The Tea Dragon Society – T Ching


While researching a topic I was considering writing about, I (happily!) stumbled across a delightful short comic called “The Tea Dragon Society” by author and artist Katie O’Neill. As a lifelong comic fan as well as having a tiny (haha) interest in tea, I was intrigued. I read the entire comic in short order and was completely enchanted!

Greta

Set in a magical fantasy world where “people” includes both human and sentient humanoid animals, the comic is told from the perspective of a teen girl named Greta of goblin and oxen descent who is learning from her mother to be a blacksmith. Greta happens across a “tea dragon” in need of rescue, and subsequently returns it to its owner. And that’s how we learn that in this world, tea isn’t a plant: It’s harvested from the antlers of tiny pet dragons, who need careful love and care to thrive! So each flavor or type of tea is a different type of dragon, each with its own unique personality.

The story is sweet and charming, but also casually blends in progressive ideals. There is a friendship between teen girls who come from wildly different backgrounds, an established homosexual relationship, and a character who is physically disabled. I thought the author/artist handled the inclusion of these concepts gracefully, subtly introducing them in a way that did an excellent job of normalizing and showing that it’s just life.

The tea dragon “Jasmine”

The art is colorful and bright, with bold backgrounds and a minimization of hard lines. The attention to detail when it comes to the numerous plants, emotional responses, and subtle highlighting is exceptional. Relying more on subtle shading and shapes than the typical line-heavy comic style, the story is more what one is accustomed to from a children’s book. It’s no wonder it has won numerous accolades and awards as a result, including:

A 2018 Eisner Award Finalist
ALA Rainbow List (2018)

Winner of the 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Kids Comics
Amazon.com’s Best Comics & Graphic Novels (2017)
School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels (2017)

“The Tea Dragon Society” is available in its entirety to read online, but can also be purchased in hardback print form on Amazon, which I highly recommend!

Images acquired from the comic website, with permission of author/artist Katie O’Neill.



Bulletproof Tea Recipes You Must Try On The Keto Diet


Guest post by: Claire Adams

Coffee lovers on the Keto diet can easily find incredible bulletproof coffee recipes to fuel there mornings. Tea lovers, on the other hand, are often neglected when it comes to bulletproof beverages. For tea lovers on the Keto diet, nothing is more satisfying than a piping hot cup of rich, creamy tea.

If you’re looking for the best bulletproof coffee recipes for Keto, you can find them here. If, however, you appreciate the finer things in life and want to combine your love of tea with your diet plan, read on for bulletproof tea recipes you must try.

Bulletproof Earl Grey

Earl Grey is one of the most well-known and well-loved teas in the world. This black tea with hints of citrus was originally created by a Chinese tea master as a gift for Charles Grey, an Earl and Prime Minister of Britain during the 1800s. Since then, Earl Grey has become the epitome of British tea culture and a fan favorite worldwide. To make it bulletproof, you will need:

  • 1 cup of hot Earl Grey tea
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Blend the ingredients, being mindful of the hot liquid. For some extra flavor, add the zest of an orange peel to your mixture.

Bulletproof Matcha Green Tea

Matcha has been taking the health world by storm over the past few years, due to its appetite-curbing, antioxidant benefits. This powder is a form of pulverized green tea, which can be added to drinks, baked goods, and even ice cream for a boost of flavor and nutrients. To make a hot cup of bulletproof matcha green tea, you will need:

  • 1 cup freshly steeped Matcha tea
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 tsp sweetener (optional)

Add the ingredients to the tea one at a time and blend. This also translates well into a frozen beverage or tea-lightful twist on a latte with the addition of heavy whipping cream.

Bulletproof Chai Tea Latte

If the idea of a bulletproof matcha green tea latte appeals to you, then wait until you try a bulletproof chai tea latte. Traditionally, chai tea offers a flavorful blend of spices, including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and even black pepper! Unlike many black teas, chai tea was usually mixed with an abundance of honey and milk for a sweet, milky drink that set it apart from the rest. This morphed into the modern chai tea latte over time. For a bulletproof chai tea latte, you will need:

  • 1 cup of hot, freshly brewed, herbal chai tea (not the premixed version with milk)
  • 1 tbsp butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sweetener (optional)

Carefully blend the ingredients one at a time, allowing the cream to mix with the oil. For extra flavor, froth some heavy cream separately until foamy and layer over top. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for a coffee house feel you can enjoy at home.

