Share the Gift of Tea

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

December 9, 2016

Tea brings people together.

There is nothing like telling stories, catching up with friends or geeking out over a new taste experience around a shared pot of tea. Everything about tea is designed to help us slow down and enjoy life to the fullest, from beautiful hand made teapots and cups, to fresh aromatic tea that stops us in our tracks.

The invitation to slow down, taste, connect with friends and enjoy is one of the most powerful gifts that can be given.

Our mentor, and partner tea farmer Mr. He of Laoshan Village perfectly captures the spirit of the people behind the tea, and the reason why gifting tea is such a powerful expression of friendship and gratitude:

 
Click to watch

In the spirit of the season, we put together our top picks for all the tea lovers in your life.  From your favorite tea geeks and committed collectors to adventurers on the go and newcomers to the tea leaves we love, you’ll find our recommendations for great teas and tea ware that will help everyone carve out the space and the time to slow down and enjoy tea.

 

The Tea Geek

There are those tea lovers who relish the chance to taste the most thrilling and unique teas, and love to brew them with precision and care. For these dear friends, we’ve picked out some of our personal favorites for gifting this holiday season.

Xiangfu Gilded Gaiwans
& Aroma Cups

Xiangfu makes some of the best workhorse porcelain out there. We love the bold colors and the durability of their cups and gaiwans. These are the pieces we use for comparative tastings and we want a consistent brew and presentation that flatters everything.

The aroma cups are a great touch for an extra dimension of complexity when tasting tea.

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Ye Lai Xiang Dancong

This high elevation Wudongshan Dancong is one of the first teas we fell in love with from Master Huang Rui Guang. He is the real deal– published author, nationally recognized and awarded taster and craftsman. Tasting his fine Dancong is a revelation.

For more fun, try the Ye Lai Xiang side-by-side with Huang Rui Guang’s other high-elevation teas, like Old Tree Wulong Dancong and Huang Zhi Xiang.

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2013 Aged Bai Hao Yin Zhen

Our newest friends in Fuding, the Weng Family is making incredible, biodiverse and technically precise white tea. Their tea opened our eyes to a whole category we have been trying to fill for years. Their aged Bai Hao Yin Zhen has a depth and complexity unlike anything else we have seen in white tea.

It is a real treat to taste and compare to fresh white tea to understand the value of aging.

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1990 Aged Tieguanyin

This 1990 reserve from Master Zhang is the deepest, most foresty Tieguanyin we have every tried. It is closer in character to a very clean shu pu’er, but with the deep florals of oolong.

Over twenty five years of age have done incredible things to this tea, and we can’t recommend it enough!!

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Reserve Big Red Robe

We’ve been in love with everything the Li family produces in Wuyishan for years. Right now we are super excited about the Reserve Big Red Robe for its deep tingling and numbing textures, cooling quality and lingering aftertaste. 

We should be, too – Li Xiangxi’s Big Red Robe just took home first place with a Gold Medal award for excellence!

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The Beginner

We all have friends and family just now discovering how incredible tea can be. One of the most rewarding gifts to give is helping someone fall in love with tea. To get someone started on their adventure, we’ve got our favorite picks and recommendations!

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Xiangfu All-in-one Brewer
with Fluted Cups + Mini Board

This set is one of the easiest ways to brew tea. The beginner can enjoy the gongfu tea experience without having to worry about spilling or pour technique.

We recommend the Xiangfu All-in-One Brewer with a pair of small fluted cups. Include Xiangfu’s adorable and practical Mini Circular Tea Board to complete this versatile and light weight set.

 

Five Teas for Five Dollars

If you have a friend who hasn’t tried tea from our partner farmers, send them a Five for Five box to give them the chance to try our most popular teas and get a sense of what true small family tea farming is all about. Plus, we’ll send you five dollars in Tea Cash to thank you for spreading the joy, so the gift is basically free!

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Five Teas for $5

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Tea at Work

Why give up the comforts of tea just because we leave the house?

Tea is not only a great way to stay happy and hydrated at work, its L-Theanine and caffeine combination in fine tea might just actually make work easier. Use these tea ware and tea recommendations to carve out a dedicated space for tea at your desk.

Xiang Fu & Samadoyo
Convenient Brew Mugs

These self-contained brew mugs give you an easy and portable way to enjoy tea while you work when space and time is limited.

