Browsing Tag


Gift Guides

11 Creative Combos to Craft
DIY Gift Baskets

November 20, 2017

We know it’s the little things that count, but sometimes you want to show someone you care big. Putting together a DIY gift basket is a great way to combine an assortment of cool little gifts with a whole lot of love. Creating that gift basket around someone’s hobby, favorite food, or most-loved mythical creature adds another level of personalized charm. We even included gift basket ideas for kids and teens, because we know they can be even harder to shop for than that unicorn lover on your list.


Taco Lover

Whether they have a soft spot for soft shells or prefer a crispy crunch, they’ll love these taco-themed goodies.

Tricerataco Holder – $12 | Salsa Grow Kit – $12 | Taco and Hot Pepper Stamp Kit – $12.00 | Trio of Travel-Sized Hot Sauces – $15.00 | Seedsheet Taco Kit – $35.00Taco Socks – $10.00

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Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Scout Urling

December 22, 2016

Scout Urling - UncommonGoods

Part of what makes our products extra special is that each has a real story behind it. We work with so many inspiring artists and makers, and we love that our customers get a chance to meet them on the blog. One of our newest is Scout Urling, the creator of our Cold Weather Comfort Tea Gift Set, Good Morning Tea Gift Set, and Chocolate Lover Hot Chocolate Gift Set – all fresh additions to our assortment. Scout has always followed her own path, starting as a creative child and ending up as an entrepreneur. Now, she has her own business sending soothing teas and delicious hot chocolate sets all over the country. All of the ingredients she uses are sourced from local farmers, and she supports independent artistry with the packaging of her products as well. Read on to learn from Scout about becoming a business-owner, the goddess Athena, and the power of animal puns.

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Gift Guides

Infuse-a-Palooza With Our New Tea Infuser

April 18, 2016

I’m generally a coffee-drinker, but following a string of over-caffeinated mornings that left me shaking at my desk, I’ve been looking for a lighter replacement. Enter our new Citrus and Ginger Tea Infuser – a unique to-go bottle with exchangeable attachments that allow you to enliven your teas with tang and spice. The infuser includes:

• Steeping basket – perfect for loose leaf or bagged teas
• Reamer – get those juices flowing!
• Grater – a two-piece attachment that lets you flavor your tea while keeping the grated fibers locked away, (no floaters!)
• Bottom compartment – anything you can’t juice or shred can be chopped up and placed in here.

It’s called the Citrus and Ginger Tea Infuser Bottle, but don’t let the name limit you – a whole produce aisle of fruits, roots, and veggies awaits! I journeyed to my local grocery store and put five flavor fusions to the test. Continue Reading…

The Uncommon Life

Get a little TEApsy with Sashee Chandran

December 23, 2015

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

I really enjoy traditional black, white, oolong, and green teas, but I’m also drawn to creative and novel interpretations of the tea experience. My fascination with blending tea with spices from around the world has led me to some delicious creations. I love the element of surprise in blending a traditional tea (like Earl Grey) with a complementary but unusual companion (like rose petals or raw cacao).

That’s probably why I so enjoy mixing Tea Drop blends with a variety of different spirits to create tea cocktails. Tea cocktails give a new spin on teatime, and would also be a unique addition to your upcoming holiday gatherings. They will greatly intrigue your guests, and lucky for you, they are simple to create.

I get so much inspiration from my traveling bartender friends Mint and Mirth from Portland, Oregon. They are a rad girl duo who come up with some of the most unique (and delicious!) cocktail creations. I often look to them for cocktail ideas. We even collaborated on a new tea-infused cocktail they introduced at a recent wedding, called Lady May Gimlet. It was a huge hit!

I wanted to share some of my favorite tea-infused cocktails for the holiday season. These are easy to prepare, general crowd pleasers, and are sure to make a sophisticated, boozy addition to any gathering. All of these recipes can be made using the Tea Drop Sampler. I hope you enjoy them while creating some unforgettable holiday memories! And please be sure to sip (and drop) responsibly.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

Lady May Gimlet

Mint & Mirth share the cocktail recipe that incorporates Tea Drops’ popular Sweet Peppermint from the Tea Drop Sampler.

● 2 oz Aria Portland Dry Gin or other dry gin
● 1 sweet peppermint Tea Drop
● 1/2 oz mixed berry juice
● dash of aromatic bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake well, then strain over ice and garnish with citrus.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Sweetlife Photography

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Photograph: Myles Katherine Wedding

Fresh Cut Cocktail

I was so inspired by Mint and Mirth’s original Fresh Cut cocktail and loved the mixture of gin, Chartreuse French liqueur, and lime. I felt that our Citrus Ginger Tea Drop would make a great addition for those who found the lime juice in the original recipe to be a bit tart. Below is my adapted version of Mint and Mirth’s original Fresh Cut cocktail.

