Tea – Wonderful For The Fashionable

Hello everyone!

So, the results of the great tea versus coffee debate was sadly in favor of coffee.   However, people said that, while they use coffee to stay awake, they use tea to relax.   Maybe we were comparing apples to oranges?

Anyway, while commenting on Lorna’s Tearoom Delights blog (which I do highly recommend, a lovely woman with a lovely blog), she asked how the tea bag earrings were coming along from my blog on re-using your tea.   Honestly, it’s been quite a whirlwind of a few weeks and I plumb forgot about it.   So, with her motivation behind me, I decided to make my first ever tea bag earrings!

Make sure to view the slideshow!   I might make myself a necklace next.   But, that will be a project for another day.

Happy sipping!

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Re-Using Your Tea

Hello fellow tea sippers!   While reading my daily Google Alerts on tea, I came across an article detailing how the organic tea company, Honest Tea, is launching an initiative called “The Great Recycle” on Monday, April 30th, in Time Square, New York, to get people to recycle more.   People can recycle products and receive points towards Broadway plays, tee-shirts and, of course, tea.   All products will be turned into gardening supplies that will then be donated to an urban garden for PS 102, an elementary school in Harlem.   Good for them!

Such A Charming Array!

Such A Charming Array!

This got me thinking, though.   This initiative focuses on how to recycle bottles.   How does one go about recycling tea and tea bags?   That’s why I decided to list a variety of different ways to recycle and repurpose this amazing drink!   Some are silly, some are made up from the top of my head and others are taken from various sources.   Comment and let me know other ways that you can use your spent tea bags and tea!

– The website Apartment Therapy recommends using unused tea bags as air fresheners (shown above).   This is perfect for any stale tea that you might have lying around the house.

– Make a pair of earrings.   I will be trying to do this now by varnishing some tea bags, hanging them on thin chains and connecting them to an earring hook ^_^   If this does work, I will post pictures!

– Composting!   Tea leaves are great for that.   Make sure you check the pH balance of the tea in accordance with the plant, though.   Some teas are more acidic and thus would not be good for certain plants.

–  To treat bags under the eyes.   This is a pretty popular one.   According to eHow, chamomile might be the best tea to use for this method.

– Tie two tea bags together and make yourself a pair of organic nunchucks.

– Reader’s Digest published an article on 22 ways to use tea for the home, beauty and gardening!   Everything from cooling sunburns to reducing razor burn to even getting rid of gray hair.

– Reader’s Digest is not alone – Fox News published an article about 49 ways to re-use tea!   The uses are endless, including cleaning carpets and polishing furniture.

– I referred back in a previous blog about making bath tea.   Why not give this delightful mixture a shot?

– On Facebook, I posted an article that I found on how to make sugar cookies in the shape of tea bags.   So cute!   Maybe take some of those old tea bags and use them as a template to cut your cookies out?

– How does a green tea marinated steak sound?   Get cookin’! (If you have a recipe to share, feel free to do so!)

– Sprinkle the leaves around for a brand new decor in your home that also smells amazing.

– Use it as a perfume.   After all, tea smells great.   Why can’t you smell like tea?

– Some internet sources are saying that tea would be good for dying anything ranging from wood to fabrics.   After all, tea does stain.   Why not?

Do you have any good uses for tea?

Loose Tea Versus Bagged Tea – What’s The Difference?

As some of you might recall from Tea Love’s Facebook, I recently attended a spa event in my downtown Cranford, New Jersey area held by a new store, Artemisia.   They cite themselves as an “Artisan Gift Shop featuring American-made, Fair-trade eco-friendly and organic gifts for Beauty & Home.”   What I found most exciting?   They sell organic tea there!   Of course, I plan on going straight over there after getting my pay check.

While perusing their tea collection (all loose tea), a woman approached and asked what the difference was between loose tea and bagged tea.   The store’s owner, Wendy, explained to her some of the basic reasoning.   Needless to say, I stood nearby bubbling with excitement, barely able to contain my know-it-all-ology of all things tea-related.   I kept my mouth shut or I would have gone on an hour-long tangent about tea sprinkled with plenty of shameless plugs for my blog.

A Variety of Loose Teas

A Variety of Loose Teas

But there are a few reasons to choose a loose tea over a bagged tea.

