Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Tea Lover

Valentine’s Day Ideas for the Tea Lover

A thoughtful cup of tea brought to your bedside each morning means more to me than the huge bouquet of flowers bought once a year.

-Penny Jordan

It’s the little things that count. It could be as simple as a pot of tea and croissant in the morning to show your gratitude and affection. Make a vow this Valentine’s Day to start your new routine!

Do you have a tea lover you’d like to serve tea to? For Valentine’s Day, here are some go-to tea ideas.

  1. Organic Mexican Chocolate tea
  2. Organic Chocolate Tea
  3. Organic Coconut Creme Tea
  4. Organic Earl Grey Passion
  5. Organic Vanilla Tea
  6. Organic Red Raspberry Rooibos

By all means, feel free to explore. You could try our new Personali-Tea Quiz to find popular blends based on cup characteristics.

Does your loved one have everything they need to brew loose leaf tea? Don’t forget paper tea filters or a permanent tea basket!

Pairing Food with Tea in the Morning

Nothing goes better with a pot of tea than a little treat in the morning. Here are some popular pairings with morning teas:

  • Scones
  • Croissant
  • Dutch Pancakes
  • Muffins

For a healthier option, or for those with dietary restrictions, there’s no need to miss out. Here are some other ideas.

  • Grapefruit Brûlée (grapefruit with a little sugar on top, broiled until caramelized)
  • A bowl of almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc…
  • A bowl of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc…

Of course, any breakfast routine will benefit from a pot of tea. Breakfast teas pair well with any meal. Scented black teas are another popular option. Rooibos blends are caffeine-free with a smooth, sweet finish, also great at breakfast time if you want to cut out the caffeine.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you’re near the Clifton Park, NY area, stop by our shop for a free tea tasting today (2/9). Check our website for store hours and contact info.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

Original tea bag patent photo

Tea Bags Were Invented On Accident?

Although cultivated tea has been around for thousands of years, the tea bag is a relatively recent invention. The venerable teapot and infuser, and other simpler tea ware such as the gaiwan were used to prepare tea for centuries.

It wasn’t until 1903 that the concept of a tea bag was patented. Roberta C. Lawson and Mary Molaren of Milwaukee, WI came up with the idea of a ‘tea-leaf holder,’ for the purpose of brewing a single serving of tea, instead of brewing a large quantity of tea in a tea pot.

As eloquently stated from the patent: “…the leaves shall be held together against separating and being dispersed through the infusion to be drunk up, which would spoil the pleasure of the drink, and yet the leaves must be so held together as to be exposed fully to the water poured thereon in the cup, so that their qualities shall be freely given off and taken up by the water to produce the desired infusion.”

The Origin Of The Tea Bag

However, tea bags were popularized in 1908 as a happy accident. Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea merchant, sent samples of tea to his customers in small silken bags. Some recipients mistakenly placed the silken bags directly into a teapot instead of emptying out the contents.

It wasn’t until Sullivan started receiving feedback from customers complaining about the fineness of the silk that he realized what happened, and started making gauze tea bags with a more porous weave for the intent of infusing.

Due to their ease of use, tea bags became popular in the US, with commercial production beginning in the 1920’s. In 1930, the heat sealed paper fiber tea bag was patented, resembling the tea bag we are familiar with today. Post WWII, tea bag production ramped up globally.

Today, tea bags are a mixed blessing. It’s easy to find a dizzying array of tea bags in grocery stores, making tea widely accessible to the public. However, the tea that most people are familiar with, at least in the US, is of a considerably low quality.

Tea bags allow for the use of fannings, or dust, which is what is left over from processing higher quality teas. Typically, teas found at the grocery store are of this grade, leaving many with a false perception of what good tea tastes like.

However, a quality tea experience can still be obtained with open ended tea bags. These disposable paper filters offer the convenience of single use and can be filled with any loose leaf tea. Even in the era of modern conveniences, you can still have a quality cup of tea.