When it comes to Keto-friendly bulletproof tea, if you can dream it, you can do it. Try using your favorite tea blend and develop your own bulletproof concoction!

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Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success.
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The Caffeine Issue – T Ching


OMG! Green tea has way too much caffeine in it! I’m not drinking that.

Caffeine. It’s the biggest excuse I hear to shoot green tea down in flames. This whole caffeine argument is the most opinionated topic there is on tea! People blindly spout off that there is more caffeine in green tea than coffee. It makes them feel justified for not drinking green tea as if it isn’t healthy after all.

Caffeine – but not as we know it

Glorious caffeine! It’s been dogged to death and someone needs to redeem it…that’ll be me, thanks.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. In studies in Austria*, caffeine has been shown to increase memory; findings prove caffeine can stimulate hair growth on balding men** (I knew someone would do research on this!); it can help you recover 48 percent quicker from post-workout muscle soreness according to researchers at the University of Georgia; and even eye spasms (blepharospasm) can be controlled says a study in The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Of course, we also know that it helps us stay awake when we are driving, gets us moving first thing in the morning, relieves headaches, and boosts stamina during exercising.

Is all caffeine the same?

Caffeine acts differently in green tea than it does in coffee, but why? It boils down to metabolization. Caffeine binds to the catechins in green tea and as they are metabolized and broken down, they “time-release” the caffeine into your bloodstream. Because there is more to metabolize with the bond between caffeine and the catechins in green tea, it slows down the release so you feel alert and not hyper. Enter Theanine, green tea’s incredible amino acid, and the dance of caffeine mellows even more.

Coffee, on the other hand, doesn’t have this superpower combination. It’s the bean, not the leaf, which makes your system acidic and jittery. Coffee is the so-called acid trip you imagine it to be.

What I find really interesting is what happens when Theanine mingles with caffeine. It’s this tango of caffeine and Theanine that gives you the bliss and clarity, the relaxed alert state, which is so pronounced when you drink green tea. You need both in the proper ratio to get that feeling. The Theanine and caffeine combination also reduces physical stress and gets the creative juices flowing.

A good way to get your head around this caffeine issue is to visualize two rubber bands. One is the short chubby kind like you might find on a bundle of asparagus and the other is the vermicelli-thin one that might be found on a roll of fliers.

Now, take the short, chubby one and imagine stretching it to its maximum point. It doesn’t go very far before snapping at you, right? Do the same with the thin one. See how it seems to stretch forever with a smooth motion? The chubby one represents coffee and the long thin one is green tea. The coffee caffeine delivery is short lived and snaps back at you. It gives you a quick wake up and then causes you to crash. Green tea, on the other hand, provides a gentle, continuous release of caffeine and doesn’t snap back. I really like this simple and memorable analogy, which my Chinese colleague nicknamed Mr. Bean, told me over a bowl of rubbery chicken feet one day.

Sources:

  • *Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting, Chicago, Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 2005. American Dietetic Association: “Cutting Down on Caffeine.” News release, Radiological Society of North America.
  • **International Journal of Dermatology: T. W. Fischer MD, U. C. Hipler PhD, P. Elsner MD – Article first published online: 3 JAN 2007: DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2007.03119.x

Image provided by author



Tea and the Concept of Experience Economy


I recently attended an Adobe software conference tied to the theme of experience business or experience economy.  The general idea behind that concept is this:  As economies evolve people go from demanding basic goods (agrarian- and then industrial-based economies) to demanding services and specific forms of experiences (service- and then experience-based economies).  The higher the level of value the more that can be charged; “experiences” can command higher pricing than typical services.

It’s not necessarily simple to tie this back to tea.  A bestseller “The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary” outlines how that company built an empire by shifting themes and adding more value.  

Of course we’ve now seen that approach not work related to being duplicated for tea sales.  This World Tea News article from January 2016 explained how all the Teavana cafes were closing, but the retail stores were doing fine, and then in July of 2017 Starbucks announced they were closing all those shops.  I won’t try to interpret that, since related factors were surely complicated, but it probably works to say that sorting out the best approach to selling tea isn’t simple.

Former NYC Teavana café

I’m noticing a divide in experiences related to this theme and tea.  By far the most popular teas sold in Bangkok are bubble tea or other flavored, sweetened, milk-based take-away versions that might as well have tapioca pearls at the bottom, even when they don’t.  It’s a beverage item and that’s it. Tea enthusiasts are at the other end of the spectrum. There can be secondary emphasis on ceremony or collecting gear but it’s mostly about the overall experience.

