Valentine's Day Gift Guide
Want to know what to get the tea lover in your life on Valentine’s day? Check out these seven tea-inspired gift ideas for your significant other.
7 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Tea Lover in Your Life
1. A Date at a Local Japanese Garden
Skip the expensive restaurant and the four-course Valentine’s meals. If you really want to make your tea lover swoon, go spend the day at a local Japanese garden.
If you’re lucky, you might even experience an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. A lot of Japanese gardens play host to events like these or they might also have a tea house or cafe that serves Japanese tea and sweets.
2. Follow a Japanese Valentine’s Tradition
While in the U.S. it’s the men who are usually scrambling to get chocolates, flowers, and other Valentine’s-themed treats for their significant others, Japan does it differently.
In Japan, it’s customary for women to give presents to men on Valentine’s Day. This started in the ‘50s when a Japanese chocolate company ran an ad about the Western tradition of women giving chocolates to men to express their love on Valentine’s Day.
There are conflicting stories about whether the company really intended to put the spotlight on women or if it was a mistake. Whatever the case is, that marketing campaign started the tradition that’s still popular in Japan these days.
There are four types of chocolate women given on this day, namely:
- Honmei-Choco — Honmei-chocolate is the type of chocolate a woman gives to her significant other to express her love. They’re usually homemade or in the case of store-bought ones, more expensive than the other chocolates on this list.
- Tomo-Choco — Tomo-chocolate is the type of chocolate women give their friends.
- Gyaku-Choco — In recent years, some Japanese men have been practicing Gyaku-choco, which means “reverse-choco.” Here, the men give women chocolates instead of the other way around. However, another tradition that’s more common than gyaku-choco is “White Day,” which is celebrated on March 14. On this day, it’s the men’s turn to give chocolates to women.
- Giri-Choco — Giri-choco, which is also known as “obligation chocolates” is the type of chocolate given to work colleagues. Compared to honmei-choco, these are usually cheaper and more generic.
3. Sugimoto Tea
Tea lovers love tea, so one of the best Valentine’s gifts for them is tea. Here are some of our recommended teas:
- Sakura Sencha: Make your partner’s Valentine’s sweeter with Sakura Sencha. The smooth taste of Sencha is complemented by a hint of sweetness from Sakura petals and leaves.
- Sugimoto Reserve Homare: Your tea lover deserves the best. Our Homare Sencha is the Sugimoto family’s most premium sencha, made from top-grade first flush leaves. That’s why we’ve named it “Homare,” which means “Pride.”
4. Loose Leaf Brewing Accessories
Nothing gets tea lovers more excited than new teaware. If your partner likes brewing loose leaf tea, nothing says “I love you” more than getting them new loose-leaf brewing accessories.
Here are some of our recommendations:
- Kyusu — A kyusu is a traditional teapot used for brewing Japanese green tea. Smaller kyusus, like our Black Pine Kyusu and Gold Leaf Kyusu, are better for brewing higher-end green teas like shincha and gyokuro. If you’re looking for a more versatile all-purpose kyusu, we recommend our Sakura Kyusu.
- Houroku — If your partner loves hojicha, they’ll probably appreciate their very own houroku, which is a roasting pot they can use to make freshly roasted hojicha at home.
- Yuzamashi — A yuzamashi is a special cooling pot to help bring boiled water to a desirable temperature for brewing green tea. The water is then transferred to a kyusu teapot to brew the tea. Check out our Tokoname Yuzamashi, which is designed in the Tokoname style and matches our Tokoname Kyusu.
- Tea Canister — Your tea lover will love a tea canister to keep their loose leaf tea fresh. Check out our “Red Perennial” Washi Canister and “Silver Winter” Washi Tea Canister, which are both made of food-grade steel and wrapped with traditional hand-made Japanese paper called “Washi.”
- Cold Brew Bottle — Bring delicious Japanese green tea to the table every day. If your significant other is interested in trying out cold brewing, they’ll love this Hario Cold Brew Bottle. Easy to use and elegant on the table, your partner will appreciate this wonderful addition to their kitchen.
You can even go the extra mile and give your partner the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift basket for the loose leaf tea lover. Just combine the basic accessories with your partner’s favorite Sugimoto tea, and you’re good to go!
5. Matcha Accessories
If your significant other loves matcha or wants to explore the intricacies of Japanese tea ceremony, you can get them some matcha accessories.
