diabetes.

These are only a few examples of the new material we have added since our launch! If you have not explored our site in a number of months, you may be surprised by what you find!

New Material & Articles:

One of the goals and purposes of is to provide accurate, impartial information and to help tea enthusiasts learn more about where their tea comes from.

Collage of Four Green Oolongs
Huang Jin Gui is among
the new styles added.
We have added a considerable level of detail to the pages on styles and varieties of tea. We now classify teas in 150 different styles. We have also added Chinese and Japanese characters to most Chinese and Japanese teas, respectively. In a few cases, we have added Thai and Korean names as well. These other languages will allow people to more easily locate and research the more esoteric teas online.

Map of Fujian Province's Location in China
We have added maps
for Chinese provinces.
We have also added detail for regions: we have started to identify the sources of some teas down to the level of individual counties in China, and to prefectures (like states) in Japan; there are now a total of 90 regions and sub-regions listed. We've included some climate information on many of the regions, and are beginning to add discussion of how various regions are affected by climate change and other environmental issues.

The articles section of the website, which we did not have when we launched, now has 19 articles on tea-related topics. Our page on caffeine in tea sets out to dispel some widely-circulating myths about how much caffeine is in various types of tea. We continue to expand our offerings pertaining to sustainability, and we now have both a guide on how to brew tea as well as a page on making multiple infusions from the same set of tea leaves (which includes gong fu brewing).

Let us know what you want:

Are there topics that you would like to see us devote more energy to covering? Do you have something valuable to contribute, such as a new perspective, a new source, a correction, or a new piece of information that could enrich one of our articles? Please contact us so we can continue to improve the informational aspects of the site!