How to Reuse Tea Leaves
Reuse and recyclability are hot topics for us and our customers. Through the years, we've listened to feedback and discussed ways that tea could be more sustainable. We've improved how we do business from the farm to your doorstep – but it doesn't have to end when your tea arrives. Read on to learn how you can reuse your loose leaf tea.
Did you know loose leaf tea can be steeped more than once? Unlike other forms of tea, loose leaf tea is high quality and retains its flavor even after its second or third steep. So, while it may seem like a heavier investment to move from bagged tea to loose leaf tea, you wind up saving a lot per cup.
You can re-steep the leaves with a few methods. The one I use (I think it's the simplest way and involves the least amount of dishes) is to put my leaves in an infuser teapot and leave it to steep. To use this method, you'll need to enjoy tea that is steeped for only 2 – 4 minutes. (Which is about an average steeping time for loose leaf).
I primarily use this method on Liver Cleanse tea. Because, as someone who is not partial to licorice, I don't want any more than a medium steep on it. Not only does this method allow me to enjoy this tea, but I'm able to get more uses per teaspoon.
Once my tea has steeped in the infuser teapot, I pour it into a cup, then fill the teapot with hot water again. By the time I've finished my second cup, I've usually been fast enough to pour a 3rd cup or even a 4th cup on some days. For the 3rd and 4th cup, I usually have to give it a little extra steeping time. By the 4th cup, I'm confident I've used the leaves to their capacity and have gotten my money's worth.
Another method of reusing the leaves is pretty similar. You would use an individual infuser to brew the tea in a cup. Then, when the cup is sufficiently steeped, you pull the infuser out and set it aside for your next cup. If I use this method, I put the infuser on a plate to catch any of the steeped tea that spills out. This way, I can pour the spilled tea back into my cup when I'm ready to re-steep.
If you do not want to drink multiple cups in a row but still want to benefit from re-steeping your tea, the following method is for you. You can steep your tea with whatever implement you want (I don't recommend teabags because you'll have to take the wet leaves out of the bag afterward, and that's just a little difficult).
Once you've steeped your first cup or first pot, take the tea leaves out. To do this with an individual infuser, let the steeped tea drain out of your infuser into your cup entirely before setting it aside. (I recommend letting it cool for a few minutes before touching the metal part). Then, open up the infuser and set the leaves out on a paper towel to dry.
You'll want to spread the leaves out, not leave them in a pile. Then, press them with a second paper towel to get the moisture out. Afterward, transfer to a third paper towel (or normal tea/dish towel if you prefer, so that it can be washed and reused) for final drying. The leaves should be thoroughly dried out before you store them and should be reused within a day.
This same method would be used for a teapot, except you'll want to make sure you've completely emptied the teapot first. Then, you can take the infuser basket out and dump it upside down, then let the leaves dry.
If you don't allow the leaves to fully dry, it could form mold and be unsafe to drink. If you don't use it within a day, it will likely go stale once it's been steeped once already. Finally, once you've gotten all the use out of your tea leaves, you can compost them!