Of course it’s still about the tea, right?  Discussion arises about teaware, preparation methodology, and even subjects like health concerns; in places like online groups or at events, but in the end it comes back to liking aspects of the brewed teas.  That’s where the experience is, there is just plenty of room left for framing that.

Related to this split there might be a normal experience or preference curve of sorts, as people shift from floral blends, Tazo tea bags, and matcha lattes onto Gongfu-style brewing something like Dan Cong oolong or aged sheng pu’er.  True to the theory, as the demand transitions to a different focus it’s much less about price.

Focus on minimizing level of cost can even invert.  Someone recently claimed in an online comment to have only spent under $200 on a sheng pu’er cake once this year, quickly qualified as a smaller 200 gram cake.  Bulk order photos are a different form of demonstrating status in consumption level. $200 orders can look impressive, but then a single cake can cost more, and name-dropping decades old version references trumps any quantity.  A foreign tea enthusiast recently upped even that ante, describing commitment level as best expressed by a percentage of overall income spent on tea.

Wuyi Origin Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong; better teas don’t need to cost a significant percentage of your income

It seems all this really isn’t describing a general trend into expanding tea as a service-based experience versus a commodity.  The priciest local café here in Bangkok charges over $20 for a pot of tea, for a scant few grams; that’s at least back to purchasing an on-site experience.  

How to build that into the next version of a Starbucks, or did that prove to be a flawed goal?  Are these people focused as much on experience or on displaying status instead, or can the two really not be split?  It’s a bit of a tangent, but I’m reminded of a far more absurd topic coming up in an article about a golden taco:

The world’s most expensive taco is specially prepared at Grand Velas Los Cabos resort…  Ordering it will set you back $25,000 — almost the price of a new car.

The taco’s foundation is a gold-infused corn tortilla, which is then layered with Kobe beef and lobster. Toppings include black truffle Brie ($100 per ounce) and a dollop of Beluga caviar ($700 an ounce). Then, more layers of gold are added on top to finish…

Complaining about a $30 pot of tea and people spending enough to buy a car for a taco seem worlds apart.

These diverse threads make it hard to stick to the train of thought of what experiences people might want next related to tea, or what will become popular, and how expenses would factor in.  Seeking out traditional, quiet, feng shui designed cafes doesn’t seem likely to catch on. Even the committed tea bloggers I read sometimes speak of setting aside the better teaware and complex brewing processes due to just getting busy, maybe taking up a grandpa-style approach instead.

I drank Tazo ages ago; I have no hate for tea-bag based blends, I just don’t drink that

All the while in beginner-oriented tea groups I keep finding myself arguing the merits of basic, plain, inexpensive loose teas.  In one recent discussion, someone asked if mixing peanut butter powder into tea might work (and it might, I guess), and I wondered if that person ever tried a Tie Kuan Yin of any quality level before, or a single example of Chinese black tea.  It turned out they were really looking for Thai iced tea (which can be nice).

Plain, simple teas can be amazing experiences, but it’s only easy to package and sell the leaf.  It’s not as simple to bring the rest of the experience to everyone.

Image One Source
Image Two Source
Image Three Provided by Author



Blast From the Past: The simple joys of a glass of green tea


Tea can be as complicated as you want it to be – what with its rituals and myriad details to handle. At the same time, it can be a simple delight. Being of Chaozhou (home of gongfu tea) descent, I fuss over the little details and continually experiment with getting the most out of each pot. At other times, though, I yearn for simplicity, but not in the form of a tea bag or the monstrosity known as the tea ball. Rather I am referring to glass-brewing loose-leaf tea, specifically green tea.

This is not to say this works exclusively for green tea; but for oolong tea, the full spectrum can only be unleashed by gongfu brewing. In contrast, green tea is favored for its brisk, refreshing quality, something that is, in fact, better served with a “lighter taste.” This works quite well for yellow and, to a lesser extent, for white tea as well, but my consumption of those two is less than that of green tea.

The How of It

It is really simple.

Step 1: Add tea leaves
Step 2: Add water
Step 3: Drink to about 1/3 and refill
Step 4: Repeat Step 3 until there is no more taste

It may be simplistic, but the results are pretty good. In fact, it tastes better than brewing out of a big pot because the heat may over-steep the tea leaves, leaving a lifeless and insipid liquid. It may not yield as flavorful a brew as using a gaiwan, but that’s the trade-off for the convenience factor.

