31 Uses for Tea

It’s National Hot Tea Month! While we enjoy tea all year ‘round, we thought it might be fun to showcase a different use for every day in January.

Many of these are folk uses, but we’ll try to back them up with scientific studies when possible. Remember to consult your doctor before trying any new health regimen.

1. Give new garments a taste of history.

Use a strong black tea to naturally dye white garments antique beige, ecru, or ivory. Steep 3 tea bags for every 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Let the tea cool completely before submerging the garment for 10 minutes or more. The longer you leave it, the darker it gets. Use cotton for the best results.

2. Stop and feed the roses.

Roses love the tannic acids naturally found in tea. Simply place new or used tea leaves (loose or in the bag) around the base of your bushes. As you water your roses, they’ll receive the nutrients they love.

3. Quicken your compost.

You can accelerate decomposition and draw desirable, acid-producing bacteria by pouring a few cups of strongly brewed tea into your pile.

4. Help your mirrors look their fairest.

To give your mirrors extra shine, dampen a soft cloth in cool tea and wipe it all over the surface of the mirror. Then use another soft cloth to buff it for a streak-free surface.

5. Twinkle your toes.

Eradicate foot odor by soaking your feet in strong, warm tea for 20 minutes per day.

6. Make your meat melt.

Lapsang SouchongNot only does tea tenderize tough meat, it can also add some wonderful flavors. Here’s a recipe adapted from Reader’s Digest: Place 4 tablespoons black tea leaves (we recommend our smoky Lapsang Souchong) in a pot of warm (not boiling) water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the leaves and stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar until it dissolves. Set aside. Season up to 3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) meat with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder, and place it in a Dutch oven. Pour the liquid over the seasoned meat and cook in a preheated 325°F (165°C) oven until the meat is fork tender, about 90 minutes.

7. Get rid of grays.

Tea makes a natural hair dye.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon of tea or 3 tea bags
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of sage

Steep the tea, rosemary, and sage in 1 cup of boiling water. Let the mixture stand overnight.

After shampooing, pour or spray the mixture over your hair, thoroughly saturating it from roots to ends. Take care not to get the mixture on your clothes. Blot with a towel and do not rinse. You may need several applications to reach your desired color.

8. Soothe a sunburn.

To treat a minor burn, place wet teabags over the affected area. If you have a sunburn on a larger area of your body, put some teabags in your bath water and soak away the pain.

9. Illuminate your locks.

Condition your hair and add shine by rinsing with a quart (liter) of warm, unsweetened tea after you shampoo.

10. Mollify your mouth.

If you’re suffering from a toothache, an herbal infusion can help ease the pain. Peppermint contains menthol, which has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities.

  1. Boil 1 tablespoon of peppermint leaves in a cup of water for several minutes.
  2. Add a pinch of salt.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm, then rinse your mouth with it.

11. Nix a nick.

The tannins in tea can stop a minor nick from bleeding. Saturate a tea bag with hot water and hold it on the cut for 30 seconds. Then remove the tea bag and cover the cut with a bandage.

12. Send mites to their maker.

To kill dust mites, spray diluted black tea on the carpet. Be sure to spot-check the mix in an inconspicuous place first to avoid staining the rug!

13. Prevent rust on your trusty iron cookware.

Take advantage of the tannins in tea; they prevent oxidation, which causes rust. After each cooking session, wipe down your pan with a damp, used black tea bag to create an invisible layer of protection.

14. Eyeball your tea.

Relieve tired, puffy eyes by placing a chilled, used tea bag on them for 15 minutes. It will reduce puffiness and even under eye circles.

15. Flavor your food.

Tea can be steeped in nearly any liquid to add a unique flavor to your dishes. Steep tea in broth for soup, poach meats and fish in tea, and add tea to milk, coconut milk, and/or juice to provide a tasty base for desserts. You can even hang a couple tea bags over the side of the pot as you boil pasta or prepare water for cooking rice and other grains. Our Masala Chai makes a great addition to oatmeal and will pep you up in the morning.

16. Freshen up your fridge.

Forget ruining a box of baking soda. Just throw used tea bags in the fridge and they’ll absorb any odious odors. Use dry pre-brewed tea bags at the bottom of your trash can for the same effect.

17. Brew up something for the Easter Bunny.

We don’t know if our favorite candy-bearing creature likes to drink tea, but you can sure use it to dye eggs. For an all-natural egg colorant, brew some extra-strong tea. Add a splash of vinegar and then completely submerge the eggs for an hour. Try different teas to switch up the colors. Don’t be afraid to mix and match teas to create new color combinations.

18. Move some mice.

These little rodents aren’t huge fans of the smell of tea. Stash dried, used tea bags in corners critters frequent as a natural deterrent. Add a couple drops of peppermint oil to act as a natural air freshener and keep out their buddies spiders and ants.

19. Rid your hands of rotten smells.

Scrub your hands with used tea bags to remove the scents of onions, garlic, fish, and other undesirable odors.