● 1 ½ oz. Gin
● ¼ oz. green chartreuse French liqueur
● ¾ oz. of tea from the Citrus Ginger Tea Drop
● Dash rhubarb bitters from Brooklyn Bitters
● Optional: Splash of Tonic

Prepare a Citrus Ginger Tea Drop, allow to cool and set aside. Shake ingredients over ice and strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon and enjoy.

Tea Drop Sampler - UncommonGoods

Vanilla Tea Hot Toddy

Whenever I sip on this hot toddy, I’m instantly transported to sitting by a crackling fire wrapped in my wool blanket, catching up with some of my favorite people. If I could bottle up our Vanilla White Tea Toddy that describe it to people, that’s the mood/place I would describe. I love the blend of cinnamon, vanilla, and cream in Rumchata — it is incredibly delicious and comforting at the same time. Below is my favorite recipe for a winter toddy made with our popular Vanilla White Tea Drop, with a deelish Rumchata infusion.

● 1 Vanilla White Tea Drop
● 2 TB of Rumchata

Prepare 1 Vanilla White Tea Drop using 6 oz of boiling water in your favorite mug. Add Rumchata and mix. Enjoy!

The Uncommon Life

It’s Teatime: 10 Uncommon Facts About Tea

September 22, 2015

PicMonkey Collage

We’re saying “So long, Summer,” which means it’s almost time to trade in those nice, cold pitchers of iced tea for steamy cups of the hot stuff. For centuries tea has been one of the world’s favorite drinks, and for millennia it has had a central place in the daily lives and culture of people throughout the world. With the hot, relaxing brew in mind, we’ve put together 10 uncommon facts you didn’t know about tea. Enjoy!


Tea is perhaps the single best traveled beverage in the world. It was allegedly discovered in about 2737 BC by the second emperor of China after tea leaves blew into his boiling water. It since spread West by way of Turkish traders and East to Japan, and was a major catalyst for the development of trade relations between East and West. Today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage worldwide, after water, and is cultivated in 42 countries, mainly in in Asia, Africa, South America, and around the Black and Caspian Seas – all well represented in the Tea from Around the World Set.



You might think that the need to travel with tea in a rush would be a uniquely 21st Century phenomenon, but it turns out that the scramble to bring tea to market way back in the way back was even more intense than your morning rush. After the British East India Company lost its monopoly on the tea trade with China in 1834 following adjustments to its charter, the tea trade suddenly became a free-for-all. Where there was once no rush, British Company merchants now had to compete with American merchants. Favoring newly designed, swift Tea Clippers, merchants in the 1860s would face off on an ultimate race around the world – beginning in China, ships would set out together and cross the Indian Ocean, round the Cape of Good Hope, and up the Atlantic to be pulled by tugboat up the River Thames. First to unload their cargo ashore wins! | Tea to Go


It seems that accidents played a major part in tea-related innovation over the years. The tea bag was originally “invented” by New York coffee merchant Thomas Sullivan in 1904. Though he originally intended them to be single-serving samples of tea, his customers found it easier to brew the tea while still sealed in the small, porous bags. The idea clearly took off – in the US today, the vast majority of tea is brewed using tea bags. The Tea Bag Holding Mug has you covered.



Despite thousands of varieties across regions and cultures, tea all comes from the same plant, and there are really only four varieties – black, oolong, white, and green – as determined by oxidation time after harvesting. Though black has historically been the most popular, the popularity of green tea is growing much faster, likely due to its widely revered health properties. Green tea can benefit weight loss, longevity, skin care, heart disease, cholesterol, tooth decay, depression … you get the idea. | Green Herbal Tea Kit 



Tea leaf reading, or Tasseomancy (cup reading), is thought to have originally originated in China, and began to grow in popularity in Europe when it was adopted by nomadic Romany people in the 18th century, to whom it is regarded as an art form. Unlike some other “mancies,” even those who are not gifted with clairvoyance – like you – are able to read the symbols. Pro tip: use loose leaf tea rather than tea cut from tea bags – the coarser cut “reads” better. And if you see a black cat in the bottom of your cup, don’t take it personally. | Tea Leaf Reading Kit



Despite being mostly water, tea is actually one of the least water-intensive drinks, requiring less water per liter than coffee, beer, wine, or most fruit juices. To put things in perspective, 1,120 liters of water go into producing a single liter of coffee, whereas only 120 liters go into one liter of tea. The Tea Towel is still there for you during those rare spills mid-brew, packing more tea facts to boot.



