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  • Writer's pictureMarielle

3 DIY Ways to Use Tea at Home

Updated: May 19

Hi friends! As you can imagine, all things tea are on my mind pretty much all hours of the day; and to be honest, sometimes I even dream about it. Lately I’ve been brainstorming alternative ways to use my massive (and constantly growing) tea collection. Because let’s face it, sometimes we get excited, buy waaaay more than we can possibly use in a reasonable amount of time, and end up with…stale tea (dun dun DUNNNN!!) Today I am going to share some of the ways I have been using tea. They work extremely well with teas you may have tried but didn’t love, that have been around a little too long, or just ones you happen to have a surplus of. These ideas also work well if you’ve already steeped the tea and are looking for a way to re-purpose before throwing it away or composting.

Tea in Crafts

Herbs, flowers, and berries are some of the very first materials people used when humankind began to develop their creative skills in addition to survival skills. You can experiment with all sorts of plant materials (yes, including tea,) to create rich, natural pigments easily.

How to extract pigment from natural materials:

In a small saucepan, simmer ½ cup white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen material over a medium-low heat for roughly an hour, monitoring closely and reducing the heat if it begins to reduce down to far. Strain the plants from the mixture and allow to cool; the remaining liquid should be deep in color and very concentrated. You can use this to dye fabrics, yarn, or small wood workings, or add a thickening agent (found at craft stores,) to use as ink. Try different materials for custom color combinations. Some plants, like beets or black tea, will produce colors similar to the material, but others, such as red onions, will produce a more unexpected color. One of the favorite ways I've been able to use tea was as a natural stain for a pair of wooden earrings my love had carved for me out of an oak branch. I soaked them in a potent mix made with black tea leaves and the result was a gorgeous chocolate brown that really complimented the natural wood grains.

Tea in Beauty

It’s not uncommon to go to the drugstore, the body boutiques and the makeup stores and see a ton of tea-infused products. This is because many of the health benefits we’ve talked about in previous posts can also be enjoyed when applied directly to the skin. All those antioxidants, vitamins, and tannins can work topically to reduce inflammation and redness, shrink the appearance of pores, and even provide relief to common skin irritations like eczema.

How to make an herbal green tea toner:

1 teaspoons green tea leaves (bagged or loose) 1 tsp calendula flowers ½ tsp chamomile flowers

8 oz boiling water

Mix ingredients together and steep in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain out the tea and let it cool completely. Keep in a sealed bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. To use, soak a cotton pad in the liquid and dab over your face after cleansing but before moisturizing. The caffeine and tannins in the green tea will reduce redness, shrink pores and give skin a firmer appearance, while the chamomile and calendula will soothe irritation and provide a calming effect. This mixture can also be placed in a small spray bottle and misted over the face on hot days as a refresher.

Tea in Food

Although it may seem strange at first to incorporate tea into your cooking, realizing that tea has the same potential as any herb or spice to make or break a dish will really allow you to flex your creativity in the kitchen. You can start off small by incorporating matcha green tea into cakes and cookies, or fruity green teas into frostings and salad dressings. Or, you can get adventurous and combine the rich, complex flavors of pu’erh and black tea blends into savory soups, marinades, and gravies.

The hint of bergamot in this Earl Grey blend pairs nicely with the smoky and slightly nutty flavors in this sauce, adding just the right amount of richness to a pasta dish. This recipe also makes a great base for a mac & cheese sauce.

Creamy Smoked Earl Grey Pasta Sauce:

3 tbsp butter

1 heaping tbsp Earl Grey Tea

¼ cup all purpose flour

½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup water

¼ tsp salt

3-5 drops liquid smoke

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in the Earl Grey and cook in the butter for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the tea from butter, either with a slotted spoon or by straining the butter and returning it to the pan (you will likely see some brown particles in your butter mixture; you want that! That’s where the flavor is most concentrated!)

Add the flour into the butter to make a roux. Let it cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream and the water gradually, mixing well. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir until mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in the salt and liquid smoke to taste (careful; too much will overpower the flavor of the tea.)

As always friends, I hope you leave here feeling inspired to try new flavors and find new ways to bring tea into your life. Until next time, much love!

Thanks for sipping with us!

Marielle @Moonstone Teas and Botanicals

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