20. Worry your warts.

Get rid of plantar warts on your feet by pressing a warm, wet tea bag on the affected area for 20 minutes per day.

21. Fight Poison Ivy – the rash that is.

Tea may give you energy to fight super villains, but it won’t keep you from crying after a defeat. It will, however, keep poison ivy rashes from weeping. Soak a cotton ball in tea and dab it on the affected area. Let it air dry, and it should dry the rash, as well. Repeat as needed.

22. Disinfect and perfume your skin.

Tea has antibacterial qualities, which makes it great for your skin. Soak in a fragrant bath of Jasmine Green Tea or relax with an herbal infusion of Mint Chamomile. We recommend these extra large T-Sacs to pre-make satchels.

23. Keep kitty litter fresh.

Add dried, green tea leaves to your litter to keep it fresher longer.

24. Replace your therapist with tea.

Okay, tea won’t help you work through your issues, but the scents of herbal infusions like chamomile, lavender, and rose are rumored to reduce stress. Place the dried plants in a satchel or T-Sac and rest them over your eyes, or brew them up and gently inhale the steam.

25. Don’t eat your dust.

Sprinkle wet tea leaves in your fireplace before cleaning to reduce dust.

26. Power through pinkeye.

Use warm, wet tea bags as a compress on your eyes to reduce the pain and inflammation from pinkeye.

27. Antique your invites.

There is something romantic about unfolding aging paper. Give your correspondence an old-fashioned look by soaking the paper in tea and drying it completely before you write your next note.

28. Banish blisters (and canker sores).

We’ve heard you can press a hot tea bag on a fever blister or canker sore to draw out an infection.

29. Free Fido of fleas.

Sprinkle used dry tea leaves on animal bedding to reduce the chance of pests.

30. Clean up your act with tea.

Making soap? Grind up dried tea leaves and add them to your mixture for a natural colorant, exfoliant, and scent.

31. Brew your decor.

Nothing is quite as beautiful as hand-tied tea blossoms, which unfurl to reveal dried flowers. Best of all, you can drink the tea! Place the blossom in a clear, tempered glass cup and add hot water to watch it turn into art. Drain the tea and add cold water. The blossom should hold its shape for a few hours up to a few days. Flowering teas are a great idea for wedding centerpieces.

Add comment January 15th, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions that Stick

You’ve had a week to work out promises you made on New Year’s Day. Maybe it’s taken a week to see if’ve stuck, or maybe they’ve fallen short. If they’ve stuck so far, kudos to you! If they haven’t, don’t kick yourself too hard. There is still time to evaluate and reset your goals. Here are some tips to help you set goals that are more realistic, just as healthy and more attainable.

Make Time for TeaGreen Dragonfly Tetsubin Set

We all love tea, right? And it’s so easy to get your cuppa steeping and take it on the go, but your mind and body would benefit a lot by sitting down for a genuine tea time. Our days are sometimes a blur, filled from morning until evening with events, work, social gatherings and even family time.

Sitting down to a cup of tea, from boiling the water to steeping the leaves and finally enjoying a pot, allows time for your mind to stop moving. You can get to finally concentrate and reflect. Not only is this an excellent practice to continue throughout 2015, it’s also a great way to take inventory on resolutions that will work. So make it a Sencha Shin-Ryoku or a traditional cup of Dragon Well, and let’s get started.

Take Inventory

First off, be realistic. What kind of time and resources do you have available to you? If you have trouble getting a twenty minute workout in then most likely embarking on a marathon training program could be out of reach for you right now.

Next, keep it simple and specific. Focus on changing one thing at a time. More than that will just overwhelm you and likely make you want to give up. At the same, a goal as broad as one to “stay in shape” makes it hard to know what you need to accomplish in the span of a day or week. Try setting a goal with specific and manageable targets, such as working out for twenty minutes a day or going to an exercise class twice a week.

Make sure you are setting goals for you and not ones that aim to impress or prove someone else wrong. These are the kind of goals that will make you feel better about yourself in the long run. If you’re focused on others’ needs, you’ll burn out quickly.

Finally, take note of what works and what doesn’t. Instead of giving up completely, your resolutions can be tweaked to fit you and your life better. Read more about setting realistic resolutions, and then go put these goals into action. We are cheering for you all the way. Good luck! 

Add comment January 8th, 2015

Only the Best of 2014

Whether you like to ring in the new year with resolutions and a grandiose affair or with a quiet cuppa and a cozy place to sit and reflect, here are a few of the year’s bests. Maybe you missed some of these “bests” or already have a list of your own. This is your invitation to brew up your favorite tea blend of 2014 as we help you recall what the year was like.

Books, Movies and Other Media

We hope you have had time to enjoy a good book or two this past year. A few of our favorite teas to pair with good reads have been Thurbo, 1st Flush, Darjeeling, Ceylon  Star or Doke White, Silver Needles tea. If you’re on the search for other suggestions, check out these selections of the year’s best books. From food writing to novels and children’s books, you can select stories that interest you from this list chosen by authors around the world. You may need to put the kettle on again before you get through all of these.

