A proper pot of tea is enjoyed by nearly everyone in England. Even during the War, everything could be solved by tea. But how much do you know about tea? We all know it comes from India (or does it?) And how can we ensure that we not only enjoy a delicious pot of tea, but also ensure that it’s good to the planet?
Although you can buy organic biodegradable tea bags, most tea bags on the market are made with nylon (plastic) string that doesn’t biodegrade. That’s why they can’t go in the compost bin. Even organic string from tea bags should never be left out in the garden, as it can entangle birds, especially when collecting items for their nests. Loose tea is much better!
Tea is an evergreen shrub that grows mostly in India. It comes in various types (black, green, white, oolong) and the colour depends on how oxidised the tea is (the more so, the darker the tea). Hence why green tea is better for us, but most of us prefer a proper cup of black tea. Tea does have some caffeine, but not as much as coffee. So whereas if you drink 10 cups of coffee a day, you’ll be all over the place.
It’s important to drink organic tea. That is because tea leaves are very delicate, and absorb chemicals very easily. Also, the people (usually women) who pick the tea leaves. Tea made with chemicals, means plantation workers have to wear hot protective clothing in hot weather.
If you take medication, check paper inserts as some herbs are not safe (also for pregnancy/breastfeeding). Avoid driving or operating machinery, after taking sleepy teas.
Tea is toxic to pets, so keep them away (some dogs like the taste). And never put out cotton string from tea bags (biodegradable or otherwise) for birds’ nests, as they can get tangled. Either bin or compost, whichever the pack says).
This Set of Reusable Tea Bags makes an ideal alternative to tea bags. It includes an organic cotton grocery bag with 4 tea bags made from cotton and bamboo. Handmade in England, they are simple to use. Just add 1/2 teaspoon of your favourite organic loose tea to one of the bags, and place in hot water. After use, just empty the tea leaves into the compost bin (or throw away, they won’t do any harm). Then rinse the tea bag and use again. You can wash the bags by hand or in your washing machine (place inside the grocery bag, so they don’t get lost.
This Organic Cotton Reusable Tea Bag is ideal to replace plastic commercial tea bags. Many tea bags are not biodegradable and use a lot more energy and resources. This bag is made from certified organic cotton, and the unbleached organic cotton string is long enough to use with mugs or a teapot.
After use, you can wash the tea bag and use it again. You can also use it to replace disposable filters. To use, just add loose tea and enjoy a fresh cuppa. Then rinse or wash and enjoy again and again. After use, turn the bag inside out and compost the tea leaves. Soak in cold water to help prevent stains, and then hand wash in your sink with a little biodegradable washing up liquid, then a quick rinse under the tap. Line dry. For a deeper clean, soak the tea bag for a few hours in vinegar and water (apple cider vinegar or white vinegar – 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water). If you are using milk, hand wash after each use. If drinking black, rinse and reuse 1 to 2 times (same day) and then hand-wash.
Purechimp makes green matcha tea, good for your health and to turn cakes green. In zero waste packaging, 5% of profits go to help save apes from zoos, circuses and vivisection labs. While you’re there, you can also stock up on palm-oil free vegan soap and shampoo bars.
- Nipper & Co Sip’ n’ Snore Tea was created by a soil scientist, and sold in zero waste packaging. This organic tea is a blend of linden blossom, valerian and lavender.
NHS advises no more than 2 cups of tea for pregnancy/nursing, and avoid strong teas (lemongrass, hibiscus, liquorice). Liquorice tea should also be avoided for heart, blood pressure or liver issues.
- This loose leaf tea starter kit includes all you need to indulge in a pot of indulgent tea. You’ll find a glass teapot with an inbuilt filter, a tea scoop and 50g of your chosen blend of Hoogly Tea. Choose from any of their teas including black, green, white, herbal infusions or rooibos (including sweet flavours like Danish pastry and ginger biscuits).
- Small & WildHappy Toucan (vanilla chai) and Snoozy Fox (spearmint, lavender and pea flowers)
Nipper & Co (London) offers organic teas for mums and babies, developed by a soil scientist. Sold in biodegradable packaging, there are teas for boosting breast milk and (cooled) calm tummy teas for baby (dosage & age guides apply – not for newborns).
Tea Rex Reusable Stainless Steel Tea Infuser is engraved with the TEA REX logo and dinosaur! It also includes 3 infusion sachets. Make hot or cold drinks time and again, to make fruit and root infusions, using the fine mesh filter, which delivers the smoothest of infusions. The infuser is also suitable for loose leaf tea, and course ground coffee. Easy to clean and dishwasher-safe.
Tea Rex On the Go Mug & Infuser has a clever built-in filter to infuse and reuse on the go. Made from toughened glass and stainless steel, the leakproof lid flicks open to reveal a thermally insulated inner. Easy to clean, and dishwasher-safe.
Bird & Blend Loose Leaf Tea Glass Infuser Mug is ideal to enjoy the perfect cup of tea anywhere. The large infuser gives room for the tea leaves to expand and properly infuse. And this gives you more flavour in each cup. And the lid doubles up as a convenient saucer. Made from borosilicate glass. Dishwasher safe.