The days are growing shorter, and temperatures are dropping; of course, this is no surprise as winter is just around the corner. For anyone who delights in drinking tea all year round, the colder and Christmas season provides even more reasons to curl up and make yourself comfy with a freshly brewed cup of hot tea. And tea can even fill your home with those unmistakable aromas of Christmas, creating a snugly cosy atmosphere indoors even as temperatures plummet outside. To be able to relax and savour like this is a gift in itself and as such, what better present could there be under the tree than the opportunity to do so?
A pack of tea as a gift also makes it possible to share those flavoursome respites with friends and acquaintances. As there is enough rushing about in the rest of the year anyway, why not make someone’s Christmas that little bit extra special by giving them an exclusive tea and encouraging them to take the time out to appreciate it properly?
It is with this in mind that we have put together a list of recommendations of carefully selected particularly fine teas. There is something there for every taste - you might even be inspired to give one or other of them to yourself as a present!
Taste the spirit of Christmas!
Nothing ordinary – the vast array of tea varieties from around the world brings the flavours and scents of far-away lands directly into your home and into your cup. Our following selected recommendations represent ideal gifts for Christmas time that provide palate-tickling pleasures that will not be forgotten even as the New Year is rung in.
While a good herbal tea tastes good at any time, it can help enhance your mood during those gloomy wintertide days. Perhaps the quintessential tea to give as a gift at Christmas is camomile tea with its fresh flavours and agreeable, delicate sweetness. The distinctive fragrance of camomile tea generated by its essential oils calms body and soul - an excellent and flavourful antidote to the stresses that the end of the year can bring with it. Our THE CAMOMILE masterfully epitomises the special characteristics of camomile tea.
Another herbal infusion variety that is one-of-a-kind is rooibos tea, the national drink of South Africa. Although an infusion of rooibos tea has a pronounced red-brown colouration, it is mildly sweet and mellow in flavour. As rooibos tea contains no caffeine, it can be relished at any time of day - as a cold or hot drink. Aficionados like to add a dash of orange juice when given this tea. Our own HONEY ROOIBOS excels because of its inherent agreeable spicy sweetness.
For those for whom it is difficult to find the necessary vigour to start the day in the bleaker time of year, an archetypical black tea will give them the wake-up call they need. Particularly popular in this respect are the Assam teas from the eponymous region of cultivation in Northeast India. These teas have a very intensive, malty flavour while their high content of caffeine provides the boost of energy required to get the show on the road. Eminently suitable for gifts at Christmas are the Assam teas from the second harvesting season - the so-called second flush or ‘summer harvest’ Assams. Our STRONG ASSAM is, like these, decidedly full of flavour and best drunk with milk, cream and/or rock sugar.
The teas from Ceylon are similarly full of pep. The leaves are still picked by hand in the plantations in Sri Lanka and the resultant infusions exhibit a wide divergence in terms of taste profiles. This is principally due to the differing elevations at which this black tea is grown. Because it has relatively high levels of caffeine, this type of tea is best drunk in the morning or at midday. Our GREAT CEYLON with its full-bodied flavour, behind which a refreshing hint of fruity citrus is discernible, is splendid as a gift of tea for any tea lover - and not just for Christmas!
As it gets colder, we need to support our immune system as best we can to ensure we can celebrate the holiday season and the turn of the year to the full. There is nothing better in this respect than an aromatic tisane of ginger and lemon that will nurture the body through the shorter days. Our GINGER LEMON tea, for example, is rich in favourite flavours, such as the fruitiness of lemon grass and the enlivening bite of ginger. And this combination of flavours is suitable for a green tea novice who has yet to develop a taste for this kind of tea as it is decidedly milder than the typical green teas. The infusion can be spiced up with a hint of cinnamon to add a touch of Christmas cheer.
