Tea gifts are nice but I now understand that most tea lovers prefer to choose their own tea. This time around, I have a list of gifts that are less about tea and more about the drinker.
Mugs and pots aside, a true tea lover will appreciate good storage for tea. Especially designed for teas, Ankomn’s canisters come in various sizes. They also come in black (recommended to keep light out); and a vacuum-creating lid ensures you keep air out. It looks neat, is simple to use and lives up to its promise. If you have expensive tea you would like to hold on to for a while, these are well worth it. An added bonus is that they are stackable. While they ship to India, be warned of longer shipping times and import duty that can add up to a bit. (Ankmomn.com, starts from $35, or around ₹2,840, for the 0.6 litre black canister).
You also can’t go too wrong with the gift of a tea garden holiday. A weekend indulgence at a bungalow in the middle of a tea garden, with added options of hiking, wildlife spotting or forest baths—all with the promise of the freshest cup of tea—is pretty irresistible. Rareindia.com lists a collection of tea bungalow experiences.
A personal favourite is tea-dyed textiles. Tea tannins lend a light brown—not beige—colour to fabric and I can’t think of a single reason why a tea drinker won’t love a scarf or stole dyed in tea (Himalayanweavers.com, ₹1,500 onwards). Aranya Naturals in Munnar, Kerala, has a team of specially abled and trained staff who create some stunning textiles. Located in tea country, they also use tea waste and tea fibre (Srishti-trust.com, order from their catalogue on WhatsApp). They also run a rural paper studio that makes handmade paper products using tea fibre.
For a family of tea buffs who liken teatime and holidays to family time, here are two games. Tea Time Taash comes with two tea-themed card decks. Inspired by Diwali card games, it looks like a lot of fun, with recipes dotting it (Threecliveroad.com, ₹750). Then there’s a board game called Chai Garam, a strategy game for our startup-crazy era. Designed for two-four players, it allows you to be the chaiwallah for the day (available on Amazon, ₹2,499). For the mindfulness practitioner, there’s Big Panda And Tiny Dragon by James Norbury ( ₹479). It’s quiet, full of simple wisdom and rather beautiful to look at and read, along with a cup of tea.
Finally, since a tea list is incomplete without tea, here are two choices: A gift of tea subscriptions, since these tend to celebrate the seasonality that tea lovers will appreciate. Three estates in India that offer subscriptions are Luxmi Estates, Dorje Teas and Gopaldhara. And if you have friends or family travelling from Europe, try a bottle of Sparkling Tea for celebrations. Made by the Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are available, priced at about $40 for a 750ml bottle.
Tea Nanny is a fortnightly series steeped in the world of tea. Aravinda Anantharaman is a Bengaluru-based tea blogger and writer who reports on the tea industry. @AravindaAnanth1 on Twitter.