Bagged teas, granted, are great for expediency and less mess.   After all, what is better than just taking a tea bag, throwing it in some boiling water and running out the door?   And on top of that, you do not need to clean out two tea pots; you only need to wash out your tea mug and you are done.   But the issue is that tea bags contain what is known as tea fannings, or dusts.   What do I mean by this?

Leave the computer for a second and go get a tea bag.   Open the tea bag (you might want to be careful here, so you do not get tea all over your keyboard).   Look inside that mish-mosh of, well, whatever is in there.   Most of the times, you cannot distinguish between the items in the mesh bag.   Brands like Mighty Leaf does have tea bags that are rich in contents and you can tell the difference, true, but most tea bags are just the fannings.   This does allow you a faster brew, but you lose the flavor or get too much flavor, depending on the tea.   Not only that, some teas that can be steeped more than once often cannot be unless it is a loose tea.

Loose tea leaves allow for a richer flavor and allows the tea leaves to actually open.   You are getting the best quality this way.   You can also easily blend your tea, which is an added perk if you care to experiment.   The down side?   The best way to drink loose tea is to throw it into a separate tea pot, allow the tea to brew and pour that into a tea mug.   You make twice the mess and you take up more time this way.   You can throw it into a tea ball but the tea leaves do not have a chance to open, thus robbing it of its flavor.   Honestly, brewing the former is worth it, I do promise you that.   But yes, it is a bit more of a hassle.   I suppose loose tea just keeps you brewing tea the way it was meant to be – slowly and surely, a product to be savored.

Both loose tea and bagged tea do have expiration dates.   After six months, tea tends to lose its flavor and after a year of improper storage (not storing the tea in an air-tight container), it will become stale.   Proper storage is key.

I am fully guilty of throwing in a tea bag into a mug and running around in the mornings but if you want a better cup of tea that you can sit down and enjoy, go after loose.   It will be well worth the effort.

The Power of Tea!

While reading through my Google News Alert for tea the other day (yes, I am that obsessed), I saw one headline that intrigued me:

High-tech tea bags transform dirty water” from ABC News.

…Wait, what?

Photo Courtesy of Pablo Tosco from ABC News, showing women gathering drinking water for their families.

Photo Courtesy of Pablo Tosco from ABC News, showing women gathering drinking water for their families.

I read further and found out that  Professor Eugene Cloete and his team at Stellenbosch University have developed a “tea bag” containing active carbon granules.   These granules can kill even the nastiest germs and bacteria, which Professor Cloete says is the main problem.   He expects this tea bag to pretty much eradicate cholera!

This tea bag, made up of microfibers one hundredth of the width of a human hair (seriously, pluck out a hair and look at it.   Now imagine something one hundredth of the width of that strand!) is placed over the neck of a dirty water bottle in a special cartridge still being created.   When the water is poured out, it will come out clean.

If these tea bags pass safety tests, it will be distributed to nations in need.

One thing that people know about me is that I love tea.   I’m pretty sure that I’ve made that obvious through this blog and my plan to one day write a book about tea.   My second passion that is probably on par with tea is philanthropy.   Yes, I have gone as far as to write about that as well for The Examiner.   The concept that these two passions have finally come together is really exciting to me!

Think about it – the idea of the tea bag has been around since about 1904 when they were first marketed by New York tea and coffee shop merchant Thomas Sullivan.   Now, 108 years later, this simple concept is being developed to save perhaps thousands of people from facing terrible diseases, some of which are fatal.

Personally, I am curious how else the idea of the tea bag or even just tea in general can be used to save lives.   A mesh bag, a “miracle drink,” boiling water – surely that combination can create endless possibilities for usage and inspiration.

It’s nice to hear that something so simple and so small can be used to make a world of a difference.

Tea Ceremony Versus Expedience

Hello, fellow tea lovers!

I wanted to do a quick post with an interesting article I just read to follow up with my blog regarding British tea ceremony.   Apparently, the British are moving away from the traditional teapot and moving more towards the tea mug, which is causing a bit of a disturbance.

What are your thoughts on the issue?   Is tea best served in a teapot, when the leaves can open and the tea made with a higher quality, or a tea mug, where a tea bag can be thrown in for efficiency and expediency?


Source Credit:

Scotsman.com.   “Tea trend makes mug of tradition.”   Scotsman.com, 4 Feb 2012.   Web.   6 Feb 2012.