They are your weird friends, the ones that say no to coffee. The ones that avoid caffeine and always carry a mug with them wherever they go. Their stovetop always has a hot kettle of water. Try these gift ideas and they may hug you in delight.
1. Teapot with matching cups, tea kettle
No one teapot is enough. Stores sell teapots that hold one cup, two cups, clear up to ten cups. They come in shapes and styles that range from comic characters, floral fantasies, contain niche hobby designs or that will work well as floral vases. Matching cups and saucers, if the style demands them, are also handy. But think round. Your tea drinker wants something that fits in the cup of one’s hands like a hand warmer as well as a dainty concoction with a handle two small to fit your little finger.
2. Strainers and whisks
This is where true tea drinking art comes in. Tea must steep otherwise it gets too acrid. Strainers to remove tea dregs range from refillable balls that hook on the side of your teapot, to ones that exactly fit your teacup. Powdered teas require a whisk to beat the tea into a froth of hot water. Since strainers are annoying to clean, several are always welcome at the tea drinker’s home. Welcome, unless you like to dump the dregs in your saucer for fortune telling.
3. Cozies, hand mitts and potholders
Tea cozies are used to keep a pot of tea warm. Again, the art of cozy making allows a fantasy of styles, not only can they be conspicuous, but they can stand out as art on their own. Many are sold with matching hand mitts and potholders. Either match your teapot, or contrast with it. Make a statement. Alternatively, an electric or battery powered warming trivet will make your tea last for an afternoon. Be sure to filter out the tea if you do.
An endless selection of teas are available that will whet any tea lover’s appetite. Many teashops sell bulk teas that they’ve mixed themselves and will sell it by baggy, in jars, or plastic containers. Chinese teashops have other mixes of teas. Teas come in five main flavors: black pekoe, orange pekoe, green, white, and herbal teas. All of the first three contain caffeine and some of the herb ones do, too. Black teas are the strongest, orange pekoe milder, while green teas are muted.
Tea bags are often more expensive, easier to use and not as fresh. Individually wrapped tea bags will last longer.
5. Storage Containers
After buying all those teas, your tea lover will likely need some air sealed containers to hold them all. Containers that provide a means to sort by type are really nice. Tins are colorful and often come in stackable sizes. Be creative and match their kitchen.
6. Recipe Books
What’s tea without some inspiration for serving it to your guests. Recipe books can provide ways to sweeten, decorate, cool, or enhance your teas. Imagine tea served in a punch bowl with crystallized pansy petals. You get the drift. Also, most tea parties serve luncheon, sweets, sandwiches, or nibbles. Every person appreciates another cookbook.
7. Books about Herbs
I’ve already mentioned herbal teas, but many people like to grow their own tea. They use them to enhance their tea collection, steam as air freshener, or decorate as centerpiece. Many books tell how to grow herbs, use them for healing, and use them in floral arranging. The possibilities are endless.
8. Candies and unique sweeteners
At my first Japanese tea ceremony, I was surprised when I was offered several hard candies on a ceramic tray. Candy used to freshen the breath or sweeten tea is an unusual way to drink ones tea. Other possibilities suggested include candy dishes, trays, Japanese tea ceremony books, and candy making books, and molds. Don’t forget artificial sweeteners, either.
9. Pastry making and decorating kit
The crème de la crème of tea parties is the sweets tray. Pastries dripping goo, and swirled with whipping cream or set on a tray swirled with chocolate and fruit add to the experience.
10. Drying kiln
This is the ultimate for the tea drinker who makes their own. A drying kiln provides trays where herbs can dry slowly so they don’t lose color, texture or taste. Most dried teas will taste stronger than freshly cut.
If your tea lover has all these things, what can I say? Consider throwing in a tin of chocolate, a gas fireplace, tickets to the Orient or anyplace in the British Commonwealth, and a romance novel and you’ll likely find your tea drinker with their feet up, purring happily. Your intent, right?