About The Tea TableWelcome to The Tea Table! We are an online store offering over 200 loose leaf teas, tea accessories, Bee House teapots, Tea of the Month Clubs, a free email newsletter, a tea and health blog, and great customer service.
The Tea Table started in 2000 as a walk-in retail shop where customers here in Fort Collins, Colorado, would come to leisurely browse our beautiful tea things and select from about 100 loose-leaf teas. The only shop of its kind in this area, we had a loyal following!
During our three-years there, we also put up the first version of our web site. Slowly, the site grew, and we had it re-designed for better functionality and beauty. When our lease expired for our retail space, we decided for practical reasons to simply forgo the storefront and be an online-only store in the hopes of being able to reach a much larger audience but keep our overhead low.
Our business has continued to grow and flourish since then. In fact, we've had to move to larger quarters three times, but now are in a facility large enough to sustain us for several years. Even though we continue to grow, The Tea Table remains a small privately owned company. The core members of our staff, Lori, John, Sharon, and Cameron, have worked here from the beginning. We prefer to remain a bit smaller and stay true to our original vision of what we can offer, while being flexible enough to change and grow in directions that feel right to us.
The People of The Tea Table: The character of a business is defined by its people. The Tea Table has a core of people that rarely changes, lending to the consistency of quality and service we have provided for 15 years.
Lori Way: Lori is the founder of The Tea Table and a registered dietitian, which prompted her interest in the health benefits of tea. One day a neighbor with a Bed and Breakfast asked her to help with tea parties once a month at the B&B, and she got her first taste of the tea business. She opened a very small gift shop in the lobby of the 3-room Bed and Breakfast selling English teas, teapots, and other tea accessories. She knew she wanted to expand the gift shop, so she looked for a bigger space in downtown Fort Collins, CO. In 2000 The Tea Table was founded and began to grow and evolve. After a few years, the original tea-themed gift shop went online and became a specialized seller of premium loose leaf teas and accessories. Eventually, the Brick and Mortar part of the business was closed as the online part grew. In fact, it outgrew the size Lori wanted to manage, and in 2009 she turned over day-to-day operations to John, eventually selling him the business in 2013. In her spare time, Lori loves to bike in the mountains near Fort Collins, CO, play with her three cats, Spot, Peanut, and Sherlock, cook tons, read, walk, collect antiques, and listen to a variety of music. Her favorite tea is Yunnan Supreme golden Tips, followed by Ultimage Breakfast and Masala Chai. When she needs less caffeine, she mixes Decaffeinated Assam with either Supreme Breakfast or Assam Mangalam.
John Rice: John is the Owner and General Manager of The Tea Table. He is also the person who answers the phone and responds to email and online inquiries. John's education and background is in Commercial Photography and he started with The Tea Table as the photographer for print ads when the business first opened in 2000. Once the web site went up, he did the digital photography for that as well. After a lifetime of shooting film, this was actually one of his first ventures into digital photography. How times have changed! His duties then expanded to developing some much needed data management, and he created the first of many databases to keep track of the growing volume of Tea of the Month Club members and eventually to track sales and orders of all products. When he grew tired of Commercial Photography, John was hired on a more permanent basis and started to streamline shipping and general operations. Eventually, he became General Manager in Spring 2009 and has been running the business ever since, becoming owner in 2013. In John's spare time, he loves to watch movies and listen to a wide variety of music. John has always been a tea lover and some of his favorite teas include Yunnan Golden Buds, Keemun Mao Feng, Yunnan Supreme Golden Tips, Five O'Clock Tea and Earl Grey White Tip.
Sharon Glesmann: Sharon was the very first employee at The Tea Table, hired in 2000 to work the counter at the walk-in store, where she waited on customers, prepared orders, gift wrapped, and did more than her share of grunt work unpacking incoming shipments and cleaning every inch of the place. (Oh, the filth that crept into a downtown storefront!) Sharon now works in the Tea Room, which is where we package tea. Hers is one of the names you see in the hand-written "Thank You" on invoices. In addition to that, she often delivers our pick-up orders to Everyday Joe's Coffee Shop and Pringle's Fine Wine, and does gift wrapping as well as writing our custom gift cards. In the past she has run both a glass business and an alpaca farm. In her spare time she loves to ballroom dance and attend book club. Her favorite teas? Assam Mangalam, White Monkey Paw, and Nine Bend Black Dragon.
