To enjoy tea, all you need is hot tea. But, but, i do have a few accessories in crime that enhance the experience. Thanksgiving shopping is upon us. And gift giving is a very serious business from what i have observed. I have a few recommendations. Tea and accessories make a great gift. Its better than things like clothes or other objects that may never get used or die early deaths. For someone trying to drink less coffee and get healthier, tea and tea accessories may help appreciate the switch better. Ofcourse, you dont need any of these to really enjoy a cup of tea. Thats the magic of tea.

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1. Gourd: Yerba Mate gourds are traditional sip-on containers used by South American tea drinkers. They are hand-crafted hollow calabash shells repurposed. Very quirky and all natural. The straw that comes with it is perforated and acts as a natural stainer. These are great to have in an office. They are very low maintenance. You are not supposed to wash with soap and let the tea season the container over time. I have one on my desk at work. And its always been a conversation starter.

2. Whisker: Powdered teas like Matcha need to be whisked into submission before drinking. This is a great present for whose who enjoy making tea as much as drinking it.

3. Cast Iron Tea Pot: This is a heirloom piece for any tea lover. Cast iron retains heat for a long time and keeps the tea prim and proper. The tea connoisseurs argue about how the pot used to make tea affects the final product. And this pot definitely is very well rated. You can find these in most Asian stores and eBay. Or in tea stores for ridiculous prices.

4. Tea ball: If you like steeping your tea multiple times, this is a good accessory to make your tea. Also, can be dropped into any coffee mug making instant tea without need for pots and stainers.

5. Thermometer: Herbal tea requires 200 degrees, green tea tastes best at 175 degrees. Black tea can handle much higher temperatures. The temperatures can be assessed by paying attention to the tea making process. Boiling water, add black tea. Green tea, use boiling water, but let it cool down just a little but not enough to loose all the vapors. But if the intended person loves cooking, having a thermo will make a versatile cooking tool that can be used when cooking other foods like meat, poultry, etc.

6. A good book: The perfect accessory that pairs well with tea, is a great book. Bonus points if its a discourse on seeing beauty in imperfection and the rustic –  Wabi Sabi. Extra points for Eastern Philosophy.

7. Great Music: Sigur Rós is my current favourite. The minimalism and the depth is just beautiful.

9. Stainer: This has to be one of the greatest accessory ever made. For the ones who don’t care about tea pots, gourds and the tea rituals … for the minimalists, all you need is a stainer. The stainless steel ones are easy to clean, don’t discolor if left over time, and are very low maintenance.

10. Pursuit of a great passion: Time to sound very cheesy. Drinking tea while working on something precious is totally the way to do it.

 

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Many of us are not born liking the taste of tea that is served without sugar and milk. It is an acquired taste. For me, I now enjoy my cuppa without any adulteration. But i do add a few ingredients from time to time to make my cup more flavourful.

1. Peppercorns: Pepper, good for health. Adding a few peppercorns is a good way to get some pepper flavour into our diets. It pairs well with green and black teas. I let a few sit in my tea pot all day.

2. Honey: Please do not use the processed honey sold in the supermarkets in those bear containers. Manuka honey/ raw honey is great to add to morning teas as a sweetener.

3. Lemon/Orange slices: Kitchen staples like this go a long way in enhancing the flavour. A great way to get a shot of vitamin C in the morning. Pairs well with white/green/herbal teas.

4. Liquorice : This is a wonderful medicinal sweetener that has been used in teas for centuries. Its used a lot as a medicine for coughs and congestion.

5. Ginger: Let a slice of ginger soak in your tea all day long.

6. Goji Berries: Popular in China as add-ons to a brew. Now popular in the smoothie drinking population and the fitness community. High on nutritional content and touted as anti aging. These are my tea’s best friend.

7. Sour Cherries: Popular in Eastern Europe and Russia for adding flavour to tea, these cherries are a great way to inculcate some sour elements into your food. Most diets are low in this element. And it is recommended by ancient Indian and Chinese medicinal wisdom to have a balance of the five flavours: sweet, sour, salty, astringent, pungent, bitter.

8. Cinnamon: Herbal and floral teas with a stick of cinnamon is divine on a cold day. Try it before you judge it.

9. Bee Pollen: These granules are high energy sources. Are sour + tangy. Great addition to afternoon pick me up teas.

10. Dried Spring fruit: Easiest way to add flavour to any tea is by adding dried fruit/flowers. Davidson’s makes a great blend that i add to mine from time to time.

Any tea lovers out there: How do you like your tea ?