Make yourself a perfect cup of tea and put your feet up. Shopping from home is the best! Here are some 2021 holiday gift deals for tea lovers on your list (or yourself) that Tea Deviant has actually experienced. Some are Christmas focused where others work as gifts for all faiths and celebrations.
Award Winning Japanese Green Tea (& Coffee)
Japanese Green Tea gave Tea Deviant a 20% off coupon code for Black Friday through to Cyber Monday: teadeviantbfcm2021 This code is good from 2021/11/25 11:00PM PST to 2021/11/29 11:59PM PST and it works on both Japanese Green Tea Co. and Japanese Coffee Co., covering both tea and coffee lovers on your holiday list!
I am proud to be an affiliate for this company. A Global Tea Championship Winner three years in a row, this company has exceptional Japanese green teas on offer - beautiful gyokuro, matcha, sencha.
One of my favorites is the powdered Green Tea with Japanese Orange (Mikan). This tea was created when the Arahataen Tea Farm, where Japanese green Tea Co. sources their teas, partnered with Japanese high school students for a year. They taught the students farming and in turn learned about their taste preferences. Japanese Green Tea Co. then created teas that suited the young Japanese palate.
JapaneseGreenTeaIn.com – Free Shipping within USA only; international depends on location
Japanese CoffeeCo.com – Free Shipping for orders above $100 (worldwide)
They have a specific site for customers in India also: https://www.japanesegreentea.in/
Christmas Themed Tea to Fandom Tea to Fine Single Origin Tea
It’s more than just one days of sales over at Adagio Teas. They’re having a Black Friday week! They have a wide variety of teas to please a wide variety of palates.
Get $5.00 off for entering your email, free shipping on orders over $25 and free gifts for certain order thresholds.
Their holiday offerings include the 12 Teas of Christmas gift. The box has one metal ornament for each of the twelve days each with a different tea. Give the whole box as a gift or top your presents with an ornament each.
Their Christmas Advent Calendar is a way to enjoy a new tea every day December 1st to the 25th. Get one for yourself and a friend and use it as a way to connect. If they’re far away you can plan video calls with them discovering a new tea together.
They have holiday themed teaware and individual teas. If you love Terry’s Chocolate Orange you’ll love Puerh Chorange. Reindeer Fuel is a limited edition energy packed blend that includes black tea and mate along with mint and cacao. The blend is well balanced and makes a delicious tis-the-season latte.
I am not an affiliate for Adagio, but I have tried many of their teas and they are a solid brand.
Celebrate the Holidays in Japan Without Leaving Home
I know we’re all tired of the pandemic, but some innovations have evolved from it that we may not otherwise have had. Arigato Japan, a foodie tour company in the country, developed live virtual tours in answer to the travel restrictions that ensued. I attended one of their online tea experiences early this year. It felt good to have something new to engage in connecting with other tea lovers from all over the world in the midst of such limited pandemic contact.
They are having a Christmas and New Year in Japan experience online available now through January 5th 2022. It is a historical and cultural dive into the holidays in Japan with a local virtual guide that lasts one hour and fifteen minutes. This is a family friendly tour.
In anticipation of the return to travel to Japan, Arigato are also offering a 15% discount on their in-person tours with the coupon code BF2021AJ at checkout from November 26th to November 29th, 2021. It is good on all tours in 2022 except for the Ultimate Ramen in Tokyo.
I am not an affiliate of Arigato Japan though I have enjoyed one of their virtual experiences and think it is a smart, innovative way to keep connecting with the country.
Tea companies send me tea and tea accessories for review, but for the first time I was invited to an online tea ‘experience’. Arigato Japan is a company that does food and culture tours in Japan. Considering the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on live events and travel, Arigato has pivoted to create online experiences that bridge the gap for those looking for insight into Japanese culture. They contacted me about their green tea experience. So I joined them via the ubiquitous Zoom, which has been so helpful in connecting us during these crazy times (I’m not sponsored by Zoom, by the way, but I’d welcome it).
At 8pm Japan time (which got this musician out of bed waaay too early my time, lol) I joined an international group of tea enthusiasts for a little over an hour of tea immersion. The event was hosted by Lauren Shannon, an American who has been living in Japan for over 20 years. The usual group is roughly 6-8 but we had about a dozen on the call from all over including Australia, Britain, Japan, Singapore, Columbia and the US.
Lauren had one screen showing her as she spoke and another screen of her tea table. Part way through her presentation she invites attendees to make tea along with her.
If you are a tea fan you might know some of what is shared in the experience. With all of the classes and self study I’ve done I still walked away with new bits of info. However, I’m not going to detail what is covered in this event, so that when you take it you can more fully enjoy it. No spoilers. Spoilers are rude.
Aside from the information there are other benefits of this kind of online experience. There are opportunities to contribute to the conversation during the event and there is a Q and A. Also the energy of sharing an experience with fellow tea lovers from across the globe is a unique energy boost during this time of limited contact.
You can find out about the Arigato Japan Green Tea experience and other online offerings at arigatojapan.co.jp. Tell them Tea Deviant sent you.
Disclosure: Though Arigato invited me to their experience I am not an affiliate for them. Not that I am against being an affiliate. I am for other companies. And not that you would be against me being an affiliate. I don't think you have anything against me actually making money and there being financial value to what I do. I think you would support me in that or you wouldn't be here. I'm just trying to make sure you know what's up.
The unboxing video above shows you an overview of what was in the BRUU tea subscription box. Now let’s talk a bit about the teas. It is my understanding that the types of tea change each month. When you join the service you indicate your tea preferences and they create boxes for you around them. BRUU sent me a box to review, so I did not indicate my preference. This time there were 2 CTC (crush tear curl) black teas, a flavored green tea and one herbal tisane. Let's get our tea on!
