Here are some of my favorite finds for upgrading your daily cuppa - gifts for hot tea lovers, tea moment treats.
The key to a well-made cup of tea is the water with which you start; it should be hot, but not boiling. While some of us might be blessed with water that magically shoots from the tap at the correct brewing temperature, for the rest of us some tool or other must be engaged for heating water. There’s the microwave, and many people are familiar with their stovetop kettle. But what about when traveling? Or indulging in the luxury of brewing right in the bedroom during the morning toilette? The best gift for satisfying those circumstances would be one of the many electric kettles on the market. From modern to traditional, variable temperature to cordless, there is a perfect match for everyone.
Once your water is prepped it is time to brew. I recommend using loose leaf tea that can be dried and steeped a second time. For loved ones who make tea-sipping a social event, pick up a nice French press. Again, the variety is boundless, so you can satisfy all style tastes: classic, modern, ceramic, or stainless.
If you or your giftee prefer to enjoy one cup at a time, an infuser is the way to go! I love this cheeky, and seasonally appropriate, little guy by Chef’n (above).
Or this cute heart shaped mesh infuser with gemstones could be a perfect fit for your giftee.
One of the unfortunate drawbacks of brewing a full pot of tea is the rapidity with which it seems to cool in the pot. A candle-powered pot warmer offers a charming way to keep your brew warm.
For those who prefer to make a cup go a long way, a heat-preserving, double-walled mug is the way to go. To earn Gifter of the Year, pick up one of Tea Forte’s KATI brewing systems, which includes a ceramic tumbler, lid, and infuser.
Another charming addition to any tea service is a tray. Not only do they make for a good presentation come tea-time, but they’re also handy for toting about cups, saucers, and plates piled with tasty treats. This bright orange number from Ikea gives a lighthearted, modern spin to the classic silver tray.
Whether you like to sip alone or share a cup with friends, no tea set is complete without a creamer and sugar bowl. Better yet, a-two-in-one! Tonfisk designed a cream and sugar set that is equal parts elegant, compact, and functional.
But let’s take a step away from the obvious tea accoutrement. Even devot-teas (yeah, I just went there) can have too many tea-related items. When thinking of gifts, don’t forget to consider complementary items. A book of short stories is a nice way to show you really care about someone and her interests. It is also like giving the gift of a tea break since each story will take about the length of a single cup.
When in doubt, offer up sweets. Cookies -- or biscuits -- and cakes are, well, the bread and butter of tea time. Treat yourself or someone else to a real indulgence by selecting gourmet sweets from a chic patisserie in town.
The magical thing about tea is that it is never out of season. Coincidently, neither is gift-giving, whether you are treating yourself or buying for someone special. And whether it is enjoyed hot or cold (but never nine days old!), a thoughtful gift is as heartwarming as a big ‘ol cuppa love.
Photo credits: author, Chef'n, author, Tea Forte, Tonfisk, and Williams Sonoma.