How do you know if your friend, family member or significant other is a tea lover?
Here are a few hints that you can look for:
- they start their day by making a cup of tea, preferably loose leaf
- once the tea is ready, they would spend some time at the steaming cup and saying something along the lines of: "to drink tea is to forget the noise of the world
- in one of the kitchen cupboards, they would have loads of different teas, preferably loose leaf
- they invest a significant portion of their paycheck into different tea utensils, teapots, tea cups, tea trays...
If your friend, family member or significant other meet at least one of the above criteria, congratulations you are in the company of a tea lover! Once this has been determined, it will be really easy to find the gift which would make them happy.
1. For a beginning tea lover
A gaiwan is the traditional Chinese tool for making Chinese green and oolong teas. If your tea loving friend is new into tea, chances are that they don't have one yet or that they don't have more than one.
A book to learn everything that there is to know about tea
Some excellent books on tea that would make any beginning tea lover happy are:
- Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties - an overview of the history of tea, different types of teas and tea ceremonies from all around the world
- The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Tea - an extremely subjective book in which the author argues that the West has almost destroyed the noble Asian tea drinking culture
2. For a geeky tea lover
A clay teapot
If your tea lover friend seems to be on top of their tea game and they have a multitude of teapots, a few gaiwans and many different tea services, you may surprise them with a clay teapot, for example from the yixing area.
These tiny teapots are used in Chinese tea ceremonies and are also known as memory teapots because they "remember" all the teas that were made in them before and can thus enrich any new tea you brew in them.
3. For a really advanced geeky tea lover
In case your tea-loving friend already has entire cupboards full of tea gear, you may want to look for more advanced gadgets. Luckily, the Chinese tea ceremony requires up to eleven different tools so it is quite easy to find a surprising gift even for such an individual.
A bamboo tea tray
It is not only a beautiful object but also a very useful tool. Traditionally the Chinese tea ceremony requires that all the utensils are covered with hot water to ensure proper infusion and "wake them up". Without the bamboo tea tray which absorbs all the hot water and can be emptied after the tea ceremony, the hot water would end up on the table, or, worse yet, on the knees of the participants!
The best place for finding a tea tray is again Etsy.
Another unusual but very useful and beautiful at the same time element of the Chinese tea ceremony are the sniffing cups. Each participant should have one cup to drink tea and one to smell it before drinking. The tea is first poured into the sniffing cup and next the sniffing cup is emptied. You can enjoy the smell of the tea which lingers in the empty sniffing cup.
The sniffing cups can be found on Etsy or in specialist tea shops, such as Palais des Thes.
4. For a traditional tea lover
In case you or your tea-loving friend are somewhat intimidated by the Chinese tea ceremony, the 11 utensils and the sniffing cup, a the evergreen tea classics will be a safer bet.
A beautiful teapot is the perfect gift for almost anyone, not only a tea lover!
Villeroy & Boch offer bone china teapots that are simply perfect - not only beautiful buy also light and - important! - non dripping.
The French tea makers from Mariage Freres also have a wide range of teapot, especially glass ones which allow you to admire the deep indigo colour of their famous blue teas.
A beautiful tea jar
A truly great teapot will always be somewhat pricy. That's why a beautiful tea jar is a very good inexpensive alternative.
Most of the world's tea makers offer their teas in beautiful boxes. However, you should be careful in choosing a product which not only looks nice but also offers an excellent tea. Otherwise, your tea-loving friend might be disappointed!
At teapster, we are very proud of our milky oolong in Japanese paper canister but here are some other top choices:
- Bastille Day Tea or any blue tea from Mariage Freres
- Rare Earl Grey from Rare Tea Company
- Prince Vladimir from Kusmi Tea
5. For a solitary tea lover
A single beautiful tea cup
The large teapots and tea cannisters and elaborate tea sets assume more than one tea drinker at a time. A solitary tea lover will appreciate a gift which allows them to enjoy their favorite tea on their own.
One truly beautiful tea cup with a saucer can become an unforgettable gift. In this area, my absolute favorite is the Amazonia service from Vileroy & Boch.
Each tea cup is a work of art!
6. For a caffeine-fearing tea lover
Caffeine-free tea substitutes
While recognized for its many health benefits, tea contains caffeine and as such needs to be consumed in only limited quantities by certain tea lovers, for example by pregnant or breast-feeding women.
Luckily, there exist many caffeine-free options that are not technically tea but can also be infused in a teapot and consumed in a cup, under a blanket on a cold winter evening, which is, after all, the whole point of tea-drinking, isn't it?
Some caffeine-free options are:
- rooibos - for instant the excellent Carrot Cake Rooibos from Dammann Freres
- herbal infusions - such as those from Pukka Herbs
7. For an artistic tea lover
Handcrafted artistic teaware
With the pandemic pushing the artistic minds to engage with pottery and other crafts, the internet now abounds in teaware made by talented artists.
It is very easy to buy a tea cup, bowl or saucer which has been handcrafted just for us and only exists in one example.
Such unique pieces can be bought in specialist shops such as:
8. For a tea lover on a diet
Some teas are known for their health benefits and in particular for their weight loss properties. One such tea type is oolong tea, in which we specialise here at teapster.
However, any tea is completely calorie-free and as such can be offered to tea lovers on any kind of diet.
9. For a posh tea lover
Mariage Freres Advent Calendar
If there was an equivalent of the Hermes handbag in the tea world, it would be the Advent Calendar from the French tea makers, Mariage Freres.
To quote the producer, it is "Splendid and sparkling (...) dressed in gold and luminous mint green (...) Handsomely tied with a satin ribbon, it houses 25 unique teas to discover and taste every day."
10. For a tea lover who has absolutely everything else
If your tea loving friend has been into the tea game for years and you fear they have by now amassed any imaginable tea-related object, don't worry! The incredibly creative Nazanin from the shop Tea Thoughts almost every day comes up with new ideas for products related to tea.
Some of the recent releases are:
- washi tape with a sloth carrying a gaiwan
- teacup earrings and...
- fuzzy socks with a gaiwan design!
Hoping that you will find this gift guide inspiring and useful! Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section.