How To Serve Tea To Children

Tea Time with Children

How To Serve Tea To Children


Did you know that you could have a real tea party with your little ones? Children as young as a year old can appreciate a good cuppa—with treats of course! A tea party is an enjoyable bonding experience to have with your children, and provides a great opportunity for children to learn lots of skills, like handling a warm beverage and table manners. You’ll be surprised how quickly your child will pick it up!

The key is selecting the proper tea. Any tea with caffeine is not recommended. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can affect a child’s sleep patterns, increase anxiety, and generally drive them up a wall. Fortunately, there are many teas that don’t have caffeine.

Technically speaking, tea is from the camellia sinensis plant, which is naturally caffeinated. What we recommend is something called an herbal tisane, or an herbal tea. There are many kid-safe herbal teas.

Recommended Teas

A quick note, we recommend serving tea without sugar. If your child has never had sugar with their tea, they won’t expect it, and they will be happy enough just playing grown up. Milk is optional, and not a necessity. Rooibos teas may benefit from a splash of milk. Certain fruit tisanes may actually curdle milk due to the acidic content, so please test first.

We also recommend certified organic blends. Due to the nature of tea production, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers can become concentrated in teas. When your tea is certified organic, it ensures that it is free from these chemical contaminates.

How To Serve Tea

When serving, we recommend a few important tips. First, this is a supervised activity. After all, you are brewing piping hot tea! Your child should not have access to extremely hot tea at any time! That means your teapot should be well out of reach unless it has cooled down sufficiently.

In the beginning, your child will need a lot of help, there are so many skills to master. If possible, have your child stay at the table. This means an age appropriate table and possibly chair. Help your child with proper handling of their tea mug. Expect spills, be ready with a hand towel and plenty of patience. And yes, that means spilt tea on clothing! Be patient and calm, it’s all about building a positive experience.

It’s also a great time to put the phone away and turn off the TV. Let your tea time be a distraction-free time. Keep your electronics in a separate room with the sound off if temptation is too great.

Tea Ware

We recommend not breaking out the fine china for this activity. Especially for toddlers, because, well, they’re toddlers. We have found that Japanese style ceramic tea tumblers work very well, and are just durable enough for the purpose. Small tumblers allow for easy handling, and the small vessel allows tea to cool faster. The ones without handles reduce complications.

Older children may be able to handle more traditional tea cups (again, not the fine china), however, children should always be supervised and instructed, especially in the beginning.

Tea should be served warm, not hot of course. Always test tea before serving. To cool down tea quickly, try keeping an empty teapot or any non-plastic vessel with a spout at hand. Instead of serving brewed tea directly in your child’s cup, pour a serving size in the empty teapot and swirl. The vessel will absorb the heat of the serving. Then transfer to your child’s mug and test to make sure it is a good temperature.

If you have a play tea set, please check with the manufacturer to ensure it is food safe and also durable enough for actual use. Play tea sets are not always intended for actual use.


Feel free to serve snacks with tea. This could be a simple as cut up fruit, or a special treat, such as a scone with cream and preserves, a cookie, and other hand-sized dainties. For a traditional afternoon tea experience add tea sandwiches.

Just in case you are wondering, you can make any sandwich a tea sandwich really, just remove the crust and cut it into triangles, as long as it holds well together, you have yourself a tea sandwich! Optionally, you can use a sandwich cutter for all sorts of fun shapes, or experiment with a cookie cutter.

George Washington - Tea Drinker

The President’s Favorite Cup of Tea

Did you know that some of the founding fathers of the United States were tea drinkers? For example, George Washington possessed many tea wares in his Mt. Vernon home, including tea caddies, tea boards, tea chests, teacups, pewter tea ware, teapots, tea sets, silver teaspoons, tea tables and a silver-plated tea urn.

