DIY Tea Bags: 3 Simple Ways to Make Your Own

Let’s face it – tea bags are indisposable part of every tea lover’s life. However, there is a huge difference in flavor, scent and appearance between loose leaf tea and tea in tea bags. So, why would you want to go back to tea bags, and even make an effort to make your own? The answer is very simple:

  • It’s a great DIY gift idea for tea drinkers.
  • You can enjoy any loose leaf teas wherever you want when the only teaware you have is a mug.
  • You can take your favorite tea on your travels or to the office and make a cup of tea easy and fast. All you will need is a mug and hot water.
  • Tea in tea bags can be amazing too– ultimately, it comes down to the type of leaf in the bag.

Although there are exceptions, the regular tea bags mostly contain tea dust and fannings, and rarely unbroken leaves. Tea dust and fannings are by-products of tea production. Although they may be of high quality (for example, when they are made from high quality teas such as gyokuro), they will most often have an inferior flavor compared to loose leaf tea. However, there are benefits too. Small particles may release much more caffeine than unbroken leaves, and potentially EGCg too. How much, will depend not only on the type of tea, quality, terroir and other growing and producing factors, but on the type of tea bag too[1]. To enjoy the best possible flavor, nothing can beat unbroken tea leaves.

Tea/coffee filter DIY round tea bags

Simple paper tea or coffee filters are extremely easy to use for making wonderful homemade tea bags. Although you can use them as it is and just put tea leaves in and brew, the main disadvantage is that you can’t close them. Making your own tea bags from tea filters is easy and fun and gives you a chance to share your favorite tea leaves with friends in a personalized packaging.

You will need:

  • 10 medium or large size tea filters (depending how many tea bags you want to make)
  • Thread and needle
  • Tea label
  • Kitchen string
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Put one teaspoon of tea leaves into each filter.
  2. Hand sew stitches around the leaves making a circle shape. Allow enough space for tea leaves to expand in hot water.
  3. Cut out the circle tea bag with leaving about 2-3 mm edges.
  4. Attach a tea label using thread and a needle or a stapler.

White gauze tea bags

The easiest way to make your own tea bags is with a new clean white gauze or cheesecloth. Don’t use gauzes with any kind of film on them, choose plain ones only. Gauze is one of the most useful and versatile kitchen accessories – it can be used for straining tea leaves, straining home-made soy or nut milk or for dusting with powders. This method is best for tea leaves that won’t expand in hot water too much.

You will need:

  • Clean gauze or cheesecloth
  • Scissors
  • Thick kitchen string
  • Tea label

Instructions:

  1. Cut the gauze into small squares, about 4 inches wide. If you have an extra fine thin gauze, use two or three layers instead of one.
  2. Place a teaspoon (or more) of tea leaves in the middle of each square.
  3. Hold all corners together tie the piece of string tightly around.
  4. Leave one side of the string longer and attach a tea label.

Muslin cotton tea bags

If you are a more creative type and good with sewing, you can make your own re-usable cotton tea bags too. Choose organic unbleached pure muslin to avoid any potential danger of dye or chemicals. You will need more time to make them than the other tea bags, so try to make a whole batch at once and store them for future use. Wash the cloth before using it.

To make approximately 10 tea bags, you will need:

  • A piece of organic clean unbleached muslin
  • Thick kitchen string
  • Scissors
  • White sweing thread
  • Sewing machine or needle

Instructions:

  1. Cut the muslin into 4.8×4.8 inch square.
  2. Take one piece of muslin and fold the top down by half an inch and stitch across the full length of the fold.
  3. Fold it across in half.
  4. Stitch about half an inch down from the top all the way to almost the bottom and then across to the end.
  5. Add the string at the top, make small knots on each side, and then turn inside out.

How to make a tea label

To make a truly personalized gift and to always know which tea is in your tea bag, make a small cardboard labels to attach onto your tea bags.

You will need:

  • White or colored cardboard cut into small label size pieces
  • Black marker pen
  • Circle cutter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut out small label shapes.
  2. Use a marker pen to write a message or the name of the tea.
  3. Using a circle cutter cut one small hole in the bottom middle of the label.

Extra tips

  • If you need tea bags for teas such as rooibos herbal tea, smaller bags will hold the leaves better and still have enoiugh space for them to fully expand. For teas such as rolled oolongs, make bigger tea bags.
  • For small tea particles choose filters or cloth that will be able to hold particles inside the bag.
  • If you are using colored cloth, make sure it is safe and won’t stain your water and cause damage to your health.
  • Always store DIY tea bags in an airtight container and use them within a few months. It’s best to use a special container for each tea blend to keep the flavors and taste clean and fresh.

References

[1] https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf010759%2B

Loose Leaf Tea

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