Christmas gifts for tea and coffee connoisseurs

From subscriptions to bespoke blends, tea-inspired perfumes to coffee makers

Asa Eriksson-Ahuja Saicho marquetry tea humidor, £9,950
Asa Eriksson-Ahuja Saicho marquetry tea humidor, £9,950

The marquetry tea humidor

When Swedish designer Asa Eriksson-Ahuja was looking for a present for her tea-loving fiancé, she wanted something more individual and thoughtful than a teapot. After looking into the culture and history of tea, she decided to make something herself. “The Lotusier Tea Humidor was conceived as a one-off gift,” she says. “My now-husband is a teetotaller with a passion for teas and a predilection for beautiful craftsmanship.” The result, in stunning marquetry, is something that looks more like a jewellery box than a kitchen essential. It protects tea from humidity, light, air and odours. There are five basic collections, with design variations within each: art deco-style Astaire comes in Night and Day versions in the Deco range (£9,950); Andalus (£10,250) is inspired by the Moorish architecture of the Alhambra Palace; Indus (£10,950) takes motifs from an ancient civilisation that lived in the Indus Valley of Pakistan and northwest India from 3000 to 1300 BC; Cha-Jing (£10,500) is based on 8th-century Chinese designs; and Japanese-style Saicho (£9,950) has four different colours featuring Eriksson-Ahuja’s folding hand fan “Kyoto” graphics. Personalisation of any of the designs is also available via the website or stockists. lotusier.com. MARK C O’FLAHERTY

Colombian Devoción coffee, available on subscription
Colombian Devoción coffee, available on subscription

The fresh-coffee subscription

The aromatic “farm-fresh” blends from Colombia’s Devoción coffee are sought-after by cold-brew connoisseurs and Michelin-starred chefs alike. The beans, of purest artisanal quality, are handpicked and dry-milled in Bogotá and shipped at 10-30 days old; the industry average is three months to one year, but Colombia is one of the few countries in the world where coffee is a year-round crop. At the Brooklyn warehouse, roastmaster Sergio Muñoz creates both classic and quirky blends. The Citrus coffee has uplifting essences of mandarin and lemongrass, while the Gesha Villa Maria – a “grand cru” grown at 1,650m – hints at orange blossom. Ordering online, choose the grind appropriate for your method of preparation. Two-bag ($34 for 680g) and three-bag subscriptions ($51 for 1kg), or monthly gifts (from $17). devocion.com. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

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The tea-inspired perfume

The fragrance of tea has captivated many perfumers, but it was Jean-Claude Ellena who created the tea accord that became a trendsetter – today known as Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, (£60 for 75ml EDC). Created for men and women alike, the appeal of Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert lies in its ability to present the familiar as novel. The scent given off by tea contains hundreds of aroma molecules, and Ellena spent hours at the Mariage Frères boutique smelling different grades and varieties of Camellia sinensis leaves. He built the composition on the accord of two important materials in the perfumer’s palette – violet and jasmine – with violet being played by the velvety, hazy ionones and jasmine by luminous, lemony hedione. Ionones are naturally present in violets, red wine and berries, while hedione exists in jasmine. Yet in Ellena’s olfactory trompe-l’oeil, or trompe-le nez, violet and jasmine made up the scent of green tea. Ellena blended his tea accord with bergamot and cardamom for a bright, exhilarating opening, then rounded out the composition with woods and orange blossom. It’s a refreshing, airy perfume, but with a soft, tender finish. bulgari.com. VICTORIA FROLOVA

Clockwise from left: Mr Black coffee liqueur, £29.95. Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, £60 for 75ml EDC. Alessi espresso maker, £60
Clockwise from left: Mr Black coffee liqueur, £29.95. Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, £60 for 75ml EDC. Alessi espresso maker, £60

The coffee liqueur

A real eye-opener of a gift is Mr Black, a very smart-looking coffee liqueur (£29.85) from Australia. A blend of Kenyan, Colombian and citrusy coffee from Papua New Guinea gives it a big, complex flavour. I went round dispensing this at a party recently, which is possibly why so many people ended up missing the last train home. 31dover.com. ALICE LASCELLES

Rare Tea Company founder Henrietta Lovell
Rare Tea Company founder Henrietta Lovell

The bespoke tea blend

Tucked away in a hidden location in Marylebone is the tasting room of the Rare Tea Company, an independent outlet that sources the finest teas directly from farmers around the world. It’s the secret spot where founder Henrietta Lovell has created bespoke blends for clients, including world-renowned tastemakers and chefs René Redzepi and Angela Hartnett and top establishments such as Claridge’s and Chateau Marmont. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a Michelin-starred chef or a five-star residence to get your hands on one of Lovell’s custom-made blends (£5,000 for the initial blending, plus a three-month supply) as she creates bespoke brews for individuals too. Three one-on-one sessions are typically required. “It’s like a wine tasting,” she says. “You can’t always do it in one session, because your palate gets full and your tastes and desires change throughout the day.” For non-London-based tea aficionados – which include clients from Los Angeles and China – Lovell can fly out to meet them. rareteacompany.com. MING LIU

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The stovetop espresso maker

This ultra-sharp, cast-aluminium moka-style espresso maker (£60), designed by Michele de Lucchi for Alessi, would delight a discerning coffee drinker. The Pulcina has a six-cup capacity and also comes in a version with a red handle, for extra visual punch. alessi.com. ANNA BEESLEY

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