According to records from his estate, Washington purchased a variety of Chinese teas, both black and green. The rich malty breakfast teas from India and Sri Lanka were not cultivated until the 19th century, and so Chinese teas were the teas of the time.

In fact, during the infamous Boston Tea Party, it wasn’t English Breakfast that went overboard. The inventory amounted to three tea ships contained 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas).

Thomas Jefferson, another founding father and early American president, had a passion for food and drink, including Chinese teas. In a letter to a Philadelphia tea merchant and grocer in 1794, Jefferson noted “Having occasion for about 20. lb. of good tea annually…”

Looking to stock your Larder during this Presidents’ Day? We’re offering 10% off all unflavored black and green teas to celebrate an early American tradition of having a good cuppa.

Use the following coupon code at checkout to get 10% off unflavored green and black teas:


Want to read more about our founding fathers and tea? Here are some interesting reads from the Boston Tea Party Museum:

We hope you have an enjoyable President’s Day!


Daylight Saving Ends – How To Adjust

Daylight Saving Ends

The clocks turn back one hour at 2am this Sunday, November 1st, 2015. Which means you’ll have an extra hour in bed! While easier to adjust to the end of Daylight Saving, it can still be a little disorienting. Here are some tips to get you adjusted to the change.

1. Control the light

Light is one of the most important biological cues. Melatonin, a sleep inducing substance in the body, is activated in the dark. As soon as you are awake, make sure to let the light in, or turn lights on. Conversely, when it is time to go to bed, make sure to reduce or remove all light sources entirely. Night lights are great for bathroom trips, instead of the full glare of room lighting.

2. Put the phone away

Bedtime seems like a great time to check out Facebook, browse email, or play games on your phone, but staring at that screen can delay your sleep by an hour or more. That’s because LED screens on phones, tablets, and computers emit a bright blue light to help make them more visible in daylight. This light can inhibit the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and disrupt circadian rhythms.

Consider putting all LED emitting devices away at least an hour before going to sleep.

3. Control your caffeine and alcohol intake

Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep-inducing chemicals in the body. A general rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine intake four to six hours before bedtime. However, this depends on how caffeine affects you.

Consider a relaxing herbal tea before bed. Herbal blends like Nite Cap and Chamomile Lavender have a soothing and calming effect.

In the morning, have a strong breakfast tea to help jumpstart the body. Caffeine will help fight fatigue, but is not a substitute for a poor night’s rest.

Alcohol can have a deceptive effect on sleep. While it can allow people to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply, it has a negative impact on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep: or dream sleep. REM sleep is important for restoring the mind.


Does Tea Tree Oil Come From Tea?

Does tea tee oil come from tea?

Have you ever wondered if tea tree oil comes from the same plant that makes the tea you drink? You might be surprised to find out that tea tree oil has nothing to do with the tea you brew in your cup!

Tea tree oil, or melaleuca oil, comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, AKA. narrow-leaved paperbark; a tree or shrub native to Australia. Well-known for its medicinal use as a topical application or inhaled as a vapor, tea tree oil is actually toxic to ingest, and can be harmful in large quantities.

In contrast, the tea plant: Camellia sinensis, makes one of the most popular beverages in the world. These two plants are entirely unrelated. So is there such thing as oil that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant?

There is, in fact, an oil that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s called ‘tea seed oil,’ AKA. ‘tea oil camellia’ or ‘oil-seed Camellia.’ Tea seed oil is used for cooking, due to its high smoke point. It is also used in dressings and marinades. It is cold-pressed, with a pale, amber green color. You can find it online, at certain Asian grocery stores, and specialty shops that sell cooking oils.

Tea and the American Revolution

Tea and the American Revolution

When you steep a cup of tea, imagine as you sip that empires have risen and fallen because of that warm familiar brew. As rich as your favorite cup may taste, it’s history is much richer.