Kelly Hernandez: Kelly joined The Tea Table in early 2012 and shares time with Sharon managing the tea room, as well as developing various "To-Do" lists for John, who tends to need all the help he can get. Her enthusiasm is a true asset. Kelly also keeps busy with a second job doing bookkeeping while making sure her four children get to school and all their various activities. Kelly likes rich, flavored teas such as Orange Cookie Tea, Rum Cream and varieties of Chai which she frequently steeps in whole milk. Talk about a treat everyone should try.
Here are some other things about us that will give you an idea of how we approach our business:
- Tea is packed when you place your order
- We carefully prepare each order by hand rather than pre-package the tea. Two benefits of this are that the tea is as fresh as possible, and you can always get the size bag you want because we won't run out of a certain size bag while other sizes linger and get old.
- Flexible package sizes
- Because we package your tea to order, we do not need to be limited to certain size packages. It's no harder for us to pack 7 oz, bag than it is to pack a 4 oz. bag. Our customers order all kinds of odd sizes, and that's fine with us.
- Fair prices, volume discounts
- We've thought very carefully about our pricing structure. We know exactly what it costs us to acquire and package our tea, down to the penny, and we price each tea separately. Then we offer volume discounts for all our teas, so you get a better price per ounce if you buy a 16-oz. bag than if you buy a 4-oz. bag.
- We monitor our shipping costs very carefully. We've been using Fed Ex and the US Postal Service for years and are very familiar with the ins and outs of both services. We contract with Fed Ex for heavy and fragile shipments, but for most orders the US Postal Service has better prices and significantly faster service. Thanks to our central location in Colorado, 90% of our orders are delivered within two days of shipment by the USPS. There are still various shipping options and at checkout you'll see the price for each listed.
- Free Samples
- You can choose 3 free tea samples (each enough to make a few cups of tea) with every order so you can taste new teas before you buy. It's important for an online store to offer samples since you can't even smell the tea first! You can also buy 1-oz. bags of any tea (enough to make about 15 cups), which is typically very inexpensive, so it's easy to test the waters before you commit.
- Customer Service
- We are happy to help customers via phone and email in any capacity that we can. Email submissions and missed phone calls are attended to promptly.
- We have a fast turn-around time for orders (typically within 24 hours during business hours), but we also take pride in carefully processing orders to make sure they are correct and securely packaged for shipping. The rarely occurring breakage or error will be handled quickly and painlessly--just let us know and we'll handle it from there.
- Our local Colorado customers are thrilled that they can pick up their order and avoid shipping charges. More Local Pick-up Info.
- When you order, you can give us special instructions. If you want something sent at a particular time, for example, or packaged in a particular way, or whatever, we'll make every effort to do what you want.
- We have an extensive Tea 101 section that covers all sorts of tea topics, including its preparation, storage, health benefits, definitions of related terminology, even tips on how to buy tea for other people. The Tea Table's Blog also covers these types of topics.
- We strive to responsibly promote tea as a healthful beverage. However, we believe that truthfulness is more important than sales. We will never use unsupported statements or exaggerated claims regarding the health benefits of tea. Yes, tea is good for you, but it isn't a magic bullet. The health information about tea on our site is based on current scientific research, not hyped up media stories or other company's claims.
- To see what our customers have to say about us, visit our Testimonials page.
Customer Service hours by phone are 9:00AM - 4:30PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Mountain Time, or 24 hours a day with our Contact Form
Locations in Colorado where our teas are sold:
152 S. College Ave.
Fort Collins CO 80524
Jax Outdoor Gear
1200 N. College Ave.
Fort Collins CO 80524
Jax Outdoor Gear
950 E. Eisenhower
Loveland CO 80537
Everyday Joe's Coffee House
144 S. Mason St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524