Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tea Gifts for Every Type of Tea Lover


It's that special time of year! If you're wondering what to get your favorite tea lover for the holidays, I've compiled a list of suggestions from the beginner to the more advanced tea geek, and everyone in-between. Of course, a whole list of tea vendors as well! So let's bring on the gifts:

For Those Working From Home

Small Tea Tray: I have this exact tea tray in my office, and it's the perfect size for gongfu tea on a desk. I also like that it doesn't have any images or logos on it. Plain and simple!

Zens Travel Set: I have used this little travel set for years, and it's perfect for desk tea. It's small, easy to clean, and fun to use. I also like the minimalist design.

Small Teapot Set If you'd prefer to gift a teapot and cups but your recipient doesn't have much space, a travel set is a good option. This one also comes with a storage case to keep it safe and organized when not in use.

Travel Gaiwan Set: If a gaiwan is what you're looking for, again a travel set is a good option. It comes with everything needed for gongfu-style tea, and has a storage case.

Small Tea Kettle: If your gift recipient has room on a desk for a kettle, this one has a small footprint, and you can set your desired temperature. I've had this one for years and it doesn't disappoint.

Insulated Tea Tumbler: If having a kettle by a desk isn't an option, an insulated tumbler like this is a good way to go. I have a few of these that I keep by my desk, and they keep the water hot all day long, ready to brew up tea any time I need it. It comes in many colors and sizes.

For The Tea Beginner

Basic Teapot: A small teapot with a removable strainer is a great way to start a tea journey. I love that these pots come in cheerful colors. I have one I use almost every day when I'm in the office.

Matcha set: If you know anyone that wants to start whisking their own matcha, this set is a great way to start, and it has all the tools they'll need.

Basic Gaiwan: A sturdy gaiwan set with cups like this one is a good starter set. It's not too delicate which makes it a little less intimidating to use. Plus it has thick walls which won't burn fingers quite as easily, and comes with two cups. 

For Anyone That Needs Tea Storage

Tea Storage Box: I was recently gifted this box for review, and it's proving to be quite handy. It is beautifully made and the compartments are roomy. You can also take out the dividers and use it to store larger packages of tea or tea cakes. I decided to store cups in the compartments, since I have so many and they're tough to keep safe. It makes a lovely gift.

Small Tea Storage Jar: I have a few of these small jars in different colors and they are perfect for storing small amounts of loose leaf tea. They are airtight and attractive.

Large Tea Storage Jar: For something larger and minimalist, these get the job done. They are nice enough to leave on a counter and have the important features of being air-tight and opaque.

Storage Basket: For round tea cakes, I use one of these baskets. They can fit a few cakes, and allow for a nice amount of air-flow for the tea to breathe. A storage gift a bit more unique, and very useful.

For The Bookworm

Here are a few books about tea that I've enjoyed this year, everything for the tea beginner to those looking to go a bit deeper into tea facts and history:

A Dark History of Tea by Seren Charrington-Hollins: Tea has such a long and storied history, it's only natural to have seen many dark moments. The author gathers many of the dangerous and morbid events throughout tea history and compiles them into one well-researched book. An entertaining read for anyone looking for interesting tea history.

Tea: A Nerd's Eye View by Virginia Utermohlen Lovelace: This book has information for Tea Nerds of every kind. Everything from tea chemistry and plant biology, to how our senses perceive the flavors in tea.

Grow Your Own Tea by Christine Parks and tea historian Susan Walcott, Ph.D: For anyone interested in growing their own tea, this book covers all the basics of growing Camellia Sinensis plants at home, both indoors and out. 

Flowers + Tea: A Collection Of Works by Alexander Ahearn: This book lovingly illustrates the beauty of tea through poetry, tea evaluations and photography. A delightful book to give as a gift.

Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand, and Jasmin Desharnais: While not new this year, this is a book for anyone that wants to learn more about tea. I use it frequently as a reference guide.

For the Tea Loving Teen

Boba Tea Lamp: I have seen this lamp mentioned in various places, and I'm so tempted to get it! It's so adorable. I know my Tween Tea Critic would go crazy for it.

Tea Pins: I love everything from the Tea Thoughts shop, especially these pins. A fun gift for the tea-loving teen to display on their bag or jacket of choice. Be sure to check out all her pins and other fun offerings.

Tea Shirt: Not just for teens, a fun tea shirt is a gift any tea-lover would appreciate. You can find tea shirts galore with a simple google search, and I'm partial to Alex's lovingly designed shirts where the proceeds go to the Trevor Project.

For The Tea Latte Lover

Milk Frother: There are many types of milk frothers, and I personally own this one and absolutely love it. It's more expensive than most but it warms the milk (no need to do that separately!) and can create two different foam textures. You can add tea powders directly to the milk while frothing, and you can also make hot chocolate in it, so that's a win-win in my book!

Hand-held frother: If you prefer to warm your milk in a pot, or just want something that froths, this is a great choice.

Fun Tea Mug: Of course, you'll need a nice big mug to hold that frothy tea! These mugs are beautifully hand-decorated, and are from a small woman-owned business. My link gives one design choice, and there are many others to choose from.

For The Teaware Lover That Has Everything

Trap China from Ivy's Tea: I'm always tempted by this line of cups from Ivy's Tea. It's super popular and make a great gift. And you'll be supporting a small, Black-owned business.