Samadoyo’s glass brew mug is perfect for watching beautiful green teas open up as they steel out in your dishwasher-safe mug, while Xiang Fu’s Bamboo Steeper Mug is as beautiful and elegant as it is practically designed. Longquan porcelain, glass and bamboo are gracefully incorporated for convenient brewing that won’t burn your hands or your desk, and each piece separates for easy cleaning.

Both make loose leaf tea at your desk easy and mess-free, in one self-contained system.

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Bamboo Forest Brew Mug

Don’t have room for a brew basket and strainer, or prefer to let your leaves steep loose all day long?

The hand painted Bamboo Forest Brew Mug makes things simple and easy. With its incorporated porcelain strainer and cover, all you have to do is add tea leaves and hot water, and you are good to go!

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Xiangfu All-in-One Brewer with
Glass Mini Mugs + Tea Tray


For folks with a bit more space and freedom to set up tea at work, this combination allows for gongfu brewing and smaller cups that are still practical to sip while working.

The simple bamboo tray from Xiang Fu creates a dedicated, clean space for tea on your desk. The All-in-One brewer is simple to clean and use, even in tight spaces, while the mini-mugs are perfect for sipping a cup as you work, and even sharing with friends at work!

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To brew tea at work, we think a tea should have a soothing and strong flavor and aroma as well as extremely forgiving brewing parameters for temperature and time in case the tea is left too long or something comes up.

Our top picks are Laoshan Green, Laoshan Black, Qianjiazhai Gong Ting Shu Pu’er, and Traditional Tieguanyin.

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Tea for the Adventurer

Tea makes travel so much more fun. After a long trek, bike ride or even plane ride, there is nothing like taking a moment for some incredible tea to rejuvenate. For a good travel set-up, we think it is important that a tea set be self contained and hard to break. The tea you bring should be just as rugged as your set, and excellent in the great outdoors!

Xiang Fu Complete +
Mini Travel Tea Sets

Whether you’re traveling light and compact with the minature Travel Tea Set for two, or you want to go all out with the Complete Tea Set for four, Xiang Fu’s travel sets are built to withstand the bumps of travel and still make tea stylish and convenient. Their custom padded travel bags keep everything safe and secure while you are on the go.

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For teas to pack on adventures, we like compact teas that won’t break in transit and can stand up to any water.

Master Zhou’s 2016 mini pu’er cakes are perfectly compact for travel. We recommend the Gong Ting Shu, the Black Tea Cake, and the Gu Hua Sheng.

You can’t beat rolled oolong for travel. It is very hard to break and packs down small. Master Zhang’s Aged Tieguanyin is especially good to stand up to less than ideal water.

 

The Collector

One of the joys of tea is the culture of beautiful tea objects that has grown around it. There is something truly rewarding about having functional one of a kind art that grows in beauty over time. An yixing teapot made with real, high quality yixing clay and crafted with precision by hand is a joy to use. We are excited to represent some incredible artists with this holiday season’s collection.

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Tea is a collectible too!

Pu’er grows more complex with age just like wine. We work directly with the Qianjiazhai Dongsa Cooperative in the Mt. Ailao National Forest Preserve to offer pu’er cakes from incredibly old trees. These cakes become even more stunning the longer they sit, making them perfect for collecting and cellaring.

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The One Who Has it All

Some people have tried just about everything it is possible to get! For your friends with closets full of pu’er and rooms dedicated just to beautiful tea sets, it can be hard to pick out new teas or tea pots for their collections.

For the dedicated tea connoisseurs and the die-hard collectors our there, we recommend the gift of new experiences!

Tea of the Month Club

We love recommending our farmer-partners’ CSA style Tea of the Month Club for a chance to try truly unique and limited teas.

Many of the club offerings are experimental harvests, private reserves or limited varietals. Even the person who has tried it all won’t have tried many of the farmer-curated offerings we are lucky enough to ship each month.

 

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Tea and Incense Pairing Kit

Even seasoned tea geeks may have never tried pairing tea and incense. Incense has been part of the Chinese gongfu ceremony for years, but quality aloeswood is hard to come by and not well known outside of Asia. We have fallen in love with the rich evocative scent of aloeswood and its effect on setting the mood for a tea tasting.

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Or Gift the Unexpected…

Build your own set! Try out our new set builder, preview the tea set you are putting together and get 20% savings on the finished piece. Perfect for a unique and personalized gift!

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