gifts they might actually want

The Best Gifts for Tea Lovers, According to Tea Sommeliers

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Drinking a cup of tea is a pretty universal pleasure — and as such, there are lots of useful tools, beautiful accessories, and delicious blends out there that would make great gifts, whether your recipient turns to it for the occasional caffeine boost after already downing three cups of coffee or considers it with the seriousness of a wine lover. To help you navigate your search, we talked to tea sommeliers, consultants, authors, and other experts to assemble this list of the best gifts for tea aficionados, with options for all — from those just branching out from the lone tea pod in the office Keurig to those who have personally toured remote Nepali tea gardens. Here are their top picks, organized into tea kettles, tea storage, teapots, cups and mugs, tea books, and actual teas. If you know what you’re looking for, jump to any section.

Best tea kettles

“A variable-temperature kettle takes the guesswork out of determining if the water is hot enough for oolongs or a little cooler for green teas,” says Linda Gaylard, tea sommelier, founder of the Tea Stylist blog, and author of The Tea Book. To experiment with teas at different temperatures, Tony Gebely, owner and founder of Tea Epicure, likes the Fellow Stagg EKG kettle “because it allows you to dial in the temperature required by the tea you are preparing to the degree.” Indeed, the Fellow Stagg is the industry-favorite kettle for any brewed drink. Mel Hattie, a certified tea sommelier, says, “with variable temperature, a gooseneck for precision pouring, plus aesthetically pleasing design, it’s one of the best modern kettles money can buy.” Tea sommelier Daniela Titiun loves her Fellow Stagg so much she describes it as “kind of like a baby to me.”

Gebely calls this Bonavita kettle “a cheaper, albeit less sexy, version.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not a quality kettle worthy of a serious tea drinker. Kathy YL Chan, a tea specialist and Hawaii-based food blogger, says, “It’s the only kettle I keep at home, and I love it to bits. It looks good, pours beautifully, and feels nice to carry. A good marriage of function and aesthetics.” Gabrielle Jammal, tea sommelier of Baccarat Hotel New York, also thinks it’s “excellent,” and certified tea sommelier Jee Choe says, “I’m a huge fan.”

For tea beginners who are unsure about setting exact temperatures, tea consultant Sara Shacket likes that this kettle has preset temperatures. Simply press the button for black, white, green, oolong, or delicate tea, and the kettle will do the rest.