The Why of It

To me, there is a simplistic charm about it. While the ceremonial ritual of gongfu brewing provides us a respite from the microwave culture we live in, it’s not practical to do all the time.

In the workplace, we can always provide ourselves with a timeout. Sip on a glass of Huangshan Maofeng and imagine breathing in the rejuvenating cool air of that gorgeous UNESCO heritage site. Savor the fruity nuances of Dongting Biluochun and fantasize about relaxing on the shores of Lake Tai.

Joy doesn’t always need to be complicated. It can be come in a simple, unassuming glass of tea.

Image Source

This article by Derek Chew was originally posted in May 2013.



Blast From the Past: The simple joys of a glass of green tea


Tea can be as complicated as you want it to be – what with its rituals and myriad details to handle. At the same time, it can be a simple delight. Being of Chaozhou (home of gongfu tea) descent, I fuss over the little details and continually experiment with getting the most out of each pot. At other times, though, I yearn for simplicity, but not in the form of a tea bag or the monstrosity known as the tea ball. Rather I am referring to glass-brewing loose-leaf tea, specifically green tea.

This is not to say this works exclusively for green tea; but for oolong tea, the full spectrum can only be unleashed by gongfu brewing. In contrast, green tea is favored for its brisk, refreshing quality, something that is, in fact, better served with a “lighter taste.” This works quite well for yellow and, to a lesser extent, for white tea as well, but my consumption of those two is less than that of green tea.

The How of It

It is really simple.

Step 1: Add tea leaves
Step 2: Add water
Step 3: Drink to about 1/3 and refill
Step 4: Repeat Step 3 until there is no more taste

It may be simplistic, but the results are pretty good. In fact, it tastes better than brewing out of a big pot because the heat may over-steep the tea leaves, leaving a lifeless and insipid liquid. It may not yield as flavorful a brew as using a gaiwan, but that’s the trade-off for the convenience factor.

The Why of It

To me, there is a simplistic charm about it. While the ceremonial ritual of gongfu brewing provides us a respite from the microwave culture we live in, it’s not practical to do all the time.

In the workplace, we can always provide ourselves with a timeout. Sip on a glass of Huangshan Maofeng and imagine breathing in the rejuvenating cool air of that gorgeous UNESCO heritage site. Savor the fruity nuances of Dongting Biluochun and fantasize about relaxing on the shores of Lake Tai.

Joy doesn’t always need to be complicated. It can be come in a simple, unassuming glass of tea.

Image Source

This article by Derek Chew was originally posted in May 2013.



Tea and the Concept of Experience Economy


I recently attended an Adobe software conference tied to the theme of experience business or experience economy.  The general idea behind that concept is this:  As economies evolve people go from demanding basic goods (agrarian- and then industrial-based economies) to demanding services and specific forms of experiences (service- and then experience-based economies).  The higher the level of value the more that can be charged; “experiences” can command higher pricing than typical services.

It’s not necessarily simple to tie this back to tea.  A bestseller “The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary” outlines how that company built an empire by shifting themes and adding more value.  

Of course we’ve now seen that approach not work related to being duplicated for tea sales.  This World Tea News article from January 2016 explained how all the Teavana cafes were closing, but the retail stores were doing fine, and then in July of 2017 Starbucks announced they were closing all those shops.  I won’t try to interpret that, since related factors were surely complicated, but it probably works to say that sorting out the best approach to selling tea isn’t simple.

Former NYC Teavana café

I’m noticing a divide in experiences related to this theme and tea.  By far the most popular teas sold in Bangkok are bubble tea or other flavored, sweetened, milk-based take-away versions that might as well have tapioca pearls at the bottom, even when they don’t.  It’s a beverage item and that’s it. Tea enthusiasts are at the other end of the spectrum. There can be secondary emphasis on ceremony or collecting gear but it’s mostly about the overall experience.

Of course it’s still about the tea, right?  Discussion arises about teaware, preparation methodology, and even subjects like health concerns; in places like online groups or at events, but in the end it comes back to liking aspects of the brewed teas.  That’s where the experience is, there is just plenty of room left for framing that.

Related to this split there might be a normal experience or preference curve of sorts, as people shift from floral blends, Tazo tea bags, and matcha lattes onto Gongfu-style brewing something like Dan Cong oolong or aged sheng pu’er.  True to the theory, as the demand transitions to a different focus it’s much less about price.