Consider the American Revolution. We were all taught about the Boston Tea Party in school. It was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston, on December 16, 1773. The demonstrators objected to the Tea Act of May 10, 1773, claiming that it violated their rights to no taxation without representation, as it was a tax from British Parliament, in which they were not represented. The demonstrators, some disguised as American Indians, destroyed an entire shipment of tea sent by the East India Company. The British responded harshly and ultimately sparked the American Revolution.

American tea drinking habits at the time

When the modern American thinks of tea dumped in the harbor, they might think piles of bagged tea, perhaps English Breakfast. However, tea bags were 150 years in the future, all the tea was loose leaf. Also, at the time, all tea came from China. The familiar full-bodied teas from India and Sri Lanka weren’t cultivated until the 19th century.

So what tea was dumped in the harbor? Not the bagged tea you buy at the grocery store! This was the good stuff. Benjamin Woods Labaree’s The Boston Tea Party says the three tea ships contained 240 chests of Bohea, 15 of Congou, 10 of Souchong (all black teas), 60 of Singlo, and 15 of Hyson (both green teas). However, this tea would not pass for modern tea drinkers. Due to excessive taxation, Great Britain had great piles of surplus tea, and had the tea in question in storage for over 3 years.

Tea was a very important commodity in both Europe and the colonies at the time. In particular, American colonists had a much more sophisticated tea palate than they do today. Surprisingly, over a third of tea exported from China was green tea, with spring picked Hyson among the favorites. In fact, Hyson green tea was a tea favorite of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Unfortunately, due to the events of the Boston Tea Party and the Tea Act, Americans lost a taste for tea, resulting in the dominance of coffee. Only within the past few decades has specialty tea reached the spotlight again, with more than quadruple growth rates.

To find out more about the history of tea, check out this excellent blog by Bruce Richardson, Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum:

Scientists Brew Tea in a Chocolate Teapot

Chocolate teapot

Have you ever heard the expression: “You’re about as useful as a chocolate teapot.”

The BBC ‘s The One Show challenged Nestlé to test the myth by developing a pot which doesn’t melt when filled with boiling water. Master chocolatier John Costello of Nestle’s Product Technology Centre in York, UK spent six weeks developing the teapot.

He chose dark chocolate made with 65 percent cocoa solids, since the low fat content would help it hold its shape better against boiling water. The mold required pouring in multiple thin layers of chocolate and took over two hours.

The resulting teapot was able to hold boiling water while tea steeped for two minutes. Surprisingly, the resulting brew had only a hint of chocolate flavor, with the flavor of the tea coming through strong.

So will we see chocolate teapots in the candy aisle anytime soon? We’ll just have to keep an eye on nestle to find out.

The History of Tea Infographic

Take a trip through tea history with this fun infographic. From it’s discovery in ancient China to present day.

History of tea infographic


Top 5 Coffee Substitutes

Top 5 Coffee Substitutes

Are you looking to kick your coffee addiction, but you still want a hot cup of something in the morning? You’re in luck! Here’s a few lower caffeine and caffeine free options:

  • Breakfast Tea (caffeinated): Compared to coffee, black tea has less than half the caffeine per serving. This is your most full bodied coffee alternative.
  • Roasted Yerba Mate (caffeinated): If you’re looking for a full bodied brew with a roasted flavor, try Roasted Yerba Mate. It has a similar caffeine content to black tea.
  • Decaf Black Tea: If you can’t have caffeine and you want to avoid coffee, try decaf black tea. With CO2 decaf method, all the caffeine is removed without compromising flavor.
  • Rooibos (caffeine free): For a naturally caffeine free herbal tea in the morning, try a mug of rooibos. It has a naturally smooth, sweet flavor that compliments any breakfast.
  • Purple Tulsi (caffeine free): If you’re looking for a mood enhancing morning cup, you don’t need caffeine. Try Purple Tulsi. The flavor is robust and slightly spicy. It’s well known for its stress relieving, clarifying effects.