It’s easy to think of iced tea as an auxiliary form of the beverage, but in the United States it’s actually the main attraction – approximately 85% of tea served in the US is iced! Cookbooks dating back to the 19th century indicate that Americans have been drinking the refreshing, iced beverage for a long time. But no American loves iced tea as much as Georgia state representative John Noel, who introduced legislation on April Fool’s Day in 2003 mandating that all restaurants serve sweet tea in “an attempt to bring a little humor to the Legislature.” Seeing as the bill didn’t pass, the Iced Tea Gift Set would make a great consolation present for poor ol’ John.


PicMonkey Collage

The relaxing, versatile aroma of tea makes it a natural additive to soaps – but did you know that you can use it to clean your house as well? Less harsh than cleaning chemicals, the tanic acid in tea can be used to clean and add a luster to weathered hardwood floors. | Tea Party Soap Set 



It’s easy to imagine why tea appears so frequently in 18th and 19th century English literature – from T.S. Eliot to C.S. Lewis and Charles Dikens to Jane Austen, tea came forth as a vital expression of the times and a familiar, daily act that characters engage in. Yet in novels by famous female writers like Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell, tea becomes something more: a symbol of female power – and appropriately so. When it was first available in England, tea was only available in coffee houses, which only men were allowed to enter, as the smoke and noise was not fit for a lady. Finally, in 1717, the Twining family opened a tea shop that allowed women – a notable step in the social advancement of English women at the time. | Novel Teas


Which came first: the teacup or the teapot? The teacup. Though tea has been consumed for thousands of years, the teapot has only had a spot on the table for about 500 years – largely due to changes in the way tea is served. Instead of infusing the leaves, Chinese tea-drinkers originally ground the leaves into a paste that was then dried and made into cakes. The cakes were boiled with salt, rice, ginger, orange peel, and spices, making a kind of tea soup foreign to what we’re familiar with today. As tea brewing became a more refined process, the first “official” teapot appeared in about 1500 in Jiangsu, China. | Glass Teapot with Stand

See the Collection | UncommonGoods Tea Gifts

The Uncommon Life

Summer on Ice – Sashee Chandran’s Iced Tea Tips

August 12, 2015

I love summer, not just because it’s travel season or light and bright into the evening, but also because it’s iced tea season! There’s nothing more enjoyable to me than grabbing my favorite iced tea blend and walking around to explore a new city on a warm summer day.


When I founded Tea Drops, I wanted to make the ritual and preparation of tea easy for others without sacrificing the loose leaf tea experience. Sure, you could use a tea bag, but tea connoisseurs the world over agree that loose leaf preparation is more flavorful – some go so far as to condemn the tea bag as one of the worst inventions of the 20th century! The aim is to make loose leaf teatime easy to prepare whether  at the office, on a camping trip, or simply relaxing at home. Simply drop a Tea Drop, stir, and sip a delicious cup of tea anytime, anywhere.

But – you can also make a delicious brew served over ice! It’s incredibly easy and fun to make an iced tea blend just for yourself or to serve at your next summer bash… or infused into your favorite summer cocktail!

Reach up to iced tea heaven by following these simple steps:

1. Add a Tea Drop of your choice and 3 tbsp boiling water in a cup until the drop dissolves. Stir.

PicMonkey Collage

2. Add a half cup of ice to a 8-10 ounce glass. Pour the mixture over ice.

3. Fill the remainder of the glass with cold water. Enjoy!

PicMonkey Collage

Makes 1 serving.

Another deliciously fun idea is to mix different varieties of tea together. Blend a Citrus Ginger Tea Drop with a Sweet Peppermint Tea Drop to create the ultimate refresher, or a Sweet Peppermint with Rose Earl Grey to create a unique, delicious twist. You can put your culinary imagination to the test and create a range of creative iced tea blends.


Right photo by Diego Jimenez/@dejota3

We’ve been playing around with some delicious & refreshing mashups. Here are some of our favorite iced tea blends, all of which can be made with the teas in our Tea Drops Sampler Box.

