Most Americans love their coffee, but tea is now gaining more popularity and appreciation. Tea is among the healthiest drinks you can have, while gourmet teas help to enhance the experience.
There are several kinds of teas now available in all sorts of flavors and with different brewing methods as well. Even on social media, we can see many people posting pictures and videos of their tea brewing and presentation methods.
If you know someone who’s a tea lover, it makes sense to give them a gourmet tea gift basket on a special occasion. A gift basket usually contains several kinds of gifts within a certain theme. With gourmet tea, you have many options to choose from—green tea, herbal tea, loose tea, teabags, etc.
While there are readymade tea gift baskets available online and in physical stores, it’s a much more thoughtful gesture to make a personalized basket yourself. You can select the teas keeping the recipient’s tastes in mind, with perhaps some new flavors thrown in for experimentation. Read on for some guidelines on how to arrange a beautiful and useful gourmet tea basket below:
1. Select the Teas With Care
While selecting the teas to fill up your gift basket, there are several factors to keep in mind. In addition to the intended recipient’s particular tastes, you also have to keep in mind the following:
- The kind of tea they’re comfortable with brewing (some tea purists might only use loose teas)
- Any future plans (if they have a long trip ahead, teabags might be the best option)
- Potential allergy triggers
- Health benefits (if the recipient suffers from certain health issues, they might benefit from certain teas. Read up on the health benefits of herbal teas and choose accordingly)
- Any cultural background, such as masala teas and chai latte mixes for someone with an Indian background. Someone with an English background and Anglo tastes may be delighted with a selection of Earl Gray teas.
2. Make a Selection of Teas
A tea lover will probably experiment with different kinds of teas, so give them a selection to choose from. If they have some preferences, you can look around and get the same kind of tea from different brands. However, it might be safer and more fun to have a mixture of teas. Consider the following options:
- Various flavors of black teas–raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.
- Green tea
- White tea
- Red tea
- Yellow tea
- Oolong tea
- Milk tea mixes
- Herbal teas such as peppermint, lemongrass, hibiscus, butterfly pea flower, lavender, chamomile, etc.
- Pu-erh tea
You can decorate the gift basket according to what’s inside it. For instance, if you’re giving a mix of herbal teas, attach some symbol of the ingredients on the handle or around the rim of the basket. You may take a sprig of lavender, a sprig of peppermint, a chamomile flower, a piece of lemongrass, etc. For a simpler and more elegant look, stick with just one type of flower.
3. Get Some Tips From Online Product Reviews
When you’re making a gourmet tea gift basket yourself, it can’t hurt to look at some readymade baskets available online. These can give you a lot of good ideas on how to select, arrange, and present your gift basket. Some of the steps here may include:
- Reading the product description to get an idea of the contents of the baskets might give you hints about how to fill up your basket with unique and presentable items
- Reading the product reviews to find out what the recipients liked best about their baskets. You can then think about giving only the most appreciated items
- Looking at the product pictures to get a hint of how to arrange and pack your own gift basket
- Looking at the related product suggestions to see if there are any relevant accessories to include in your gift basket.
- Check out gourmet tea gift baskets from different countries, especially if your friend has strong ties to a certain place. Choose the items according to their background or include at least one that acknowledges their roots
A note to remember here; if your friend isn’t very connected with their ethnic roots, you can and probably should skip the cultural part. Referencing their Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan, or any other background might be seen as offensive at times.
Everything in a gift basket should be selected to give joy and happiness. Avoid any item which might make someone feel stereotyped or compartmentalized. If your Indian-American friend loves coffee and green tea, for instance, chai mixes and masala teas are probably not a good idea.
4. Non-Tea Accessories
Of course, tea leaves and tea bags are not all you need to enjoy the perfect cup of tea. If you want to make the perfect gift basket for a tea lover, you’ll add a couple of things that can help them enjoy that tea selection more. Here are some ideas to consider now:
- A pot of honey with a small honey dipper to sweeten the tea
- Alternative natural sweeteners such as agave nectar, maple syrup, stevia, xylitol, etc.
- A selection of sugars; regular, brown, jaggery, sugar cubes, etc.
- A fancy tea cup with a saucer and spoon
- A personalized mug with a funny or thoughtful message/picture
- Some snacks to enjoy with the tea–biscuits, crackers, nuts, etc.
- More luxurious items such as amber tea sugar, caviar, infused oils, or fine cheese
- Tea-related ingredients such as chai spice
- A fancy tea strainer (if the recipient is fond of loose teas)
- DIY masala chai packet including cardamom, allspice, cloves, dried ginger, and cinnamon
- A travel mug for taking tea to their workplace (get more ideas with these tips for taking tea to the office)
5. Pack Properly
Since you’re packaging a selection of teas, the items you choose for packing also matter. Follow the tips above to get the most efficient packaging for gourmet teas:
- Get a shallow basket or box so that the packages can peep out and be immediately visible
- Use shredded paper or tissue paper to hold the small items in place
- Consider using packaging that will keep the tea fresh, such as glass containers or foil pouches
- After wrapping the basket in cellophane paper, shrink-wrap it with a blow dryer so that it holds everything in place
- Fill the base with something soft, especially if you have to use a deep basket-this will provide a cushioning effect and also helps to fill up the basket
6. Work on the Presentation
As with any other gift basket, the finishing touches are essential to make the gift look presentable. This is why the last step of arranging your gourmet tea gift basket should be to wrap it up in an attractive way.
The most common method is to wrap the basket in cellophane–transparent, colored, or printed–and tie it with a bow at the top. However, you can also try the following:
- Cover the whole basket with a new dishcloth or tea towel; choose the color according to the occasion and theme
- Decorate the basket exterior with some sprigs of herbs or leaves or fresh flowers
- Add a rustic touch by adding some twine around the wrapper basket
- Choose something other than a simple basket; for instance, a wooden box with separate compartments for different tea bags
- Cover the exterior with aluminum foil for a unique and shiny appearance
- Wrap the basket in something unusual yet practical, such as a pretty pillowcase, a scarf, or a tablecloth
- Gift-wrap already-packed items already, or tie a ribbon around each of them
- Choose the color of the gift wrap, ribbons, or paper according to your theme
- Add a card with a tea-related pun, such as ‘Varie-tea is the spice of life!’ or ‘You’re totally tea-riffic!’
- Put the loose teas in glass jars; also, look up the correct ways to properly store tea and see if you can give something accordingly.
A little care and effort can go a long way when you’re putting together a gourmet tea gift basket. Select your teas carefully and remember to have items that your friend already likes. Don’t think too much, but start looking around for the best tea items to make your friend happy.