Before moving in with my boyfriend, I used tea bags whenever I made tea mainly because they were simple and mess-free. But Sam likes loose teas because he can create his own blends depending on his mood or the season. The nice thing about gifting custom tea blends is that they last a very long time, and people love that you put thought into a gift they'd like in particular. For my mom, a black tea-lover, we'll use an Assam tea and orange peel. For my sister who loves herbal tea, we'll do chamomile flowers, a little lemongrass and lavender.
To Get Started: If you have a dedicated herb or tea shop in your town, this is a great place to get started. If not, you're still in luck. All you need for this project are loose-leaf teas which you can find in the bulk aisle at many grocery stores. Then you'll need small little cloth tea bags which I've found at our local supermarket (they're often kept in the bulk spice aisle). If you can't get ahold of them, you can make your own little bundles with cheesecloth tied up in baker's twine or a thin natural jute twine. Happy gifting!
(Image: Megan Gordon)