  • Citrus Ginger & Sweet Peppermint: Ultra refreshing! Follow the steps above using these two Tea Drops.
  • Vanilla White Coconut: Follow the steps above with a Vanilla White Tea Drop and add a splash of coconut milk for a delicious, creamy treat.
  • Rose Earl Grey London Fog: After following steps 1 & 2 above with a Rose Earl Grey Tea Drop, substitute water for milk in step 3.
  • Minty Rose Earl Grey: Spruce up your Rose Earl Grey Iced Tea by mixing in a Sweet Peppermint Tea Drop. Follow the steps above using these two Tea Drops.

I’m excited to see what Iced Tea creations you’ll come up with next – there’s just so many!  Make sure to share your iced tea creation on social with #TeaDrops so that I can try your recipe too.

Maker Stories

This Just In-spiration: Meet Sashee Chandran

April 20, 2015

Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the person behind the product.

What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Sashee Chandran, the maker behind our new Tea Drop Sampler.

Sashee Chandran | UncommonGoods

Photo by Diego Jimenez/@dejota3

When did you know you wanted to work in tea?
I was always drawn to the intimate and communal nature of tea, and its ability to strengthen the bonds of friends and strangers alike. Throughout my life, I have fantasized about owning a tea shop. I even kept a little booklet on hand for when I felt inspired to write down what my tea shop would serve. Later, through my natural inclination to make, share and talk tea with others, I came across many who found the traditional tea rituals too daunting or time consuming. With these challenges to overcome, Tea Drops was born. It would be the first tea to create an all encompassing experience with the rich taste and tradition of loose tea, and a pinch of raw organic sugar for a no-fuss preparation.

What was the most exciting thing about becoming an entrepreneur?
The most exciting part is knowing that on a daily basis, I am tackling the challenge of making tea more accessible and enjoyable to people, and little by little I’m making progress on that goal. It isn’t about meeting one huge goal, it’s really about accomplishing small victories along the way. My team and I use the hashtag #smallvictories a lot, to celebrate something as simple as an easy craft fair set up to gaining a new retail account.

What does your typical day in your workspace look like?
I’m incredibly lucky to work out of a certified kitchen in the beautiful hills of Los Gatos, California. We peer out our kitchen window and have a stunning view of deer, trees, and other natural beauty as we grind our organic tea and spices. We are embraced by the delcious scents of tea and spices all day. We also have a packaging area where we prep and wrap all of our teas by hand so they are ready to be shipped and enjoyed by you!

Shashee Chandran | UncommonGoods

Photo by Diego Jimenez/@dejota3

Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
I take my Khordz Mug everywhere with me. I drink an insane amount of tea per day (10-15 cups), so it’s critical I have a portable tea cup that can go anywhere with me, no matter what the activity. It’s like my blanky.

Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think he/she would say?
“Oooooh. How coool. YUMMMY, too.”

We actually have a lot of kids who come up to our booth at various craft shows, and we always demo how our Tea Drops dissolve in hot water. They are both amazed, intrigued, and love the taste as well. It’s wonderful to see parents sharing the love of tea so early on.

Sashee Chandran | UncommonGoods

Right photo by Diego Jimenez/@dejota3


What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
I actually have many. Here are a few of my favorites:

“As you walk, the way appears.”Rumi, Persian poet and Sufi master

Fear is obviously a huge factor that can hold you back. I always love being reminded that I do not need to have all of the answers when I continue on my journey. I have to have faith that guidance will appear the more entrenched I become in my path/work.

“I don’t want no mediocre.” –T.I., Rapper

My small team and I often blast this song when prepping for a show or order, because quite frankly, we can’t tolerate medicore.

“Nothing in this world will take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not. Education will not. Persistence and dedication alone are omnipotent.” – President Calvin Coolidge

It’s pretty self-explanatory – persistence is key. Especially when I feel intimidated, I always have to remember that.

Video courtesy of Ezra Productions

Buy the Tea Sampler | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

Max’s Mug: Nothing But Net

September 23, 2014

Max and the Mug with a Hoop | UncommonGoods

Max is a budding entrepreneur who created a slam-dunk design: The Mug With a Hoop™. It’s no surprise that he’s a fan of playing with his food—after all, he was just 8 years old when he stepped out on the court to get in the design game!

The young inventor presented his product at the Babson College Center for Entrepreneurship, and in the Product Pitch at Fenway contest—so he could then tell his friends he had “pitched” at Fenway Park! Max’s mug was named one of the ten finalists in the contest, encouraging him to stay in the game.

Great publicity soon followed, including stories in the Boston Herald and Boston Business Journal. Max and his team (mom, dad and brother) then mounted a successful crowd-funding campaign, and their full court press put the mug into production.

