News, Updates & Announcements

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Dec 19th, 2011

RateTea.net Acquires RateTea.com And Is Now RateTea

RateTea Logo with .net crossed out and replaced with .com
We are pleased to announce that on December 16th, 2011, Merit Exchange LLC, the company that runs RateTea, acquired the domain RateTea.com. As of today, the site is now officially named RateTea, and the website has been switched over to the new domain RateTea.com. Although our fans have been referring to our site as RateTea for some time, this announcement marks the official transition.

We hope that this small change can be symbolic of the growth and improvements RateTea has been seeing.

Why did you not start as RateTea.com? Who owned RateTea.com before?

J-Tea Logo
The domain RateTea.com was first owned by Josh Chamberlain, the owner of J-Tea International, a small tea company based in Eugene, Oregon, selling Taiwanese teas sourced directly from small farms. When RateTea was launched in 2009, as RateTea.net, this domain was unavailable, and the .net was purchased as a second-best choice.

Although we ended up registering the domain name after it expired, we want to recognize Josh Chamberlain for his integrity, with his generous offer of selling us the domain below the cost he incurred at purchasing it. We also want to recognize that he was actually earlier than us when it came to the idea of an interactive tea rating website, although we were the first to actually carry through with the idea.

Please update your links:

We will retain ownership of the old domain, RateTea.net, indefinitely. All links to the old site will remain valid, and will redirect to the corresponding pages on the new domain. However, we ask that from here on, you please link to and refer to RateTea.com as the domain of choice.

Thank you, and happy holidays!

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 RateTea.net 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.