Yes, the end of the year is nigh and for those celebrating holidays (of any sort) it’s the time to buy gifts. Whether you’re the illustrious tea aficionado of your family or someone who just mentions in passing how much they love tea, chances are you’ve received some lackluster or altogether terrible tea gadgets. Hey, it happens to the best of us! This is an attempt to remedy such poor tea gift giving. What better time to get a good friend or significant other into the grand world of tea with a well-suited gift? Similarly, what better way to get something actually worthwhile in the tea-verse than by sending a comprehensive and no-bull list of great tea gear?
We’ve sorted through all the ridiculous plastic, cheap steeping, unfunctional, app-enabled silliness and brought you a list of a few new and interesting tea products along with some perennial favorites. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!
Manual Tea Maker No. 1
I immediately fell in love with this modernist gaiwan the moment I got it in the mail. From the initial packaging to the double-walled borosilicate glass to the included herringbone-esque tea towel and large tasting cup, I use this single tea maker more than any other combination of tea items I have. It’s simplicity paired with functionality really highlights how simple, yet elegant, tea can be. And that tea towel… it’s just so nice. Seriously.
Hario Largo Tea Globe
Doubtless, you’ve seen these at your local coffee shop that wants to make an avid push to brew quality loose tea to order. I’ve personally used them for a number of years now and I have to say, besides personal use, if you grab a couple of these for your kitchen, there’s hardly anything more striking than having three of these lined up and steeping different kinds of tea for guests. I’ll admit that they’re a little finicky to clean, but they hold 800ml, so can easily be used for a cup or a teapot. Hario’s made some of the best cafe products in the recent years, so you know it’s good.
The Wall™ Tea Infuser by Boreal Wildcraft
Awarded Best New Product by the World Tea Expo, Canadian tea company Boreal Wildcraft, known for their blends of local ingredients, created a tea mug that is basically the ultimate in simplistic design. It allows you to drink your tea “grandpa” or “grandma” style, through a built-in glass filter, without having to worry about chewing on the leaves all day. When I do enjoy teas this way, this mug is the way I do it, usually with aged white teas, dark roast wulong, shu pu’er, etc.
Zens Pi Travel Tea Set
A 2017 Winner of an iF Design Award, this modern tiny travel cup and stackable gravity infuser is absolutely adorable. I would’ve liked to have seen it be sealable, for ultimate travelability, but it definitely looks adorable, has a durable case, and fits in nicely with other such travel brewers. And it looks hella sleek.
Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
Here’s the thing about this Tea Maker: Provided you love loose leaf tea, and you love the idea of automation, then this really is the single most perfect tea product out there for you. I only say this because I’ve been selling this product for 8 years now and time and time again, I hear back from people about how much they love it. Key points: It’s a variable temperature kettle that also steeps your tea for you (with custom temperature settings and custom set times). It makes a good amount of tea at once, has a large tea basket for good surface area extraction, and can hold temp with the brewed tea. And the absolute killer feature, the one that too many people overlook but totally changes your tea habits, is the ability to set an auto-brew clock, so that you can prep the machine at night, and wake up to your favorite tea already brewed… seriously, that almost sells itself.
Ember Temperature Controlled Thermos
I’ll just admit it: Ember’s newest product, the Temperature Controlled Ceramic Mug, may have metaphorically blown up (distributed by Starbucks, in Time’s Best Inventions of the Year) but their original product, the thermos, is by far more useful and interesting. Admittedly, it’s a product pretty exclusively for the hyper-anal (who have to have their tea at an exact temp) and the uber tech-savvy (it’s smartphone app enabled). But the ability to travel with brewed tea that never gets cold and actually can warm up tea that’s gone cold… that’s kinda cool.
Stagg EKG Kettle
Raven Stovetop Tea Kettle with Thermometer & Infuser
Stagg Tasting Cups
Stagg Double Wall Carafe
So, this is straight out of left field, but I’m a big fan of the Fellow product lines when it comes to coffee. Their original Kickstarted brewer (Duo) I’ve used for tea and weirdly, kinda love it! It is, in essence, a large gravity brewer originally designed for coffee, but with an optional tea basket. I think they’ve come around a bit in marketing their products toward tea folk (a recent video has them brewing pu’er in the Duo), as they now offer a stovetop tea kettle that has a thermometer and filter built in (Raven). I don’t personally use that one but if you’re the type that loves a traditional stove-top cuppa, then I’d recommend it. I personally use their electric, variable temperature gooseneck kettle and I love it (Stagg EKG), so there’s a water option for everyone. And their double-walled carafe and tasting cups are stellar too. We’re not associated with them at all, but I just love their ground-up mentality and altogether quirkiness. Check them out!
Basically, everything on this site is awesome, so you can’t really pick just one thing. Looking to get started with some nicer teaware? Need a full gongfu set? Need a pu’er pick? This is one of the sure-fire places to find higher-quality teaware of all sorts outside of your run-of-the-mill Chinese mass produced knockoffs. Hell, get a tea pet!
This company’s whole purpose is to make cool, interesting tea kits to get more modern people into tea drinking with their on-to-go lifestyle. It’s a cool concept, and they have some interesting products that have won design awards, but they are difficult to buy from, as you have to reach out to them directly and setup an order.