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Let's find some offbeat new uses for tea!

In the “How long do you keep your tea?” thread, Dylan Oxford mentioned that he and his wife will use their unwanted tea to make a foot soak! I recall that you can use wet teabags on your eyes to take away puffiness. I bet if we put our brains together (and did a few well-worded searches) we could find all sorts of uses for those teas that are too old or yucky to pass on.

35 Replies

I’ll start. Found this on eHow.com:
Refresh your dark carpet with green tea leaves. Sprinkle dry green tea leaves on carpet. Leave for 30 minutes and then vacuum the leaves up. Tea absorbs odors.

Nik select said

Nice tip!

Apparently black tea sucks up odors as well.

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Angrboda said

If you are a creative sort, you can brew a very strong cup and use it as watercolour. You could probably mix pigments into it as well for some interesting shades, although this will likely only work with black tea or pu-erh.

I’ve done similar with black tea bags but on canvas paintings – rub wet tea bag all over canvas to tint it. Now I wanna try tea on watercolours!

Angrboda said

I have seen it done with water colours and coffee, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t work with tea. :)

I’ll layer soaked tea bags over paper to “age” it, after I’ve soaked the paper in the tea color, I layer it on a baking sheet and bake it at a very low temperature to dry it. This also sort of crisps up the paper, which also adds to that ‘aged’ thing. This is especially effective for history school projects, as I’ve done this a few times for my oldest daughter’s high school history projects to make her papers look ancient. It works best if you first crumple up the paper before you layer the tea bags on it, because then the color well steep into the creases, giving it an almost “parchment” look.

I’ve used this in non-high-school applications as well, when I’m creating my art and want to age a bit of ephemera, this is the way to do it.

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Ally223 said

Take green tea and white tea leaves after they’ve been used, add a small amount of aloe and apply to your face as a mask. It’ll take redness out and calm down angry skin.

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Babble said

This article has 7 things you can do with a teabag: http://www.buzzfeed.com/samimain/7-random-uses-for-used-tea-bags-5pfv

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ChrisG said

Ming Tsai smokes fish with tea, always wanted to try that.

mrmopar said

i have seen the same show! that would be interesting!

Bonnie said

Most people know that I use a t-sac and put a little Lapsang Souchong in it then drop it in my steamer water to steam broccoli or cauliflower. The house smells good and the smoke flavor from the tea is light. I also grind a little LS in a mortar and pestle with some sea salt, Urfa Pepper, and whole peppercorns until it’s fine, then I use it as a rub on fish or chicken. Someone else on Steepster put some in a foil grill packet with veggies and butter.

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momo said

Sprinkle your used leaves on the soil of plants! I had basil that was hardly growing until I did that. Mate gets them growing even better than tea leaves.

Uniquity said

Complete side note, but do you do anything else special to keep your basil growing? Ours was doing great and then we started some shoots from some of the trimmings and now I find none of the basil plants are growing much at all. I don’t know if its essentially reached the end of its life or I’ve hurt it. Mine keeps wanting to grow tall and never fill out. : (

momo said

That’s all I’ve done. It’s still not very big despite the fact I planted it back in May, like I couldn’t possibly take any leaves off of it. I have one of those hydroponic gardens, and when I’ve grown basil in there it’s like a weed! I wish I could help :( maybe some kind of plant food might do the trick?

Uniquity said

We’ve got a lot of leaves from it, but always two or three at a time. We used to have dreams of making pesto, but we would need a dozen plants to do that. I think part of it is that it wants more root space, but it’s an inside plant in a limited space. Why doesn’t it know that?! : ) Thanks!

momo said

Hahaha that is definitely a basil problem. The one in the hydroponic garden killed the other 2 plants off with its roots.