Focus on minimizing level of cost can even invert.  Someone recently claimed in an online comment to have only spent under $200 on a sheng pu’er cake once this year, quickly qualified as a smaller 200 gram cake.  Bulk order photos are a different form of demonstrating status in consumption level. $200 orders can look impressive, but then a single cake can cost more, and name-dropping decades old version references trumps any quantity.  A foreign tea enthusiast recently upped even that ante, describing commitment level as best expressed by a percentage of overall income spent on tea.

Wuyi Origin Mi Lan Xiang Dan Cong; better teas don’t need to cost a significant percentage of your income

It seems all this really isn’t describing a general trend into expanding tea as a service-based experience versus a commodity.  The priciest local café here in Bangkok charges over $20 for a pot of tea, for a scant few grams; that’s at least back to purchasing an on-site experience.  

How to build that into the next version of a Starbucks, or did that prove to be a flawed goal?  Are these people focused as much on experience or on displaying status instead, or can the two really not be split?  It’s a bit of a tangent, but I’m reminded of a far more absurd topic coming up in an article about a golden taco:

The world’s most expensive taco is specially prepared at Grand Velas Los Cabos resort…  Ordering it will set you back $25,000 — almost the price of a new car.

The taco’s foundation is a gold-infused corn tortilla, which is then layered with Kobe beef and lobster. Toppings include black truffle Brie ($100 per ounce) and a dollop of Beluga caviar ($700 an ounce). Then, more layers of gold are added on top to finish…

Complaining about a $30 pot of tea and people spending enough to buy a car for a taco seem worlds apart.

These diverse threads make it hard to stick to the train of thought of what experiences people might want next related to tea, or what will become popular, and how expenses would factor in.  Seeking out traditional, quiet, feng shui designed cafes doesn’t seem likely to catch on. Even the committed tea bloggers I read sometimes speak of setting aside the better teaware and complex brewing processes due to just getting busy, maybe taking up a grandpa-style approach instead.

I drank Tazo ages ago; I have no hate for tea-bag based blends, I just don’t drink that

All the while in beginner-oriented tea groups I keep finding myself arguing the merits of basic, plain, inexpensive loose teas.  In one recent discussion, someone asked if mixing peanut butter powder into tea might work (and it might, I guess), and I wondered if that person ever tried a Tie Kuan Yin of any quality level before, or a single example of Chinese black tea.  It turned out they were really looking for Thai iced tea (which can be nice).

Plain, simple teas can be amazing experiences, but it’s only easy to package and sell the leaf.  It’s not as simple to bring the rest of the experience to everyone.

Image One Source
Image Two Source
Image Three Provided by Author



Tea in Spain – T Ching


For the last 4 winters, I’ve been going to Spain to avoid the harsh temperatures in Oregon.  We head to the southernmost coast in Andalucia and enjoy springtime temperatures along the Mediterranean.  Perhaps the only downside of this experience is the lack of tea shops and good quality tea in the area.

We found a second home in the small village of La Herradura. It is our routine to walk down to the beach and have some tea/coffee in the morning at a cafe on the beach. I’ve learned to bring my own tea in past years as the quality of local cafe tea had been quite dreadful. This year I was surprised to see that many cafes along the beach had upgraded their selection of Te Verde – green tea. Still not up to standards from Portland, Oregon, it was sufficient for me to enjoy while watching the waves and spotting dolphins and gulls. Still no tea shops but I’m not going to complain.

We had a date to meet some Spanish friends in the Granada area – about 50 minutes north of La Herradura. The plan was to hike in the Alpujarras Mountains and then have a late lunch in one of the small mountain villages in a cave restaurant. Later in the afternoon, our friends took us to a cafe for dessert in the village of La Tubia.  The cafe was wonderful. It was housed in an ancient building across the street from a 15th Century church. We were surrounded by books and interesting artifacts.

Once I saw the menu, I was absolutely shocked. The tea selection was quite substantial.  I think it was the most comprehensive tea offerings I’d ever seen in Spain.

When my tea arrived in its organic paper sachet, I was in heaven. What could be better after a lovely morning spent hiking with friends in a mountain village in Andalucia?

Images provided by author.



