We, tea lovers, tend to accumulate many different kinds of teas over time. Sometimes we forget about the teas we have in our pantry. Old (or poorly stored) teas normally have a flat taste and lose their aroma over time. Whichever the case, there are many amazing ways to reuse old and used teas.
Here are some practical & creative ways to revive & reuse old teas that we’ve tried (there are more ideas out there!):
1. Add fruits, herbs, roots & flowers to infuse flavor
- Old, stale dry teas normally tend to have a flat taste and lose its aroma. You can still make a great Cold Brew or regular Iced Tea by doubling the tea dosage (teabag or loose-leaf) and add your favorite fruits or herbs of choice. You can check out “How to make Cold Brew Ice Tea” here.
- We recommend infusing tea with fresh fruits, such as berries, orange wedges, cinnamon or herbs with your hot pot of tea. It’s very refreshing and it can also be a dessert tea. Garnish with mint & serve.
2. Roast your Tea
- If you have old Japanese Kukicha (Twig Stem tea) or even Sencha at home, you can roast them in a pan until they turn golden brown. Put the dry tea in a skillet, then toss and swirl it frequently in low heat, until you reach your desired roasting level. Be careful not to burn it! Roasted Kukicha reminds us of Hojicha–very earthy, nutty & chocolatey.
3. Grind & pulverize your tea and add to your cooking
The ideas here are endless, and we’re big home cooks ourselves and love to experiment with cooking with tea.
You can grind dry tea leaves and add salt & spices and use a dry rub for meat/fish, or use as a seasoning to savory dishes, such as Edamame. You can find the recipe here.
- For desserts, you can grind or pulse Early Grey or Jasmine tea and mix with flour for ‘tea-infused’ crust or cookies. Matcha green tea is another great example for: cakes, pastries, chia pudding, smoothies, etc. You can also use ‘brewed tea’ to flavor the base of sorbets, granitas and ice cream. Poached pears or apples with a smoked black tea is also yummy with honey.
- You can steep Roasted teas such as Lapsang Souchong or Hojicha and use as the broth base to Soups or Ramen, or use to poach fish. We do this frequently for Carrot or Vegetable soups.
4. Neutralize Household Odors
Dry tea leaves are highly absorbent and attract odor from anything it comes in contact with, which is why it’s important to store them in an opaque, airtight container, away from strong odors or spices.
- You can sprinkle dried tea leaves in a cat litter box to absorb the odor.
- Dry tea leaves are also good at absorbing fridge odors, just like baking soda. Use for about 3 days. This applies to old smelly shoes as well, by using a dried old teabag.
- Carpet is another good use for dried tea leaves. Let them sit for 20 minutes and vacuum. This is great if you have a flavored, scented tea bag.
5. Do it yourself (DIY) Skincare There are several ways to incorporate tea into your beauty routine. Some ideas include:
- Facial Spritzer by using a steeped Green Tea. Just brew in room temp. for a few hours, strain & transfer to a spray bottle. Spritz away for an anti-oxidant pick-me-up. This can also be converted to a Toner if you add lemon & honey & apply with a cotton ball. Refrigerate for 1 week.
- As you’re probably aware, using Tea bags soaked in cold water over your eyes for 15-20 mins helps de-puff the eyes due to its caffeine and ease in swelling.
- We also use Green or Herbal Tea to clean our fur baby’s eyes. Just damp a cotton ball with tea and wipe gently on your cat’s eyes.
- Last, is our favorite Green Tea Sugar Scrub with Olive Oil. We’re inspired by Jessica’s recipe from Living Chic on her website. Do check it out at http://livingchiconthecheap.com/green-tea-sugar-scrub/
There are many other ways of using stale or used Tea leaves that we’ve come across but have yet to try them. They range from using teas to feed your garden, by using damp tea leaves around the base of your plants to fertilize the soil and deter pests. Teas have also been used for dyeing paper, cloth & easter eggs; and renewing wood surfaces using brewed tea bags. We’ve also come across Teas as cleaning products, removing grease, minimize streaks & dust, using brewed tea.
What has been your experience? Do share and tell us and tag #yvetteteas!
Written by Yvette A.
Cover Photo by Tijana Tix
Posted on January 2018