I purchased some loose tea from Tea Pots 'n Treasures in Indianapolis when we were there for the Baptist General Convention. It is delicious but I really hate putting the tea in a tea ball to steep. Actually I hate cleaning the tea ball out. So I decided to see if I could make my own tea bags. Because I need another craft/activity...... But anyway.
Doesn't this look great? The tea on the left is Strawberry Chocolate Mint--strawberries, chocolate, mint leaves, fruit and black tea. Canterbury Tea (right) is a mix of black tea, mango and summer flowers. You can see the bits of fruit in the Strawberry variety and the purple bits in the Canterbury tea are flowers. The shop owner mixes her own tea and uses plant material--flowers and herbs--from her garden. (I want a tea shop where I mix tea with flowers from my own garden!)
I made a test bag first--doesn't that look warming and inviting! I love my thrifted teacup and tea pot!
I found instructions on how to sew cloth tea bags--to re-use? Umm no thanks. Then I found instructions to make them with cheesecloth. Sounded stringy and I didn't have cheesecloth and it had to be cut. I decided to use coffee filters--pre-cut and I have a ton of them. (Why do I have a ton of them? Because I saw a cute craft somewhere on a blog to make really pretty flowers with dyed coffee filters, so I bought some. And never made them of course!) Put about a teaspoon in the middle of the coffee filter.
Gather the filter together at the pleated part, shaking the tea down into the little bag you have made. Don't squish the tea! Leave some space for it to expand and so the water can circulate all around it!
The tea is dried, remember, so when it gets wet it will at least double in size. Wet tea on the left--dry on the right. See the difference!
Take string of some kind and wrap around the filled filter--I used embroidery thread because it was pretty and I had several skeins the girls had used for crafts that were kind of wadded up and not usable for sewing. And it's pretty! Wrap an 8 to 10 inch piece of the string around where you have gathered the tea bag, pulling it tight. I wound it at least five times before tying off a knot. Be sure to leave a tail long enough to attach a tag if you want!
If you brewed yourself a cup of tea while making the tea bags, don't forget to drink it so it won't get cold!
I hand-lettered some tags out of mailing labels that I cut to size and folded over the end of the string. They are just soothing words (Rest for instance!) or tea-ish things like cuppa and milk or lemon? (By the way, don't mix milk and lemon in tea or put milk (or cream) in citrus flavored tea--the milk curdles!) My favorite is leaf me alone! Trim the excess off the filter if you like.
Because I had a mason jar sitting on the cabinet waiting to be put away, I stored my cute teabags in it and stuck the label from the original packaging on the jar.
Whatever kind of tea you use--DON'T SQUEEZE THE TEABAG! It makes the tea bitter! And did you know that you can make decaf tea? Each infusion of a tea bag leaches the caffeine--so the first cup has the most and the second has less and your third will have none. So reuse the teabag and lose the caffeine. Just don't keep the teabag--the wet tea will mold. And that will probably hide your delightful tea taste!
Enjoy and happy brewing!