News, Updates & Announcements

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Nov 8th, 2011

Logo, Header, Homepage, and Rating Descriptors

RateTea LogoLook for our logo on Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.
We have not published a newsletter in some time, and in this gap, we have rolled out a series of incremental changes to our site. If you have been visiting the site regularly, you've likely noticed most or all of these changes, and if you haven't visited in a while, you've been missing out!

Logo & redesigned header:

We now have an official logo. We have replaced the original, small header with a new header, which looks cleaner and more professional, more spacious, and which we hope will more clearly communicate the extent and nature of our site. The links in the header are the same as before; they have only been rearranged slightly.

You can see our full logo at the top of our site; on the right is a compact, square version of our logo which you can see on Facebook, Twitter, and on other websites where we have a presence.
Screenshot of homepageScreenshot of the new homepage

New homepage layout:

In response to our users, we redesigned our homepage to make it both more visually appealing and easier to navigate. We still highlight our recent reviews, recently updated articles, and styles and varieties of tea, but we also have an introduction at the top that explains what our site can help you with: discovering new teas, learning about where your tea comes from, and keeping track of which teas you enjoy most.

We also made the signup process much easier. If you have not yet signed up for an account and started rating and reviewing teas, please do so! You can now sign up directly on the homepage.
Collage of pictures about teaA collage showing some of the pictures that represent the various articles and topics covered on our site.

Tags and pictures denoting our articles:

When we first launched a few years ago, we only had a few informational articles, but our article content has since grown to a massive size; we currently have 532 articles on brands, styles, and regions of tea, and 33 other articles in the "articles" section.

Because of the growing size of the materials on our site, we have added a tagging system so that you can browse related topics, such as Tea and Health, Tea and Sustainability, Brewing Tea, Tea Business and Industry, and Buying Tea.

The adding of pictures to denote each article is long overdue! These pictures are now shown on the homepage, the articles page, and a few other places on the site.
Screenshot of new rating descriptors
The new rating descriptors can help guide you to pick a number!

New rating descriptors:

We have received feedback from our users for some time now, especially newer users, remarking that they have trouble picking a numerical rating for tea, including for the different categories aroma, flavor, and value. We recently added a new feature, verbal rating descriptors, which can help make it easier for you to pick a number when rating teas.

When you select a number, the text on the right will give a verbal description of what that numbers means, along the lines of "poor, fair, good, excellent, outstanding". Play with the ratings yourself to see what options there are!

And if you need even more guidance, you can always read our guide on writing about tea. But remember, you don't need to be a connoisseur to rate teas, and you don't even need to know much of anything about tea. Just share your own opinions!

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.