Cold Brew Tea Bottle: Your tea-loving friend is probably cold-brewing teas, so why not give them a bottle that is elegant, and narrow enough to fit on the door of the refrigerator. I use these all summer long.

Simple Glass Teapot and Cups:  Your friend may be a collector of amazing teaware, but do they have a basic glass tea set? I find this one to be super useful for a crowd- I love that everyone can see the color of the tea and the cups have been in my regular rotation for some time now.

Give The Gift of Education

If you would like to gift someone a tea class, here are just a few places offering online classes:

ITEI: International Tea Education Institute: Full disclosure- I studied for my tea sommelier certification with ITEI. I recommend it because I think the classes are comprehensive and the teachers are very knowledgeable and will be flexible with your schedule. A full range of online tea courses are offered. And mention my name to get a discount! 

TeaClassics: I can't think of anyone more knowledgeable about tea and food than Yoon Hee Kim. She offers tea education and regional cooking services including a wide variety of tea classes, traditional Korean regional cuisines, tea meditation, Korean tea ceremony, and tea tastings. 

Tea Blending Sisters: If you are interested in learning how to create tea blends, look no further than a class with JoAni Johnson of Tea Blending Sisters. Tea blending is part science, and part art form, and she will teach you everything you need to know to create memorable tea blends.

World Tea Academy: A resource for all sorts of tea certifications and classes.

Being Tea: A variety of tea classes and online workshops available.

MoJoosh- Offering unique online tea seminars on everything from tastings to tea culture, to history. 

This is Great, But What About the TEA?

So if you're looking to gift tea, here are a few smaller-scale vendors I'd recommend checking out. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I think you'll find lots of options. If you are looking for specific types of teas and are still unsure where to purchase, leave a comment below, or you can send me an email.

A. Tellin Tea Company: Well crafted blends that are sold in limited quantities with hand-made packaging.

August Moon Tea: Carefully sourced Chinese tea and teaware.

Bana Tea Company: Specializing in well curated pu'erh and aged teas, woman-owned company with many years of experience.

BANGtea- Delicious and unique Taiwanese teas from small organic farms

Calabash Tea: Washington D.C based Black-owned company offering loose leaf tea with a focus on interesting blends and herbals.

Crimson Lotus Tea- Pu'erh tea specialists based in the Seattle area.

Eco-Cha Tea: Taiwanese teas sourced from family run tea farms.

Floating Leaves Tea: Seattle based vendor specializing in Taiwanese teas, teaware, and they aoffer interesting online seminars.

The Great Mississippi Tea Company: Tea grown and processed in Mississippi. Every tea I've tried is really good, and they have worked hard to perfect their processing techniques.

Happy Earth Tea: Family owned Rochester, NY based company with well curated teas and gifts, specializing in Darjeeling tea.

Hatvala Teas: A great source for Vietnamese teas

Hojicha Co: For all things hojicha (roasted Japanese green tea)! 

Hojo Tea: A Japanese tea company specializing in green tea and cast-iron teaware.

Jeni Dodd Tea: Jeni is an advocate for Nepalese tea growers and she sells an excellent small selection of teas.

Ketlee: Unique and high quality Indian teas

Kettl: NYC based, well curated and harder to find Japanese teas and beautiful teaware. 

Little Red Cup: Organic Chinese teas, with lots of sampler sets and fun tea accessories.

Lochan Tea- A good source for quality Indian teas of all kinds.

Mansa Tea: Well sourced pu'erh and other aged teas, woman-owned tea company.

Nepali Tea Traders: Family-owned Nepalese tea company

Nepal Tea LLC: Organic Nepalese teas from small farms.

Oscar Brekell's Tea Selection: Fantastic single-estate Japanese teas, specializing in sencha.

Renegade Tea Shop: Teas grown and processed in the country of Georgia.

Sage Collective: NYC Based woman-owned shop of beautiful Chinese tea and wares with an eye for beautiful design.

Senbird Tea: A good source for teas and herbs from Japan.

Song Tea & Ceramics: Beautiful teas and teaware perfect for gift-giving.

The Qi: A beautiful selection of whole-flower tisanes

The Tea Crane:  Japanese teas curated by a passionate tea teacher.

Té Company: NY Based tea shop and online retailer of delicious Taiwanese tea and amazing cookies.

Tea Side: Unique teas from lesser-known growing areas like Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos

Tea Trekker: A great source for teas, teaware, and information.

Teawala: Teas sourced directly from farmers in China, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. Woman-owned tea company.

Tillerman Tea: Taiwanese teas sourced directly from farmers.

UNYTEA: A fun range of carefully sourced teas, from a passionate seller.

Young Mountain Tea: Selling Indian teas that empower the grower and the surrounding community

Please also see my list of Black-Owned tea companies to support this holiday season. There is a list of all sorts of tea vendors to choose from.

Happy Holidays everyone! If you're still stumped on what to get your tea-loving folks, you can always ask in the comments, or send me a note. 

4 comments:

  1. This is a fabulous list. Thanks Sara!

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  2. Sara, wow, I am astounded at this long list of tea gift suggestions - thank you! Happy New Year, Angela

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    1. Thank you so much, Angela! Just checked out your site as well, I love it!

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