Valentine’s Day is coming up. You didn’t forget, did you? Whether you did or not, we can help. Flowers and chocolate are unimaginative. Furthermore, cut flowers look lovely when their first purchase them, but inevitably begin to wilt and fade, until you have a vase full of rotting plant matter, which needs to be somewhat unpleasantly disposed of. It seems a little unpleasantly symbolic, especially if your relationship is new.
My own significant other is allergic to chocolate, which meant getting creative. Well, not that creative. Everyone in my own life gets tea as a gift. But in this particular instance, tea is actually a wonderful choice. A cup of tea is, first and foremost, an excuse to take a few minutes for yourself. Tea symbolizes a small, quiet respite from the the everyday. I think that we tend to use chocolate for the same reason- it should force the eater to stop whatever they’re doing, and to savor. Tea manages the same trick, but without the guilt. It’s also a more complex taste. Rather than something purely sweet, and simple, it has a pleasant bitterness, and a complex combination of flavors. Draw from that metaphor what you will.
Tea is also a powerful symbol of our most valuable resource- time. Tea itself is time-consuming to grow, prepare, transport, and package. It steeps slowly, infusing its delicate flavor and complicated texture into a simple cup of life sustaining water. Tea is something to share, as well. A tea pot doesn’t always make sense if you’re just one person, enjoying a cup of tea alone. But if you’re steeping tea for two people, they make perfect sense. Tea is the perfect excuse to spend a few minutes together. Furthermore, making someone else a cup of tea is one of the most pure and unobtrusive acts of affection possible.
But what tea should you get them? If you’re still going for the flowers-and-chocolates vibe, I recommend Parisor Florence. Paris is a black tea with caramel, bergamot and vanilla, which gives it a sweet, but not overly-complicated flavor. Florence is a black tea with vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and almond. It’s a bit more complicated, but also rather sweet.
If you’re ready to break with that tradition, though, I recommend This is our most popular green tea. It’s made with real, dried rose petals, and looks lovely. It has a delicate floral flavor, and the cherry offsets the vegetably flavor which tends to turn people off from green tea. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, I recommend both this tea, and Florence- flowers and chocolates.
I would like to point out that Valentine's day was originally about the passage of secret notes, more so than lovers, though its evolution makes perfect sense. If you want to make this gift extra cute, write them a note, on a small bit of paper, and hide it in the tea. Months from now, when they're making themselves a cup of tea, they'll find it. You can take credit for that one. You definitely thought of it yourself.