How To Compile The Perfect Gift Set For A Tea Lover


Freelance Contribution by Lucy Wyndham

American tea culture is booming with the fashionable beverage becoming a familiar sight in offices, homes, and cafes all across the country. Tea and tea-related sundries have also become trendy gift choices and are increasing in popularity in terms of gift box subscriptions, an industry which has enjoyed a 3000% growth between 2013 and 2016. A personalized gift box filled with handpicked tea-treasures is the perfect gift for an ardent tea lover and one that can be as unique and special as the person who receives it.

Homemade vs Ready-Made

You basically have two options when it comes to sending a special friend or family member a gift package. You can compile the box yourself or purchase a ready-made gift-set filled with carefully-chosen goodies of all kinds.  There is always something very intimate about crafting the box yourself, however. Chances are you know a lot about the person you are gifting, from their favorite color to taste preferences in terms of tea, allowing you to present them with a present tailor-made just for them.

What To Include In the Gift Set (And What To Avoid)

What you choose to include in a gift set is entirely up to you with the contents only truly being limited by your level of creativity and your budget.  There are countless options available when it comes to how you present your gift. You can make use of a pretty wicker basket, a vintage tea tin or box, or even a tea tray to arrange your treats in. The star of your gift set will undoubtedly be tea, regardless of whether you opt for bags or leaves. A variety of leaves in beautiful bags, bottles or tins can be exquisitely packaged together with a scoop, sifter, elegant or novelty diffuser, embroidered or hand-painted tea towel and a charming porcelain teacup. You can even go as far as to pick a theme such as English Tea Garden, vintage, modern, organic, or Chinese for your gift.

If you want to include breakables such as teapots and cups in your gift set, it is important to make sure that it is packaged securely, especially if you are making use of the postal service or a courier company. Items to definitely avoid are perishables of any kind including dairy products and fresh fruit as they could possibly spoil while in transit. Rather include a gift certificate to a local greengrocer if you would like to include fruit in your gift.

When it comes to putting together a tea-based gift there are no unyielding guidelines to observe. Play around with different themes and materials until you are indubitably happy with the final product. Your time, effort and thoughtfulness will shine through in your handiwork and will be as highly appreciated as the beautiful bequests themselves. Many a friendship has started over a cup of tea, and many more will grow from strength to strength all thanks to a most treasured gift.

Image Source



How To Compile The Perfect Gift Set For A Tea Lover


Freelance Contribution by Lucy Wyndham

American tea culture is booming with the fashionable beverage becoming a familiar sight in offices, homes, and cafes all across the country. Tea and tea-related sundries have also become trendy gift choices and are increasing in popularity in terms of gift box subscriptions, an industry which has enjoyed a 3000% growth between 2013 and 2016. A personalized gift box filled with handpicked tea-treasures is the perfect gift for an ardent tea lover and one that can be as unique and special as the person who receives it.

Homemade vs Ready-Made

You basically have two options when it comes to sending a special friend or family member a gift package. You can compile the box yourself or purchase a ready-made gift-set filled with carefully-chosen goodies of all kinds.  There is always something very intimate about crafting the box yourself, however. Chances are you know a lot about the person you are gifting, from their favorite color to taste preferences in terms of tea, allowing you to present them with a present tailor-made just for them.

What To Include In the Gift Set (And What To Avoid)

What you choose to include in a gift set is entirely up to you with the contents only truly being limited by your level of creativity and your budget.  There are countless options available when it comes to how you present your gift. You can make use of a pretty wicker basket, a vintage tea tin or box, or even a tea tray to arrange your treats in. The star of your gift set will undoubtedly be tea, regardless of whether you opt for bags or leaves. A variety of leaves in beautiful bags, bottles or tins can be exquisitely packaged together with a scoop, sifter, elegant or novelty diffuser, embroidered or hand-painted tea towel and a charming porcelain teacup. You can even go as far as to pick a theme such as English Tea Garden, vintage, modern, organic, or Chinese for your gift.

If you want to include breakables such as teapots and cups in your gift set, it is important to make sure that it is packaged securely, especially if you are making use of the postal service or a courier company. Items to definitely avoid are perishables of any kind including dairy products and fresh fruit as they could possibly spoil while in transit. Rather include a gift certificate to a local greengrocer if you would like to include fruit in your gift.

When it comes to putting together a tea-based gift there are no unyielding guidelines to observe. Play around with different themes and materials until you are indubitably happy with the final product. Your time, effort and thoughtfulness will shine through in your handiwork and will be as highly appreciated as the beautiful bequests themselves. Many a friendship has started over a cup of tea, and many more will grow from strength to strength all thanks to a most treasured gift.

Image Source