In America avid tea drinkers are sometimes looked on as odd – considering the typical Americans idea of tea comes in a bag that has been sitting on a shelf for ages. But occasionally someone comes up to you asking if you could find a tea that they would enjoy. Or for a present you decide to give the gift of tea to someone close to you. This is a rare opportunity to make a new convert into the way of tea, so how do you go about such a daunting task?
First of all, finding the right tea for them, this depending on how well you know the potential convert might involve an interview of sorts. What other beverages do they like, are they a coffee drinker (how do they take it), do they like fruity beverages? If they are a coffee drinker and are up to the possibility of going from a morning cup of joe, to a nice cup of tea, have them try out a breakfast tea or two. For some people that morning cup of coffee is a staple, and won’t be changed for the world, in that case you need to think of the other questions. Fruity beverages give way to white tea or greener oolongs. If they are just looking for something cleansing and refreshing, just about all teas will work, but that’s when you point to the greens, and to some extent the whites.
It might be helpful just to give them a vague idea of what each category will taste like. White tea will be very mild and have floral and honey notes. Green tea is much more vegetal. Oolong tea is more of a wild card, and really lends itself to being explored, to let you figure out which sort of oolongs you like. Black tea is best for an occasional drink as it takes the longest to expire, and in my opinion the easiest to consistently get a satisfactory cup.
If it’s a gift you are getting for someone, consider throwing in a basic teapot, glazed preferably. Also if they are embarking into the tea world on their own a gift bag of a timer and thermometer should always be welcome. For a more experienced tea drinker consider an electric kettle if they do not already have one.
When turning to tea the possibilities are nearly endless. So spread the joy of tea to the people near you!