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Part 3 of 22: Tea Folks take on a great tea gift idea

Sad news. Tea Folks is closed. The website closed – April 30th, 2017.

Helen Schussler had her company table ‘Tea Folks’ next to ours at the 2017 Southwest Tea Festival. She and her assistant were very knowledgeable about tea and very friendly.

Even though her store is closing, she had a great tea gift idea.

Create your own tea blend! Tea Folks was selling a variety of delicious teas and tea blends. What was unique to Tea Folks is that they also offered an option to make your own tea blend. The adventurous tea drinker picked a plain tea base; green, black, or herbal tea. Then there were many taste tempting options to add to the plain tea base to create your own tea blend (see the photo below).

We saw many people throughout the Festival take advantage of the opportunity to make their own signature tea blends. So I knew this was a great tea gift idea before I approached Helen later in day on Sunday and asked her opinion on what a great tea gift idea would be.

Keep a look out for other tea companies that offer the opportunity for you to make your own tea blend. Local to me, Steepers in downtown Campbell, CA, has a tea blending station where one can create their own tea blend. If you know your gift recipient well, create a signature tea blend for them with their favorite flavors. If you do not feel that brave, give them a gift certificate so they can create a tea blend themselves. If possible, share the experience with the gift recipient. A recurring theme in great tea gift ideas is sharing yourself and tea with someone you care about.

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Tea Lover Gift Baskets and Tea Lover Teas go to Vegas!

The Southwest Tea Festival, sponsored by Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, aims to unite tea educators, retailers, and growers with tea drinking consumers and hobbyists. This two-day festival will provide tea knowledge, cultural experiences, tastings, cuppings, pairings, and demonstrations for tea enthusiasts throughout Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Tickets are available and with code: TEALOVERS get 25% off. It is a two day festival; Saturday, February 25 from 10-5 and Sunday, February 26 from 10 to 4.

This weekend, Tea Lover Gift Baskets and Tea Lover Teas are 100% into preparing to participate in the Festival next weekend. We will be loading up our Santé Fe with boxes of tea ware and tea themed foods this Friday, February24th and heading to Vegas, Baby. We will be staying with the other vendors at the Lucky Dragon Casino hotel over the weekend. We understand the Casino is new, just opened this past December.

If you live in the area or plan to be in Las Vegas next week, come by the Festival. Enjoy tea, shopping and the variety of cultural experiences – maybe learn a thing or two about tea. Tea culture is inclusive and comfortable, come see for yourself. Be sure to stop by our booth for 10% off purchases of $10 or more.

sw-southwest-tea-festival-logo

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Tea Journey magazine reaches Kickstarter goal

Tea Journey is a specialized digital magazine aiming to connect tea growers, experts and enthusiasts via a rich multimedia platform including articles, photos and videos. This collaborative magazine launched by tea industry veteran Dan Bolton reached its funding goal on Kickstarter – Tea Journey recently.

If you have not yet heard of this opportunity and are interested in timely, in depth tea industry news, check it out. Dan Bolton is a seasoned professional. The contributor list reads like a Who’s Who of the tea world. The magazine itself is a work of art.

Great gift idea for yourself or a curious tea drinker on your gift list.

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Because it tastes good, that’s why.

Aren’t you looking for a tea gift basket idea because you want to give a gift of tea to someone who enjoys the taste of tea?

Cynthia Fazekas  of Adagio Teas wrote an insightful article recently (http://www.teasmart.com/article_120902.html?source=email) to an audience of tea sellers but the same message applies to those wanting tea gift ideas.  She compared selling tea to selling Twinkies.  Folks buy Twinkies because they taste yummy, not because they have any nutritive value. Tea sellers should focus on selling tea because it tastes good, not just because it is good for us.

Yummy, but no nutritive value.

When you select a tea gift basket as a gift, yes, you are giving someone you care about a gift that has healthful benefits. But is that why you are selecting a tea gift basket in the first place? Probably not.

Tea tastes good. Drinking tea is not always just about quenching your thirst. But sometimes it is. Tea, whether hot or iced, must taste good. Nowadays tea comes packaged in a myriad of ways to make it convenient. If the taste is pleasing to you or your tea drinker, it is ‘good’ tea. No matter how it is packaged it has healthful benefits.

Often preparing tea is an experience, a comfortable ritual, that includes heating the water, preparing the vessels, sitting still for a while, recharging.  When you give the gift of tea, isn’t this experience part of what you want to give?  Knowing tea is healthful comes second.