Befitting those dark winter days, there is a variety of tea that can only develop to the full away from the sun. This variety is gyokuro tea. The plants are left in full shade for three weeks prior to harvesting and the resultant teas that these conditions produce have a sweet and mild tone. Away from the direct rays of the sun, much lower levels of bitter substances and tannins are formed, and our SUPREME GYOKURO green tea also has the customary soft and unadulterated flavour that this tea variety is known for. Moreover, in Japan, its country of origin, gyokuro is considered to be a tea for special occasions that is served to honour guests, making it a particularly apt gift for the Christmas season or as a special little gift designed to express appreciation.
The basis for any good fruit tea is simplicity itself. Many fruit teas come in flavour combinations that evoke Christmas, including almond, cinnamon, aniseed, nutmeg, orange and cardamom, for example, and they are not only refreshing but their fragrances help create a Christmassy atmosphere. At the same time, it takes a lot of skill to create an own blend as a gift tea for Christmas - many of the tastes are so intense they will overwhelm others. If you are looking for a tea that expertly brings together the piquancy of baked apple with a fruity freshness, you cannot do better than our MERRY APPLE fruit tea.
But those typical Christmas flavours are by no means the End of the story; anyone who wants to strike out in new directions can deliberately make use of taste contrasts. It is possible to experiment with fruit teas to produce unusual sweet creations and something out of the ordinary. Our CREAMY STRAWBERRY fruit tea, for instance, has clean flavours dominated by those of strawberry and cream, as the name would lead you to expect. And yet, there is hardly any other tea that so clearly conjures up thoughts of cream caramels - and that without any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. An out-and-out sweetness such as this that contrasts so markedly with the tastes of more familiar teas is a quality that means alternative tea creations of this kind are perfectly capable of fitting in at Christmas time.
The traditional homeland of pu-erh tea is Yunnan Province in the south of China. Pu-erh tea has a history reaching back more than 1,700 years and is believed to be one of the oldest existing varieties in the world. Unlike the ‘simple’ oxidation that most commercially available black teas undergo, pu-erh is subjected to fermentation with the help of microorganisms. Pu-erh is not only suitable as a Christmas gift for tea lovers in view of its origin and heritage but also because of its depth of flavours in association with other tongue-tantalising aspects. As an example, our DARK CHOC tea merges the characteristics of the tea leaves with a concentrated hint of cocoa and chocolate; in other words, there can be no more suitable drink for cold winter evenings, when a luscious hot drink like this is exactly what is needed.
Whether for partners, friends or relatives - or as a little present for yourself - Christmas is a special time of year at which gifts should be given that keep on giving the whole year through - and tea is one of these. When given at Christmas, a gift of tea can represent regard, rest and relaxation. And good taste and enjoyment are imparted when tea is gifted; these are aspects that we should allow ourselves to indulge in again and again during the year.
Irrespective of whether it is Christmas or any other time of year, if a cup of tea is to be right, it needs the right time. Our Avoury One tea machine will provide you with that perfect cup of tea at the press of a button, brewed with precision to ensure that you come into the full enjoyment of each of the teas in our extensive range. The secret of the Avoury One is its straightforward operation. Depending on tea variety, the machine itself selects the correct brewing temperature and infusion time, making sure that every cup is as it should be - without bitterness but with all the flavours retained. And room for improvisation means that even seasoned tea drinkers with the creative touch will find themselves in the tea equivalent of seventh heaven.
Take a look at our accessories range for more ideas for gifts for tea lovers. There are stylish cup sets and tea spoons that will embellish any tea table. Your teacup might be big enough to accommodate a storm, but perhaps you should look beyond it when it comes to enhancing flavour. A good quality sugar will improve almost any tea and will not just sweeten it but also contribute other tastes. Do you now acquire the taste? Let Avoury introduce you to winter teas suitable for the time of year and other exclusive tea-related gifts for Christmas.
Chase away those gloomy thoughts on cold and melancholy winter days by giving a cup of the drink that cheers - because teatime is the best time! Avoury wishes you a nice and relaxing Christmas!