gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Tea Lovers, According to Tea Sommeliers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Retailer

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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. (And for everyone else on your list, visit our truly extensive roundup of every holiday gift guide we’ve written this year.)

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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.

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.

Ototo Tea House

Strategist senior editor Winnie Yang pointed me to all of the adorable, playful tea accessories from Ototo (all of which are under $25), including this little house the holds and dispenses tea bags. Fill it with your recipient’s favorite variety before you gift it as an extra-special something.

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.

Finum Tea Brewing Basket
$16 for 2
$16 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.

Yet another infusing option (because there’s one for every occasion): these biodegradable tea bags from London-based company Bellocq. Even if they already own a reusable version like the one above, these will come in handy for making more than one cup at a time when company is over and for brewing on the go.


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.

Hario Cold-Brew Bottle
From $22
From $22

This cold-brew maker, which can also be used to steep iced tea, comes 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.

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.


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.

Under $50

Another fancy sugar option 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.

Sure, they could stir their tea with a regular kitchen spoon, but these dainty ones will make the ritual all the more enjoyable. I love the look, too: sleek but with a cottagecore touch that makes them look like something out of House & Garden.

This tea in a very giftable tin is meant to taste like the transition from winter to spring: crisp and sweet with a slight nuttiness. It comes recommended by former Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng who frequents — and absolutely loves — the Chinatown shop where it’s sold.

Or opt for this set of classic Taiwanese varieties from another beloved NYC shop. There are several oolongs plus a black, along with cards that give information on tasting notes for each so they can learn as they sip.

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 Round Tea Pot

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).

Yes, this is called a coffee canister — but it’s also good for keeping loose-leaf tea super-fresh, a must for anyone who buys in bulk. The stainless-steel container prevents air, light, and heat from affecting the leaves and degrading their potency.

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.

[Editor’s note: This item is currently out of stock, but you can sign up to be notified when it comes back, which just might happen before the holidays.]

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 one from East Fork is a personal favorite of mine. The handle is supremely comfortable to grip and the thick walls help tea stay warm longer than many other mugs I’ve used.

Yes, here’s another mug. (What can I say? Mugs make a great gift for tea people.) And I think this one is so pretty. It’s giving vessel you pull out of your in-laws’ cabinet in their cozy cabin vacation home — in a great way.

I keep Alaya’s delicious teas stocked in my own pantry. Though it’s caffeine-free, the lemongrass and ginger variety is zingy enough to really wake you up, and the addition of a textured ceramic mug and stainless-steel strainer make it a complete and lovely (not to mention all-around affordable) gift.

If you don’t know your recipient’s exact favorite blends, these curated tea boxes from French purveyor Palais des Thés offer quite a range. You can choose from themes like “Office Teas” meant to bring joy to the workday, “Morning Teas” for energizing, and an essentials collection with a wide variety of their most popular selections. (Plus the packaging is just so pretty.)

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 many different kinds that are downright delicious and beautifully packaged to boot.


For the burgeoning tea lover — or the tea-loving parent with a young kid — this toy set would make such a sweet gift. The pieces are colorful but all wood, so they have a sophisticated nature about them too (meaning no one will be upset if they’re left strewn about).

Under $100

When an afternoon snack or nighttime dessert craving hits, they can load up this tray with a cup of steaming tea and a treat — then carry it to their desk or the couch with minimal hassle. All the earthy color options are winners in my book.

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 stainless steel with a textured bamboo handle.

Iced tea lovers will always appreciate having a beautiful pitcher on hand to serve from. I truly love this hand-painted one from Pomelo Casa that is pretty enough to keep out as a decorative object (or flower vase) when not in use.

I’ve long admired Sophie Lou Jacobsen’s glass work — and this playful yet sophisticated sugar bowl is no exception. It comes with a teaspoon for doling out the perfect scoop.

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.

Or consider this stovetop option from one of our favorite brands, Hario. Like the Fellow, below, it has a gooseneck spout for streamlined pouring — but because it’s stovetop rather than electric, it’s more affordable. I also love the copper color and wood knob, which make it a bit higher-end than the standard stainless-steel one.

Under $175

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.

For folks who prefer to see the color of their tea, I love this cheerful set from Hawkins New York. The cups are made from borosilicate glass so they can withstand hot temperatures.

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug
From $110
From $110

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