A Guide to Gifting Tea
We at Hackberry understand how challenging thinking up a creative gift can be, and we would love to make the process easier for you. Socks and gift cards are nice, but why not change it up and give the gift of high-quality tea. Your loved ones will start their mornings with a delicious brew and each sip will remind them of the person that gifted it. Now, figuring out which tea to purchase is the next challenge. Since we know how overwhelming that decision can be, we decided to create a helpful guide on how to pick the perfect tea gift.
There are many factors that go into picking a bag of loose-leaf tea. Tea types, flavor profiles, health benefits, and brewing methods can all make an impact on the decision-making process. Throughout our years of selling tea, we have found that the average tea drinker cares most about the tea blends and flavor descriptions. Below is a list of questions to think about when picking your giftee's ideal cup of tea:
What Type of Tea Do They Normally Enjoy? Flavor Preference? Caffeine Level?
There is an array of tea types to choose from here at Hackberry. We offer black, green, white, and rooibos teas along with herbal or fruit tisane blends. All of these teas have unique flavors and offer different health benefits.
Black Tea: If you are looking for teas that are rich in flavor, bold in color, and have just the right amount of caffeine kick, then black teas are the ideal choice. Black teas are extremely popular in the tea world because they are so versatile and taste fantastic hot, iced, or as a tea latte. Many people drink black tea as an alternative to coffee. *Caffeinated (50 mg/cup)
Flavor Notes: Bold, Malty, Earthy, Vanilla, Chocolate
Green Tea: In the last decade, green tea has grown immensely popular in the U.S. I am sure that part of this growth is because they taste so delicious. But many people also attribute the growth due to the high number of antioxidants and its ability to brew a clean, refreshing cup of tea. The flavors and color of green tea can vary depending on the origin. *Caffeinated (20-30 mg/cup)
Flavor Notes: Floral, Herbal, Fruity, Bittersweet
White Tea: While white tea may not be as popular or well-known as black and green tea, the flavors and benefits can be just as exceptional. White tea is minimally processed, which gives the leaves a light color and fragile texture. The delicate nature of white tea produces a cup that is subtly sweet and incredibly refreshing. *Caffeinated (15-20 mg/cup)
Flavor Notes: Mild, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Fresh
Rooibos Tea: Rooibos (pronounced "roy-boss") is an herb native to South Africa. Unlike black, green, or white tea, rooibos is still new to the tea world and has only been around for about 300 years. Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free beverage that has a smokey, yet sweet flavor profile and is often compared to hibiscus and yerba mate teas. Many of our “dessert” teas are of the rooibos variety. *Caffeine-Free
Flavor Notes: Sweet, Smokey, Fruity, Smooth
Herbal & Fruit Tisanes: Did you know that tisanes are considered infusions, not a tea? This is because the Camellia sinensis plant that makes up black, white, and green tea is not part of the tisane ingredients. Although tisane is not part of the "tea club," it is gaining popularity all over the world due to its versatility, delicious flavor, and decaffeination. There are different types of tisanes based on their ingredients. These ingredients can include leaves, bark, fruit, root, and seeds/spices, among others. *Caffeine-Free
Flavor notes can range from sweet, spicy, to citrusy depending on the ingredients.
What is Their Purpose for Drinking Tea?
Drinking tea has many benefits and certain kinds can aid with specific ailments or health goals. Along with having less caffeine (goodbye jitters), tea has an abundance of antioxidants and minerals. Listed below are common health conditions and the teas that can help improve them:
Digestion: Having a post-meal cup of tea is one of the best ways to soothe the stomach and help with food absorption and digestion. Teas that can alleviate bloat and discomfort include pu-erh, peppermint, oolong, and blends that include ginger and fennel.
Allergies: Many people drink rooibos tea to prevent or alleviate allergy symptoms. Much like an antihistamine, rooibos has bioactive flavonoids that work to block mast cells responsible for releasing histamine. If you have horrible allergies this time of year, then rooibos tea is a must-have.
Immune System: In addition to green tea and infusions that include chamomile and lemongrass, hibiscus blends are known to support the immune system. This is due to a large amount of Vitamin C and iron found in hibiscus tea.
How Do They Brew Their Tea?
When choosing a tea, it is important to keep the brewing method in mind. Certain teas may be favored hot while others will shine as an iced tea. The different ways you can brew tea include: stovetop or electric kettle, tea steeper, French press, iced tea maker, or even a Toddy for cold-brew tea.
If they typically enjoy hot tea, we usually recommend our herbal infusions or simple teas like, Earl Grey or Jasmine Love. Rooibos teas are also a great choice for a hot tea or latte especially as a post-dinner treat.
If your giftee is like us here in Arizona and drinks iced tea all year round, then picking a tea that stands out cold is your best bet. Our favorite teas to have iced are the fruit tisanes (especially Hibiscus Fruit Punch) or a nice fruity black or green tea blend. For a more classic iced tea, you cannot go wrong with English Breakfast.
How Often Do They Drink Tea?
Although tea does not expire like a gallon of milk would, it can become stale and less flavorful over time. For this reason, it is important to get a bag size that they will be able to consume within a certain time frame. The shelf life of tea depends on the method of storage and tea type. When storing tea, you want to keep it away from heat, light, moisture, and odor. They are best stored in our Kraft tea bags or an airtight ceramic or tin container. Glass jars are fine if they are placed in a cupboard. If stored properly, black and white teas can be preserved for up to two years and green tea for one year.
Our tea leaves are sold in samples (~0.8 oz), 2 oz, 6 oz, and 12 oz quantities. Certain herbal or white teas are sold in 1 oz, 3 oz, and 6 oz amounts. If your loved one drinks one cup of tea a day, a 2 oz bag will last about 3 weeks. This number also goes back to the type of brewing method being used because certain methods require more or fewer tea leaves. Samples are always the best option when purchasing a variety of tea types and flavors. That way they can discover a new favorite by testing out different kinds.
Phew, that was a lot of information. Our hope is that this is not only informative but will help make gift shopping an easier and more pleasant experience. At the end of the day, tea that is expertly sourced, blended, and given with love will be well-received by anyone.
If you have further questions or need more advice about gifts, you can send us a note by replying to this email.
- Zoe Maiden