Sharing a tea moment with a friend can be one of life’s pleasures. Tea is a very special beverage and a perfect way to say, “I enjoy your company.” But what if your friend thinks that a bunch of tea leaf dust swept up from the tea processing trays/floor/whatever and stuffed into a bag made of hemp from banana leaves and possibly having a string and tag stapled to it amounts to what we all lovingly call tea?
Phew! Quite a question. And I have an answer: give your friend a tea gift!
Of course, there are tea gifts and then there are tea gifts. The former are the kind well-meaning friends and relatives give you for Christmas, birthdays, housewarmings, maybe even baby showers; they usually consist of a box of tea bags from some local store and possibly a simple teapot. The latter are well-thought-out gifts designed to educate as well as bring tea enjoyment; these are more appropriately made of a selection of teas and teawares designed to give your friend a real introduction into the complex world of tea — without overwhelming him or her.
Tea enjoyment can fall into several groupings, such as:
- Tea colors
- Tea varieties
- Different teas within each variety
- Asian tea traditions
- English tea traditions
- European tea traditions
- Western tea traditions
- Tea vendor offerings
You could shape your tea gift to fit one of these groupings or one of your own creation. Some options are:
- a particular tea from each color (white, yellow, green, red, brown, black, etc.)
- a group of several teas from the same color,
- several teas from within a tea variety (Darjeeling, Oolong, Ceylon, Assam, etc.)
- some teas popular here in the U.S. (English Breakfast, Harney & Sons, etc.)
- a set of teas commonly drunk in countries like Britain or Japan
That brings me to the subject of tea equipage. If your friend doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about tea, he/she probably also doesn’t have decent teapots, teacups, strainers, etc. (Anyone who thinks tea comes in a bag with a string and tag attached very likely thinks that a basic china mug is all that’s needed.) Another opportunity to enlighten.
In addition to Yixing pots that are specially designed for an Asian tea experience, there are bone china teapots that have been adding elegance to teatime in England for many decades, cast iron teapots that have a solid feel when you pour and keep the tea hot for awhile, and many others. New styles of teaware in porcelain, metal, and glass come on the market daily. Teacups with saucers lend a delicate air to having tea, and teamugs keep things “real” with their no-nonsense approach to a good “cuppa.”
Sounds like you need some combination of teas and teawares to make your tea gift one that will truly save your friends from bad tea. If you pick the items carefully, your friends will thank you for years to come. Happy shopping!
Shopping for tea gifts is just another part of living the tea life, folks! Head over to A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, to learn more!