Cynthia and I enjoyed Afternoon Tea on a

Cynthia and I enjoyed Afternoon Tea on a beautiful SF day at the Tea Stop Cafe, a mini me of the Crown & Crumpet, in San Francisco recently. http://ow.ly/obtHQ http://ow.ly/i/2WZpl http://ow.ly/i/2WZrb http://ow.ly/i/2WZrW

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I won $100 voucher at British Wholesale

I won $100 voucher at British Wholesale Imports! Yeh! I was a Lucky Seven winner this year – finally! Yes, we WILL get clotted cream this holiday season! http://ow.ly/i/2WYvb http://ow.ly/obqDz

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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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The perfect gift for an Afternoon Tea Lover celebrating a special day…

Tickets to an historical home whose volunteers host an Afternoon Tea as a fund raiser make a great gift to honor a tea drinker on a special occasion. If you can attend with the event with them, all the better!

Start by checking historical homes and museums near where you live or where your tea drinker lives.  You may be fortunate to find an event near the time of the special date, but likely you will have to buy tickets a good bit in advance. Your honoree can then look forward to spending time with you and enjoying afternoon tea at a later date. Many historical homes with volunteers who host afternoon tea will also provide a tour of the home as part of the tea event. Do not be surprised if the fund raiser event also has other fund raising opportunities like a raffle and gift shop. You will be treating your special tea drinker to a fun afternoon for a reasonable cost.

Harris Lass Museum volunteers host the annual fundraising Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show in June.

One such occasion is the Harris Lass Museum Afternoon Tea and Fashion Show held annually in June in Santa Clara, California. http://santaclaraca.gov/index.aspx?page=41&recordid=7177 OR http://www.meetup.com/Lets-Go-to-Afternoon-Tea/events/43874102/. There are similar events held year round throughout the country.

Friends and I attend this event regularly. They bring friends, mothers bring daughters or their mothers – to enjoy a delightful afternoon tea, raffle, entertainment and gift store shopping.  For just $25 person, this noon until about 4 PM event is worth the price of admission.  Be warned, quality events like these, that have been held for years will likely sell out. If you find an event with tickets available, act quickly.

Tea sandwiches, scone with clotted cream and lemon curd, and fruit skewers – Afternoon Tea treats at the Harris Lass Museum sell out fundraising event.

This year I conducted an informal survey of the 8 women at our table. I asked each what they thought would be in the perfect tea gift basket. I was surprised by the answers, maybe you will be too.

  •       An equal number of women expressed a preference for white tea as well as for black, green and herbal tea. One person also added they enjoyed Oolong tea.
  •       Four mentioned loose leaf tea instead of tea bags.
  •       Whether or not the tea was organic or fair traded was not noted as significant.
  •       7 women would enjoy a tea cup and saucer in their gift; 3 would want a teapot and; 4 a tea spoon.
  •       For accessories; 4 women would want an infuser of some kind; 2 a tea thermometer; 2 a tea measuring spoon and; 1 a tea scale.
  •       A couple of women mentioned adding a tea book, stationary or tea wallet – a tea gift to the basket.
  •       Whatever else you add to a tea gift basket, do not forget the cake or cookies! Even more than candy, everyone wanted either cake or cookies to enjoy with their tea!

To make my friends happy with a tea gift basket, and maybe yours too; include any type tea, with loose leaf tea and tea bag selections.  Add a teacup and infuser to the basket and maybe a gift. Do not forget to add cake or cookies, your tea drinker if they are like my friends, will be disappointed if your gift does not include a sweet treat too!

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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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Personalize a tea gift basket for a special hostess gift…

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Beth was both surprised and delighted to receive this thoughtful gift. The gift was presented wrapped in a clear garbage bag, as Angela had to transport it safely on the train ride over to Beth’s house.

Angela is Beth’s friend so knows what she likes.  She chose a collectible basket lined with gingham to hold the other gifts. Angela blended an herbal tea, a simple blend of three ingredients, for Beth and presented it in a large canning jar.  Travel size facial products were included as well as a tea mug with a built in infuser. The highlight of the basket (besides the tea) was the box of Frango chocolates Angela had purchased at Macy’s.

Beth, our hostess, was not expecting a gift, knew it was not necessary. The gift made her feel special and appreciated – that her efforts had not gone un-noticed. Angela, the gift giver, was able to share part of herself and show her gratitude for Beth’s time and hospitality. Tea was the common denominator so a most appropriate gift.

The Let’s Go to Tea MeetUp group is sponsored, in part, by Tea Lover Gift Baskets.com. http://www.meetup.com/Lets-Go-to-Afternoon-Tea/events/56969452/ and http://www.tealovergiftbaskets.com/

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