The Mug With A Hoop™ isn’t just an addictively fun product; it also serves as a model success story and celebrates the creative focus found on the upside of dyslexia, a learning disability that’s affected Max from an early age.

Max (chief creator for MAX’IS Creations, now 10 years old), his brother Sam (13 years old and VP of product testing), and their mom, Jen (chief creator’s creator) took some time out from juggling school, entrepreneurship, and sports fandom to give us more detail on their uncommon venture, insight into the inspiration for the mug, and a glimpse of what’s next.

Mug with a Hoop | UncommonGoods

Q.) What was it like starting a business at a young age?

It was hard but I got it done. I like that I get to make money by doing my job. Other kids make money by doing chores, but I sell mugs. It’s more fun than doing chores, but it’s hard because I have to do a lot of work. And I’m proud to be donating 5 percent of the profits from MAX’IS Creations to charities that support learning disabilities like dyslexia because I’m dyslexic.

I made my original mug in art class at school. But then to turn it into a product to market, I had to work with design people to turn it into a prototype for a mug we could manufacture. I had to decide on what it would look like, what shape it should be, what color, and how big it should be. Then I had to decide where to make them. We had to talk to lots of factories until we found the right one. And now I do a lot of work going places to sell my mugs.

I’m very happy for Max and his business. He’s very entrepreneurial, and our whole family is helping him succeed. I like seeing the reaction of the people buying the mugs. Everyone seems to really like it. And it’s great to see places like UncommonGoods wanting to carry it.

Painting Mugs

Q.) Your company motto is “The world would be better if we could play with our food.” Did you get in a little trouble?

Sometimes…I like playing around but this is a good way to have fun at the table! I really like to play with my iPad at the table. But my parents don’t like me to do that because then I’m not part of the conversation. The Mug With a Hoop™ is a way for kids to play and be part of the conversation. It’s something you can do as a family. And the world is better if you can play with your food because it’s more fun!

Play with Your Food | UncommonGoods

Sam (left) and Max (right) play with their food.

Q.) What came first, the motto or the mug?

The mug came first. As our family connected with other entrepreneurs, we quickly learned the adage that successful products solve a problem. Looking at Max’s invention, we asked ourselves what problem it solved, and realized that Max’s value proposition in his own words was rather simple but true: “it makes eating fun.” And for many families, the dinner table is not seen as a place for fun. So we came up with the tagline “the world would be better if we could play with our food” to address the problem Max’s product solved and how his way of looking at things could make a difference in the world.

Q.) Now that The Mug With a Hoop™ is doing so well, do you have something new in the works?

Yes, my baseball mug—The Mug With a Glove™—is in production and should be available next spring! I 3D printed a prototype this spring at Fenway Park. The Mug With a Glove™ has baseball colors: the bowl is white in the shape of a baseball, with red baseball stitching with a brown glove attached that you throw the marshmallows into. It’s fun because you can throw marshmallows into the glove. It’s going to be great for small kids and big kids—any kind of kid, because it’s easier to get it in than The Mug With a Hoop™, which may be harder for little kids. I also have mugs coming out for football, hockey and soccer!

Q.) It must have been cool to visit Fenway a couple of times related to promote and develop your products.

I’m a Red Sox fan and love going to Fenway Park! I was excited to be able to go to Fenway to pitch my Mug With a Hoop™. And then they invited me back and I got to 3D print my baseball mug. It was fun to be on the Jumbotron. My favorite player is Dustin Pedroia, because he’s really good in the field.

Max "Pitching" His Design

Max at Fenway Park with
The Mug With a Hoop ™ and The Mug With a Glove ™.

Q.) Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Don’t go too big at first because you may not sell that many. Keep it simple. And then if it’s good keep doing it. Also, you should get other people to help you. If you’re a kid, you don’t really know what to do, so get someone to help you. My mom and dad are helping me, and my brother Sam and his friends Bobby and Marc also helped me a lot.

Starting a business takes time and effort. If you put in time and effort you’ll have a good product and will be able to sell more and more until you make enough money to create another product and you keep building up.

You don’t really need to be an expert. If you want to be successful you just need to put time and effort in.

When Max made his first product, we chose to take a lot of time out of our regular activities as a family to try to make this product successful. And if you put in enough work and effort you will have a great product and it will be able to sell well.

Max and his team have every reason to be proud of their record so far. You can become a fan by picking up a Mug With a Hoop™ for yourself or for your favorite sports fan.