The first black tea in the BRUU box was an orange pekoe named Somerset Pekoe. This was a very broken leaf tea that gives flavor over very quickly. It has a fruity nose, floral notes and a briskness taking milk and sweetener well. This orange pekoe tea is from Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon). The card that came with this tea indicates it was grown in a cooler region on the Talawakelle tea estate. That information is interesting because temperature is one of the factors that affects the antioxidants (and flavor) in tea. (Note that polyphenols are a type of antioxidant and catechins are a type of polyphenol. Ugh. That’s it for the science lesson for now. We’ll come back to that in another post.)
For those who aren’t aware, orange pekoe (abbreviated OP) is the name of a grade of tea and has nothing to do with the flavor. There is no orange in it. This one is a broken leaf orange pekoe which is usually without golden tips.
Surianalle black tea, from Munnar
This was the "discover' tea in the box and came with a special large information card. From the town of Munnar in the state of Kerala, India this is a high elevation tea - listed as 1532m above sea level.
Both from what I've experienced and what I've been taught tea grown at higher elevations tends to have a more complex flavor profile. One reason is there is greater carbohydrate content in the leaf which lends a sweeter flavor. This happens because the conditions are so difficult that to grow a plant needs to put more carbohydrates in the leaves.
Other details listed include the soil: sandy loam; season: December-February; and average temperature: 19℃.
This is another very broken CTC tea. I found it to be softer, rounder than the OP, and less brisk but fuller bodied. It would also take milk and sweetener well and be a good morning cuppa in the British fashion.
A simple, but pleasing mix of 3 ingredients: apple, pineapple and lemongrass. The fruit and herbaceous notes work well together. They have a pleasant party (without any actual turkey, though it's a funny little image on the package there.)
The card on this herbal tisane said it is a famous tea. If Turkish apple is a famous tea, I must live under a rock. Not surprising as I'm more of an underground, cult favorite kind of person anyway. I am more familiar with the traditional black tea in Turkish culture, made in a samovar as a concentrate with hot water added to obtain the desired strength.
Per my research Turkish apple tea was introduced as a tea for tourists a while back because traditional Turkish tea, just like their coffee, is very strong and most western tourists weren't into it. So a no tea, caffeine free, herbal version was created of which there are many variations. Some use flavorings as opposed to actual pieces of fruit. It looks like this is a variation on that tourist aimed tea.
This is a flavored sencha tea, a Japanese green from Shizuoka. It has everything in it: flavoring, mallow blossoms, rose petals, freeze-dried strawberries, blackberries and raspberries and freeze-dried yogurt granules (that’s a new one for me).
It is very berry indeed, and the sugar in it means no sweetener is required. The tea took a back seat in my opinion, but I think that was the point. If you like the benefits of green tea but prefer fruity tasting tea this would be a good blend for you.
There are different types of tea subscription services for different types of tea drinkers. BRUU’s subscription box is a low cost introduction to a variety of teas for a tea lover looking to expand their knowledge and experience the fun of getting tea delivered to their door every month. The information cards are a fun addition, though a bit hard to read (but that’s why cell phones have magnifiers). They use responsible packaging from recycled sources too with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) symbol on their box. Yes, they deliver to the US.
This tea subscription service would be good for the tea drinker who is:
Thanks to BRUU for supplying the box for this tea adventure.
Happy International Tea Day everyone! This is the first official observance of this international day. For those who don’t know, this isn’t just a day to celebrate your tea love. This day was created to put a focus on the needs of tea workers, the industry, the importance of sustainability, and the worldwide impact of tea economically as well as culturally.
Brief Tea Day History
An unofficial International Tea Day was celebrated in 2005 in New Delhi. It is now an official day of observance each May 21 as decreed by the United Nations General Assembly:
“In 2015, during a meeting in Milan, Italy, the IGG on Tea discussed the idea of an International Tea Day. The proposal was then endorsed by the FAO Committee on Commodity Problems (CCP) and subsequently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2019” - Wikipedia
Drought, Prices and Hard Times for Tea Workers
The tea industry has been hard hit by recent droughts and fires that have actually destroyed some ancient tea trees particularly in the Yunnan province. (Check out my Tea from a Drought Year post.)
When you see a higher price point for some of your favorite teas, especially the rare ones, understand that there are plantations and workers who have been dealing with reduced harvests and lack of employment prior to covid-19 because of drought and fire damage. The cost increases are justified considering the smaller yields. The taste of the tea when it has gone through a drought is really unique it is and worth the higher price point for that too.
To learn even more about this official day check out the United Nations site. There was also a webcast today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) bringing together professionals from major tea producing countries around the world. They discuss tea varieties and how they are part of cultural events and pay homage to those who have passed on the love of tea from generation to generation. You can see the webcast here: http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/5271/icode/
There’s been a lot of talk about mindfulness in regard to health and how we view our world. International Tea Day is a great opportunity to appreciate the beverage you love, the earth that nurtured it, and all of the human hands that came together to bring it to you. In some ways tea really does bring the world together.
Share a picture of your tea or tell us what you are drinking in social!
All Classic Tea Flavored And Funky For Love Of Tea Herbs Infusions Lifestyle And Health Matcha Meditative And ASMR Sessions Recipes And Uses Specialty Tea Brands Spices Tea Accessories Tea Adjacent Tea And... Tea And A Laugh Tea And Art Tea And Holidays Tea And Music Series Tea And TV Tea Around The World Tea Cocktails Tea Events Tea In Film Tea In History Tea Innovations Tea Pros Tea Shops/Shops With Tea Tea Types Teaware