When it comes to TV shows, it’s hard to make lists. Most of us already have our favorites that are in their successive seasons, and who has time to watch this much television anyway? Take a look at this brief overview of the best television shows from 2014. You may find you want to pick up a new series during the next season.

As for the best movies from 2014, opinions vary greatly, especially with a few highly anticipated films coming out at year’s end, including Unbroken and The Hobbit. See how this list matches up with your own list of favorites.

A List of Your Own

Now, as the tea kettle simmers and you brew up the next pot, take some time to get personal. There may be no better way to ring in the New Year than taking inventory for yourself. Resolutions aside, what were you most thankful for in 2014? What were the best foods you tasted? How about the best conversations, quotes or memories? What was your favorite Tea Smith blend?

No matter how you ring in the New Year, we hope you will have fond memories of the past year and keep a kettle on throughout 2015. Happy New Year from The Tea Smith!

Add comment January 1st, 2015

Stories to Share Over a Cup of Tea

The day we’ve all been anticipating is finally here. Did you get everything you wanted? Did you enjoy seeing others delight in the gifts you gave them? Now is the perfect time to sit back with a cup of spicy Masala Chai or Almond Biscotti and reflect on the season. We’ve found a few heartwarming stories to share, and some that are so cool you can’t help but tell family and friends all the little details!

Dreams Come True This Time of YearWinter Gold Cup

You may have seen these jolly old elves everywhere lately. Although their brown suits and trucks don’t seem all that festive, check out how this UPS delivery man made one little boy’s dreams come true.

Ever dreamed of playing professional sports? This dream came true for a 15-year-old diagnosed with cancer. He was signed on with the New York Rangers hockey team. See the press conference footage.

Delightful Lights and Flash Mobs

We hope you haven’t had your fill of Christmas music just yet. This is not your ordinary flash mob performance. It’s both beautiful and unexpected, so take a look to see how it keeps getting better and better! If you’ve had a chance to visit a neighborhood house with the lights choreographed to music, this will blow that performance away. Imagine a whole neighborhood choreographed to the same fantastic song!

Finally, pour that last cup of tea and take in the beauty of The National Geographics Most Beautiful Photographs of 2014 from all around the world. Where do you want to go visit in 2015?

Merry Christmas to you from all of us at The Tea Smith!

Add comment December 25th, 2014

Make your Holiday Cocktails with Tea

Could your holiday menu use a new twist? If your Christmas meal strongly resembles your Thanksgiving table, we’ve got a few suggestions to make this holiday season stand out. Check out these cocktails made with tea. Whether you are entertaining a huge family or keeping your celebration cozy, there are recipes to suit everyone’s tastes that can be adjusted easily for groups of any size.

Ciders Made with Tea

There’s nothing like a twist on a classic. For a new holiday favorite, try this hot cider made with Darjeeling tea. Try it with our Glenburn 1st Flush for a light and crisp flavor or our 2nd Flush Thurbo Estate Darjeeling for a bolder taste. This recipe is easily a crowd pleaser when made with the champagne of teas.

The holidays wouldn’t be the same without citrus. How can you add it to a cider? Our Orange Spice Tea Cocktail contains our orange spice special tea blend, as well as apple cider, for a drink sure to stir memories for every the pickiest guests.

Tea Cocktails and Toddies

The weather outside may be frightful, but you can stay inside and shake up this New Year’s Eve celebration with a delightfully sweet and cool Cherry Blossom Cocktail. Check out this recipe modified from Tudor House Tea.

Cherry Blossom

  • 12 ice cubes
  • 3 oz. strongly brewed Cherry Blossom Green Tea, chilled
  • 1 c. pomegranate juice, chilled
  • 3 oz. gin
  • 1 T. amaretto
  • Maraschino cherries, lemon or orange wedges for garnish, on skewer or pick

Put 4 of the ice cubes, the green tea, pomegranate juice, gin and amaretto into a cocktail shaker and shake for 1 minute. Divide remaining ice cubes between 2 glasses. Strain cocktail into glasses, garnish with fruit.

Or, if gin is not to your taste, cozy up by the fire with an Earl Grey hot toddy in hand.

Captain Grey

  • 4 oz. piping hot Earl Grey tea
  • 1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • 0.25 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. organic honey

Pre-warm a cognac glass with warm to hot water. Steep Earl Grey tea for 3-5 minutes in a mug with water just off the boil. Empty cognac glass, then add tea, rum, lemon juice and honey. Gently stir and garnish with a lemon wheel. This recipe comes from goodspiritsnews.wordpress.com.

Try one or two of these to stir up your holiday season. They go great as appetizers, with family board game time, or with toasty, warm slippers in front of a crackling fireplace. The holiday rush is almost over. Now is your time to enjoy the best of the season!

Add comment December 17th, 2014

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