Thoughts on how to decide what teas to give as gifts
December 05, 20194 min read
Tea Gifts - how to choose?
The easiest way for me to break down this topic is to make fictitious categories of tea drinkers with some consideration of how well (or not) you know the gift recipient. Here are some types of gift recipients you might have on your list:
A. I don't know this person very well and I've never actually seen them drink tea.
This one seems tough at first, but actually there are two easy routes to go down for a gift win. The seemingly risky part is how to decide if this person would enjoy a flavored tea or an unflavored tea. My thinking on this is to choose a tea or two that is super solid and will likely appeal to all tea drinkers no matter their overall tea drinking habits. My starting recommendation would be to consider scented teas (which technically are different thanflavoredteas), extremely palatable oolongs, or even going with a nice herbal tea or two for nighttime drinking.
Why? At first blush a rose scented tea may sound funky (as in funky bad, not funky good), but Empress Cup is a long standing best seller with a hard core devoted fan base and is just a downright awesome black tea. Super sweet, fragrant, and balanced.
Why? Many people genuinely go nuts for this tea. It has no actual additives or anything like that. Milk oolong is made from a varietal of tea plant in Taiwan that has naturally occurring creamy fruity aromatics that make for a real crowd-pleaser of a tea.
Why? No matter who you are it's nice to have an minty herbal around for unwinding after a stressful day or after a meal. Offering of Mint is exquisite - rich and nuanced with notes of clove and cardamom.
B. I know that this person loves tea of all kinds and that they love trying new things.
Easy peasy. As a tea gift giver, the trick for this person is choosing solid teas that are beyond what they've come across before to keep them engaged and surprised. My thought is that you don't want to get too out there just in case, but out there enough to keep them intrigued
Why? It's just so darn good, that's why. Extremely rich and dark, but not overly astringent or rough. Notes of molasses, cooked grains, and sugars. I hope to be so lucky as to always have this tea in my life - it's that satisfying.
Why? Most Korean tea stays in Korea so it's fun to try something we don't usually get here in the States. Korea has a rich and extensive history of tea making and tea appreciation, and overall their tea production is very high quality. This specific tea has an incredible grainy sweetness in the aftertaste that is not to be missed.
C. I know my recipient enjoys English style teas and teas with milk or lemon in it.
This is a fairly easy nut to crack. Generally teas that are made English-style are teas from Africa, India, and Sri Lanka. There are also a handful of famous Chinese black teas that have made it to the pinnacle of European tea appreciation and have earned their rightful place at the English tea service table.
Why? Many chajin (or 'tea people') have a deep affection for Wuyi Oolongs. They are the original oolong, the first ever made. Old Bush Shui Xian is a beautiful, well-rested charcoal roasted Wuyi oolong from older bushes.
Why? This is a six year old white tea from Fujian Province. The tea liquor is rich with enticing aromas of baking spice. Get them the whole cake if you can. It's fun to have, beautiful to look at, and a treasure to own.