Hello TEA Friends,
During the year, I keep notes on things I find in my travels via plane, car or the worldwide internet that I think would make great gifts. And, you know that old adage that people give gifts that they would like to receive themselves? Well, my list is comprised of pretty much that - merchandise and excursions that I would be happy to receive.
So, dear friends, I offer the items on my list as suggestions and inspiration for the tea enthusiast on your list (or, if you are in a quandary as to what to put in Barb's TEA Shop's stocking).
Tea and tea related gifts wish list:
Mrs. Crumpet's tea cart from Victorian Trading company. At $399.95, this is on the high end of the list, but again, it is a wish list. This remarkable cart is elegant yet utilitarian with room for not only your tea service, but for a few bottles of wine as well. A must-have for the ultimate tea party.
Another big ticket item on the list is an overnight stay at Paula Deen's Y'ALL Come Inn on Tybee Island in Georgia. Although not a tea-specific item, ever since I received a Paula Deen tea kettle for Christmas last year I have yearned to head down to Savannah and stay a spell. I would bring my teapot down and use it to fix a delicious pot of tea for my favorite Food Network celebrity - even if it was only with her cardboard cutout clone.
Rates for one night's stay near my birthday (April) approximately $500.
In the more moderate range, but unquestionably luxurious, are Talbott Teas - selected as one of Oprah's Favorite Things of 2010. As some readers may already know, Talbott Teas has offered a limited time 15% discount on their gift sets (just use the promo code "COUTURE"). Tea lovers would love any one of these fine sets, but as long as we're wishing, clearly who could not want the aptly named "Ultimate Collection" for only $150. This gift set (see photo, upper left hand corner) includes a variety of both loose and sachet teas, a teapot, two cups, filters, honey sticks and a tray. (Everything that could fit on your Mrs. Crumpets tea cart.)
Our wish list also includes something for the tea geek in the family. We were introduced to the Zojirushi Water Heater at the World Tea Expo this June. Zojirushi is the "Apple" of the tea world and their water heaters are the IPad equivalent. The 4-litre model, on sale at Elmwood Inn Teas, will heat water to the correct temperature for green, white or black tea and keep it warm for hours. Is this essential? Does one need an IPad? I rest my case.
(Speaking of Elmwood Inn, we sampled their blueberry herbal infusion at the Expo and it was delicious. They have packaged it with their Christmas in a Cup custom tea blend for a Christmas Tea for Two.)
Another World Tea Expo find that's both festive and economical comes from Meville Candy Company. Tea and coffee spoons add a variety of flavors including honey, french vanilla and peppermint to your favorite hot beverage. These make great stocking stuffers or hostess gifts (and won't they look fantastic on your Mrs. Crumpets tea cart?).
While in the party spirit, consider Tea Forte's cocktail infusions. We purchased the Collection this year and enjoyed the teaming of tea and spirits. We are ready for reinforcements. (That tea cart is becoming very well stocked, don't you think?)
Of course, there a number of Michigan items on the wish list too. From local tea rooms, here are some of our favorites:
Chazzano Coffee in Ferndale has a fantastic Puerh tea - my latest indulgence. While there, you may also want to pick up the Ethiopia Harrar for your friends on the Dark Side.
Goldfish Tea Room has an outstanding Keemun black tea. A package of this - or any of their Chinese teas - will satisfy tea fans. Also, check out their pear wood tea boats, they're essential for an intimate tea ceremony with friends.
And, if you want to experience an authentic Chinese tea ceremony by a Chinese tea master, treat yourself and a friend to Master Ma at The Wanderer's Tea House in East Lansing. We went earlier this month and were exposed to an exquisite tea and a wealth of information. For the outrageously low price of $10.00 a person, you will want to make the trip more than once.
Continuing north, Light of Days of Traverse City offers delicious organic, free trade teas. We would be delighted to find Creamy Earl Grey, Coffee Convert or Cacao Mint tea under our tree Christmas morning.
Finally, no list would be complete without a nod to our own hand-crafted tea cozies available on Barb's Tea Shop e-store. There are styles and sizes that will match a wide range of tastes and teapots. (We'll keep adding more great tea related products in 2011, so continue to check back regularly!)
Before we put on our nightcaps and settle in for a long winter nap, with visions of tea carts and hot water ready, but not from the tap - our list would not be complete without wishing you the happiest of holidays.
With all the best the season brings, yours in TEA and friendship,