The experience of tea time can be shared making it a special time. To me, this is what makes tea so wonderful and keeps me coming back.

A great tea gift basket idea would be to include delicious tea that can be prepared in a way that allows your special tea drinker time to slow down for a bit. Adding tea foods; cookies, scones, or special sweeteners will allow them to have something to share at a tea with friends.  Tea gift idea surveys repeatedly show tea drinkers want cake or cookies in their tea gift baskets. A fine cake or shortbead, maybe not twinkies.

Tea Celebration

Tastes good AND is good for you.

That tea can be enjoyed without any negative side effects is as Cynthia says ‘the crème in the Twinkie’ or as they say in Britain ‘icing on the fairy cake’.

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Why not bring iced tea instead?

 

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Getting together with family and friends over the Labor Day weekend? Instead of bringing the host or hostess a gift of wine or beer, bring iced tea! Everyone can drink iced tea and the cost of iced tea will not empty your wallet. Iced Tea is so refreshing when the temperature nears 100 degrees.

Don’t bring just any iced tea.  Bring a ‘ready to drink’ iced tea (you do not even have to make it yourself!) that won awards this year at the North American Tea Championship. http://www.teachampionship.com/index.php/champions/2012-iced-tea-champions.

3 iced tea questions to keep in mind:

  1. The same caffeine rules apply to iced tea as to hot tea. Black, oolong, green and white tea has caffeine, an herbal tea will not. Be mindful of who will be at the gathering when making your selection as well as how late in the day it will be held.
  2. Then there is the sweetened tea vs. unsweetened tea decision to make. Which should you bring? If you are bringing one kind of iced tea, you may want to bring an unsweetened selection, and then bring simple syrup for those who would like to sweeten their tea.  Torani (http://www.torani.com/makes a simple syrup as well as an agave syrup. Granulated sweeteners do not always fully dissolve in cold tea.You might just opt for bringing two kinds of iced tea – one sweetened and one not.
  3. Flavored tea vs. unflavored tea.  Will the tea you bring be enjoyed with a meal? Will it become a ‘mixer’? Will young people be drinking your iced tea selection? Will the group be mostly male or female? Answer these questions and you will have a better idea how to proceed. Again, I recommend bringing two tea selections – one flavored and one not. At the risk of receiving disparaging comments, I recommend flavored teas (colorful blends, too) where children and young people will be present as well as for groups of mostly women.  Unflavored teas are best to use as ‘mixers’ unless there is already a recipe in mind.

Tea cocktails are very popular, for your next get together you may want to check these out! Start by following Chris Cason, tea sommelier and co-founder of Tavalon Tea in New York City. http://tavalon.com/t-events.aspx or http://www.facebook.com/teasommelier.

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Gift Baskets will continue to be a holiday staple in 2012

Gift baskets will continue to be a holiday staple, whether pre-assembled in-store or created by customers.

Food gifting is shifting from cheap and cheery to premium and selective, with buyers keeping in mind recipient’s diets and environmental impact.

Gift givers can now find theme baskets for the tea lover, animal lover and even for those with special diets to list just a few.  Keep in mind who will be receiving your gift.  Make selections they will enjoy even if you would not. Be sensitive to food, religious, fair trade, organic and other concerns.

Consumers have been simplifying their lives; economizing and enjoying the simple, classic, homemade and recycled.  This also applies to their gift giving.

Gift basket professionals have noticed changing trends and offer higher quality gourmet foods, more diverse products and ‘baskets’ or containers that can be repurposed.

Large corporations, are gift givers too. More and more, they are using gift basket giving, strategically, as a marketing tool.  Any size business can reap rewards through gift giving. Seek out a reputable gift basket professional for assistance. A great place to look is the Gift Basket Association http://tgba.onefireplace.org/.

Simple and homemade does not necessarily translate to inexpensive. Gourmet foods and specialty products are pricey. Expect to pay more for a premium quality gift basket.

Information for this article was summarized from the article named “Gift Basket Makers Opting for Classic, Well-Made Products” (http://www.oser.com/GN/pdf/GN.0712.pdf) written by Lucas Witman, editor of Arizona Gourmet Living magazine, in the Gift Basket Update 2012 section of the July, 2012 edition of Gourmet News, (http://www.gourmetnews.com/ ) the business newspaper for the gourmet industry.

Mr. Witman spoke with gift basket professionals, Jennifer Simon of Simon & Co. (http://www.simonandco.com/) and Shirley Frazier of http://giftbasketbusiness.com/ who shared gift basket industry trends they have noticed over the past few years.

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