- Chawan — A chawan is a tea bowl used for preparing tea. For us, chawans are as much about form as they are about function. We have a wide range of chawans, from the artisan crafted Shitoroyaki "Ameyuu" chawan by Rito Aoshima to the stylishly minimalist “Snow Scene” chawan.
- Chasen — The humble chasen is an essential part of any Japanese tea ceremony. Treat your tea lover to our chasen made by master craftsman Sabun Kubo.
- Chashaku —The chashaku is a special bamboo scoop for matcha. It’s a basic tool any matcha lover will appreciate.
- Chasen Kusenaoshi — This nifty whisk holder preserves the shape of the chasen and helps to protect its delicate tines since they’re prone to breaking if not properly stored. We currently offer two Kusenaoshi in light blue and Tenmoku black.
Mix and match these matcha accessories for the ultimate matcha lover’s gift basket. You can also opt for our Nodate Matcha Set, which is a great way for beginners to dip their toes into the Japanese tea ceremony. It features smaller versions of matcha accessories, allowing matcha lovers to casually enjoy matcha at home, outside, or on-the-go.
6. Make Matcha Chocolate
Chocolates may be a typical Valentine’s Day gift, but you can make it even better by making your own chocolates for your significant other. Here’s a matcha chocolate recipe from Just One Cookbook.
- 4 tbsp matcha (we recommend either our Organic Daily Matcha or Organic Ceremonial Matcha)
- 14 oz white chocolate
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Step 1: Chop the chocolate
Chop the chocolate into small pieces. This will ensure it’ll melt quickly later on.
Step 2: Slice the butter
Slice the butter into smaller pieces.
Step 3: Heat the cream
In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to an almost-boil. Make sure it doesn’t boil over. When you see bubbles forming, remove the pan from the stove.
Step 4: Mix
Add the chocolate and butter to the saucepan. Mix using a rubber spatula.
Step 5: Melt the chocolate-butter mixture
Return the saucepan to the stove and melt the chocolate and butter.
Step 6: Add matcha
Sift 2 tbsps. of matcha and add it to the mixture.
Step 7: Stir
Stir the mixture until it’s green all the way.
Add the mixture to an 8“x8” baking pan lined with parchment paper. To remove any air bubbles, tap the baking dish on the countertop.
Step 8: Refrigerate
Refrigerate the mixture for at least four hours. You can also leave it in the fridge overnight.
Step 9: Slice
Remove the chocolate from the baking tray by lifting the parchment paper and transferring it to a clean surface.
Run a sharp knife under hot water, then slice the chocolate into four blocks.
Slice each block into nine pieces.
Step 10: Refrigerate
Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsps. of matcha on top of the chocolate pieces.
Refrigerate before serving and serve chilled.
You can also get creative with this recipe and add different toppings such as freeze-dried raspberries, cracked coffee beans, popped brown rice, or candied ginger.
7. Bake Matcha Cookies
A little effort goes a long way in expressing how much you care about your lover, so here’s a simple matcha recipe you can make. If you want to be extra cheesy about it, use heart-shaped cookie cutters!
Sea Salt and Matcha Butter Cookies with Chocolate Filling
- 1 tbsp. Sugimoto Organic Daily Matcha or Organic Ceremonial Matcha
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
Step 1: Mix the ingredients
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and Matcha together until combined.
Using an electric beater or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar Matcha mixture together until the butter is smooth and light in color.
Step 2: Add flour
Add flour and stir until just combined.
Drop in the egg yolks and mix until they are incorporated and the dough comes together.
Step 3: Prepare the dough
Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a thick disc. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Step 4: Cut out into shapes
Preheat oven to 350°F. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use a small cookie cutter to cut shapes from the dough. Place cut shapes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.
Step 5: Bake
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes or until they begin to turn golden at the edges. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
Step 6: Prepare the filling
Prepare the filling. Place the chocolate in a metal or glass heat-proof bowl.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a near boil.
Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool and whip with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Step 6: Add the filling to the cookies
Use a small spatula to spread about two teaspoons of chocolate filling on one cookie. Create a sandwich by adding another cookie on top of it.
This Valentine’s, express your love to your tea-loving significant other by giving them experiences and items they’ll surely love. We hope these gift ideas will help you get started in preparing for Valentine’s.
Want to spoil the tea lover in your life? Check out the wide range of Japanese green tea and tea accessories we have on offer in our shop!
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