About The Tea Table
Welcome to The Tea Table! We offer 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.
I am Lori Way (formerly Bricker), the owner of The Tea Table. After working in the health care field as a registered dietitian for several years, I started The Tea Table in 2000 as a way of integrating my love of tea with my passion for nutrition and healthy living. The Tea Table started 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.
Lori: I am the founder and President of The Tea Table. A registered dietitian by profession, with two degrees in nutrition and one in English, I finally decided to stop going back to school and work for living! Alas, dietetics just wasn't quite right. While I was thinking about what to do next, a neighbor with a bed and breakfast asked me to help with tea parties once a month at the B&B, and I got my first taste of the tea business, which I immediately loved. I opened a very small gift shop in the lobby of the 3-room bed and breakfast selling English teas, teapots, and other tea accessories. Lo and behold, people bought things! Although the tea parties only lasted six months, I knew I wanted to expand the gift shop, so I looked for a bigger space downtown. Only then did I discover how hard running a gift shop really was! Nevertheless, I was hooked, and The Tea Table continues. My duties currently include tea and health research, blogging, social networking, search engine optimization, marketing, special projects, and brainstorming. In my spare time, I love to bike in the mountains near Fort Collins, CO, play with my three cats, Spot, Peanut, and Sherlock, cook tons, read, walk, collect antiques, and listen to a staggering variety of music. I make my own bread and yogurt, and I make a mean pizza! Oh, and my favorite tea is Yunnan Golden Buds, followed by Keemun Mao Feng, Supreme Breakfast, and Masala Chai. When I need less caffeine, I mix Decaffeinated Assam with either Supreme Breakfast or Assam Mangalam.
John: John is the General Manager, which means he does nearly everything. A self-employed professional photographer, he started with The Tea Table as our photographer for print ads when we first opened. Once the web site went up, he did the digital photography for the web site, too. John is very technically inclined and has a knowledge of databases, so we hired him to do our database management, and he created the first of many databases for us that allowed us to keep track of our growing volume of Tea of the Month Club members. (That tool was a godsend, thank you.) After becoming less interested in doing professional photography for a living, John was hired as the Shipping Manager and immediately started to streamline shipping operations. A promotion to Operations Manager followed when we moved into our current warehouse, which led rather nicely into General Manager shortly thereafter. John has brilliantly handled all the duties thrust at him during all these promotions and is running the business better than I ever did. In John's spare time, he loves to watch and review movies and listen to a mind-blowing amount of music on a sound system that anyone would die for. His favorite tea? Tippy Mangalam Assam. He also drinks a lot of Earl Grey White Tip and various Keemuns.
Sharon: Sharon was the very first employee at The Tea Table, hired 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 is now in charge of the Tea Room, which is where we package tea. In addition to supervising that area, she does some bookkeeping, delivers our pick-up orders to Everyday Joe's Coffee Shop and Pringle's Fine Wine, and continues to do our gift wrapping. She still finds herself cleaning -- she just can't help it! 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.
Cameron: Cameron is the webmaster for The Tea Table and founder, owner, and operator of Trent Studios. Cameron's background is in graphic design, so his emphasis on aesthetics has always been apparent on our web site. But Cameron is also responsible for saving the online store. The Tea Table's very first web site was made by someone else, and when they went out of business, they shuffled us over to some huge company that didn't want to deal with us. I remember calling that company once to ask for a change to made to the site, and they replied, "Yeah, I'll have to look at your web site some time." Nightmare! I immediately called someone who used to work for the old company to see if she had any ideas of who could help me. Her recommendation prompted a contact form submission on the Trent Studios web site, and 30 minutes later Cameron arrived at The Tea Table, ready to help. Now there was service! Since then Cameron has hosted our site, been responsible for its design and functionality, and also designs all our web site banners and print brochures. In his spare time, he loves to camp and mountain bike. Cameron has also become a dedicated tea drinker--his favorite teas? Earl Grey, Jasmine Yin Hao, and any Oolong.
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. Although we contract with Fed Ex for most of our shipping, sometimes the US Postal Service has better prices. So we're happy to let you choose between the two, and at checkout you'll see the price for each listed and you may opt for the one you want. We also know people with P.O. boxes appreciate having the choice to use mail to receive their package.
- 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. As a health professional, I believe that truthfulness is more important than sales. We will never use false statements or exaggerated claims regarding the health benefits of any of our teas. 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 are 9:00AM - 4:30PM Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Mountain Time.
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Local stores that sell or serve our tea:
152 S. College Ave.
Fort Collins CO 80524
Jax Outdoor Gear
1200 N. College Ave.
Fort Collins CO 80524
800.336.8314 ext 104
Everyday Joe's Coffee Shop
144 S. Mason St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
The Chocolate Rose Tea Room
3728 Cleveland Ave
Wellington, CO 80549
The Cup Espresso Cafe
1521 Pearl St. Unit B
Boulder CO 80302
76 S Pennsylvania Ave.
DENVER CO 80209
So relax, have fun, and enjoy your time here!
Lori Way, MS, RD