gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Tea Lovers, According to Tea Sommeliers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

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Drinking tea is a universal pleasure, and as such, all the accessories, pairings, and knickknacks that go along with the ritual make excellent gift-giving opportunities. Whether you’re shopping for someone who is a fanatic about different varieties and brewing styles or someone who simply enjoys curling up with a steaming cup when it’s chilly outside, you’ll find plenty of ideas for beautiful, handy, and all-around standout items on this list.

I talked to tea sommeliers about their favorite varieties of loose-leaf and the vessels that bring out their most nuanced characteristics. I tapped into the Strategist archives to find unexpected ideas like a lemon-blossom-scented honey from one of our favorite olive oil makers. And I pulled from my own favorite tea-related items (as well as those that I personally covet and would be thrilled to receive as a present). Below, you’ll find a range of actual teas, accessories, delicious pairings like truly stellar shortbread cookies, and more — all in a range of prices so you can stuff a stocking or splurge on something for the truly tea-obsessed person in your life.

Under $25

This sampler of teas, recommended by two experts, will allow the curious tea lover in your life to expand their horizons with a mix of citrusy, floral, and sweet varieties sourced from India and Sri Lanka. They’re all caffeinated, so best to give them to someone who doesn’t mind the buzz.

These pretty, not overly saccharine sugar crystals look like actual gemstones and are ideal for sweetening tea without overpowering the taste. This would make such a nice companion gift to anyone you give actual tea to.

For the recipient who takes their tea sweetened and also appreciates a playful gift, these sugar pieces are shaped like tiny teapots — almost too adorable to dissolve.

This all-in-one tea-brewing mug, a gift idea courtesy of tea consultant Sara Shacket, will allow them to brew loose-leaf tea directly into a personal vessel with a strainer that sits directly inside. It comes in a range of colors so you can be sure to find one that suits them perfectly.

The most important thing to consider when storing tea is keeping out air and light — “tea’s biggest enemies,” Blair Bowman, former head of the tea program at Eleven Madison Park, says. Help the person you’re gifting keep their tea fresh with storage containers that are as elegant as they are functional.

Ito En Mugicha Barley Tea

For the iced tea lover, barley is one of the most refreshing types you can drink. Former Strategist staffer Mia Leimkuhler is a fan: “Imagine the taste of a coffee-brown crust on a loaf of chewy artisanal bread and you’ll sort of get the idea,” she says.

$17 for 2

If they only ever drink tea from store-bought tea bags, a brewing basket will allow their options of tea varieties to broaden infinitely. This one is a tried-and-true model used by Tony Gebely, owner and founder of Tea Epicure, who says his are more than ten years old and show no signs of wear.

This sleek infuser from the MoMA gift store (the best place to shop for fun and unexpected gifts across the board, in my opinion) is another brewing option. It has a little hook that can rest on the edge of to-go mugs and makes it simple to pull out when steeping time is up.


Speaking of to-go mugs, it doesn’t get better than Zojirushi’s, which has fantastic temperature control (whether hot or cold) and a slim, sleek, and lightweight body.

A casual or fanatic tea drinker might enjoy learning more about the world of tea from this well-designed and informative volume (with drawings from NYT best-selling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton). It gives historical tidbits and fun facts about different types, plus helpful brewing tips and recipes so they can better enjoy the tea-drinking experience.

Tea and honey are, of course, a classic pairing, so anyone who takes their cup sweet will appreciate a high-quality jar (especially one in such a pretty bottle). This honey has notes of lemon blossom and jasmine.

Under $50

This glass and stainless-steel cold-brew-maker works just as well for tea as it does for coffee and therefore makes an exceptionally thoughtful gift for anyone in your life who takes their liquid caffeine in both forms. It brews four cups at a time.

Hario Cold-Brew Bottle

Or opt for this model recommended by Elena Liao, the co-founder of Té Company. She especially appreciates how tightly the lid of this one fits, which allows it to be stored sideways in the fridge for space, as well as taken along for picnics.

This set, recommended by certified tea sommelier Mel Hattie, includes everything they’ll need to brew tea in the classic Chinese method of gong fu cha: a porcelain teapot, four tasting cups, a bamboo tray, and tea pliers, all packaged up in a sweet compact travel bag.

The tea lover who often serves to a crowd should have a larger pot. “You want to give the tea leaves room to breathe and move,” says tea expert Kathy YL Chan, which is exactly what this glass model does (a stainless-steel filter catches the bits and pieces right before they exit the spout).

If they enjoy milk with their tea, a pretty stoneware creamer will make a lovely addition to their setup.

This Dansk butter warmer is the perfect size for gently warming up milk on the stovetop. I think all the pieces the iconic company makes feel especially giftable with their gorgeous color options, smooth rounded edges, and wood details.

If they like frothed milk (especially nice in something like chai, which has a real depth to the body), the NanoFoamer is a super-powerful handheld frother that, according to two pros, creates a café-quality consistency. A combination of this plus the two previous gifts would make a really stellar DIY bundle.

They can never have too many, and this handmade one from Los Angeles–based Gjusta Goods is a personal favorite of mine. It’s handle-less ,so they can feel the warmth of their drink when they cup their hands around it, and the wide basin allows them to really take in the aromas of whatever tea they’re drinking.

Under $100

A less obvious gift, but shortbread is the perfect cookie to pair with tea: not overly sweet and with a buttery-crisp texture that begs to be washed down with a refreshing sip. Laurie Pellicano (formerly of San Francisco’s famed Tartine) bakes seasonal kinds that are downright delicious and beautifully packaged to boot.

I use this beautiful glass vessel all winter long and think it would make the perfect upgrade for anyone who also brews tea via French press but has a less aesthetically pleasing model. It’s elegantly thin but somehow still heavier-weight than it looks, so it feels high-quality to pour from.

If their go-to shop order is a matcha but they don’t have an at-home setup, help them get started with this kit from New York–based company and café Chalait. It includes all the accessories they need: a matcha scoop, bowl, whisk, and whisk stand (so the bamboo doesn’t wear over time). Bonus points if you gift them a tin of powder to go along with it.

While I recommended two more affordable strainers above, this admittedly expensive one is a handcrafted piece any serious tea drinker will likely be thrilled to own. It comes from Kettl (maker of our favorite high-end matcha and other top-quality teas) and is simply beautiful, twisted in an intricate pattern from sturdy brass-colored steel.

Under $175

For tea beginners who are unsure about setting exact temperatures (yes, even a few degrees can make a difference in letting the flavors of particular kinds shine through), Shacket likes that this kettle has simple presets for black, white, green, oolong, and delicate teas.

Fans of classic English design will appreciate this bone-china cup and saucer, dignified enough for high tea. The delicate floral pattern and gold detailing make it pretty enough to keep on display.


If they’re the type who brews a cup of tea and then forgets, letting it sit out to get cold, the Ember Mug will allow them to reheat directly in the vessel they’re drinking from without using a microwave or maintain a hot temperature while it’s kept on the base. It heats between 120 and 145 degrees in one-degree increments so they can choose exactly what tastes ideal to them.

A perennial good gift, the Stagg EKG is the very best (and best-looking) kettle on the market. It boasts a gooseneck spout for precise pouring and exact temperature control, and you can pick from a range of classy finishes in mattes and metallics to best fit the vibe of your recipient.

This is one of my own most-coveted kitchen items, a classic design from Italian brand Alessi (who also makes one of our favorite wine openers and an unexpectedly elegant citrus peeler). It’s not cheap, but if you’re willing to splurge for the tea lover in your life, it’s something they’ll be so happy to keep displayed on their stovetop.

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The Best Gifts for Tea Lovers