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Well, I don’t know if there is any actual science to back this up, but a few days ago I broke my finger, getting it caught in the power window of the car. The only thing I had with me was a thermos of cold infused silver needle with the leaves still in it.
I dunked my hand in and kept it there for the two hours it took the emergency room to get me ice.
My finger is broken, but the incredible “omg I’m going to loose my finger” swelling is gone.
This is now my favorite use for tea. Thanks, tea :)

Angrboda said

I suspect (in my layman’s opinion, mind) that might have more to do with you cooling the injury down rather than anything to do with it being tea. But it was definitely a good instinct you had to do so.

You know, the water was only just barely cool at that point – but of course, almost anything would probably feel better than just sitting there!

Bonnie said

Yes, white tea has helped me a lot! Cleared up psoriasis on my the palm of my hand years ago. I soaked a clean cloth in the tea, put it on my palm with a baggie over it and slept with it on. In a few days the psoriasis was gone and never came back. (I had cracked, itchy bleeding skin on my palm for 20 years and I could never keep medicine on because it was greasy and I couldn’t use a keyboard at work that way. Also you have to wash your hands, you know…!)
So, for skin conditions, I’m a white tea believer!!!

Hmmmm. I’m always looking for something to reduce my lupus rash. I have never tried tea on it. All I have is flavored white tea, though, and I’m not wasting it on my face! LOL

Nik select said

@Rachel What if you drink the first steep and steep a second time to use on the rash? =)

Good thinking, Nik! I’m going to try that!

I wonder if I can get my dad to try this for his psoriasis. He has it on his hands as well. And it been there for as long as I can remember. :(

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Nik select said

So I am kind of known for my culinary concoctions. This is where I go into the kitchen, look in the cupboard and fridge, throw some things together, and come out with something edible. So far my track record is 100% not just edible, but pretty awesome. Many times, I’ll throw things together that my friends/family either don’t think to put together, or that make them cringe. Pfft. Narrow minds, I say. =)

Aaaaanyhoo. Last night/early this morning, I had a thought, inspired by this thread: what if I poured tea instead of boiling water over my oatmeal? I suggested it to a friend and she cringed, but I didn’t let that deter me; I went ahead and tried it, anyway. I’m happy to report that the experiment was a great success. I used Teas Etc.‘s Caribbean Dream1, which I just discovered isn’t actually tea, so I’ll repeat the experiment with a proper tea later.

1 http://steepster.com/teas/teas-etc/5504-caribbean-dream

I love throwing stuff together from what I already have. I call it a Pantry Challenge. It’s more fun than saying “We’re too broke to buy groceries” LOL

Nik select said

I like that, Rachel—Pantry Challenge! =) I was going to start a blog called The Ghetto Gourmet, but I already have too many neglected projects on my plate so I gave up on the idea.

Uniquity said

HOW DID YOU MAKE A FOOTNOTE?!
Sorry, that’s just so awesome.

Nik select said

lol @Uniquity. To make a footnote, you add the number of the footnote in brackets, like this, but without the spaces: [ 1 ]. Then, at the bottom of your text, you prefix the footnote with fn+[the number of the footnote], e.g., fn1. [footnote text].

For more information: http://redcloth.org/hobix.com/textile/#quick-block-modifiers

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Perhaps not an offbeat use, but why not eat green tea leaves? Save them after making tea and sprinkle into salads, stir fries and on top of ice-cream. Delicious addition with a whole host of health benefits.

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zazen5 said

I think a really good idea is to look at the actual peer reviewed studies on tea as far as their molecular components, which influences the “yin” or “yang” of the tea and the resultant physiological/psychological effects. There was a study on T-cell enhancement due to ingestion of black tea that has theaflavins, not seen as potent in green tea with its catechins. This makes sense as black tea is heating, or more yang than green tea which is very yin. Yang or black tea is better in very cold climates or winter, and green and white or yin teas are cooling and better in summer or if you are an ornery or very aggressive individual. Given that during cold season both in terms of temperature and potential for illness, it is best to use a tea that helps you fight the elements and is very warming, a yang tea, such as traditional black tea.

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