Sips and Steeps


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Did you know? Tea bags are more than one-hit wonders. If you’ve been tossing yours after brewing your afternoon cuppa, you’ve been missing out on a bevy of healthy, cost-efficient, and fun ways to get more value out of your tea bags. But don’t worry—we’re here to put that to an end. 

Read on for ideas on how to give your tea bags a second life. (These tricks work with loose tea leaves, too.)

1. Flavor your food.

Tea lends great flavor to your cup—so why not your dinner plate? After you’ve brewed your cup of tea, hang the pre-brewed bag into a pot of water to flavor it before adding your pasta, rice, oatmeal, or other grains. (We’re not ones to reveal our reality TV habits, but a little birdie told us that Bravo’s Top Chef recently featured a tea-inspired foodie challenge. Hmm…)

2. Get smoky.

Flavored grains aren’t the only creative culinary use for tea leaves: Mix dried leaves with uncooked rice and use as a smoking agent for meat or fish.  

3. Nourish your garden.

Pre-brewed tea bags, especially those with a green tea base, are high in nitrogen, which helps fight off pests. Same trick works for houseplants—add brewed loose leaves directly to their water, or break open tea bags.

4. Take years off your face.

Okay, we’re not making any promises—but tea does contain revitalizing tannins that soothe tired eyes, making you feel (and look) more awake. Re-dampen tea bags in warm water and then place them on your face for twenty minutes.

5. Make a sachet.

Want your house to smell good, minus the chemicals of a plug-in or room spray? Get all DIY with a Pinterest-worthy project by stuffing your next homemade sachet with scented newspaper. Just spread wet tea onto newspaper, let dry, crumple and use as stuffing. Voila, your friends want to come over again.

6. Build a better compost pile.

Let your green thumb show: Enhance your compost by pouring a few cups of strong brewed tea onto the pile, which will hasten decomposition and create an acid-rich compost. Or just sprinkle with brewed tea leaves.

7. Polish wood.

Tea is an excellent natural alternative for store-bought cleaning liquids. After brewing your tea, re-brew your tea bag in warm water and then moisten a rag; use it for polishing hardwood floors or wood furniture (note: this process intentionally leaves some natural color behind, so be sure to spot-test first).

8. Make glass sparkle.

Re-brew your tea bag in cold water and place in spray bottle; use as you would glass cleaner. 

9. Reduce humidity.

Dry pre-brewed tea leaves in the sun and then place them in damp corners to absorb extra moisture.

10. Sleep soundly.

Practitioners of Chinese folk medicine believe that sleeping on tea leaves reduces blood pressure, relieves insomnia, and helps headaches. (Tea leaves in your pillow can get damp, so make sure to sun-dry it frequently.) Bonus: Your hair will smell great. 


Happy brewing!




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