What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

16 September 2011

Have Some Tea

There's part of me that thinks you can't go too far wrong with tea or coffee made at home. Presumably, you'll be using a reusable mug instead of a single-use disposable cup, it's much much much cheaper than stopping off at a coffee shop, and all the parts are either wash-and-reuse-able or compostable.

So I haven't tried too hard to green up my tea drinking. And then in comes Groupon with two offers in about two weeks for two different loose-leaf tea places: One of them local (Tea Embassy) and the other online (Tea District). So, I armed myself with a tea infuser and got out the cute little teaspoon that the Penciler of Songs gave me a couple of years ago, and made my first foray into loose-leaf-ness. When I ordered a sampler pack from Tea District, they even sent me some reusable cloth bags, useful for brewing tea or for any cooking in my future that requires simmering spices that need to be removed before serving. Result!

My new tea setup: Sampler bags of
yumminess, cloth reusable bag,
teaspoon, stainless steel infuser.
I am ready for all tea-related
As ever, I would encourage going the reusable route whenever possible, so if you're brewing coffee every day, consider a reusable filter instead of paper ones. If you are using the paper ones, go ahead and compost them right along with the grounds. If you have a Keurig or similar fancy contraption, please be sure to recycle the cups (I can't make any recs on reusing them, because I've never tried-- any suggestions?)

If you are a tea drinker like myself but you aren't into the loose-leaf thing, then again I recommend composting the bags. The leaves, whether inside a bag or loose-leaf, are also compostable, or here's a suggestion from Green Is Sexy: Save the tea leaves in a sealed container and rub them on your fingers after you've chopped or otherwise handled something smelly in your kitchen (fish, garlic, onions, etc.). The original post recommends using green tea leaves, but I don't drink green tea, so I've started saving my black tea leaves to see if it works just as well (because I kept forgetting to save the leaves before now). I'll let you know how it turns out.

Now, if you've had a look at that pic above featuring my new set-up, you'll see the snag here: I have nine plastic bags of tea sitting on my counter right now. They are all resealable, so I'm already plotting their reuse capabilities, but in the future I'm definitely going to go for larger packages instead of sampler sizes to avoid such an abundance of packaging. I did ask the guy at the Tea Embassy (the local store) if his bags are recyclable, but he said he didn't think so. I didn't press him at that moment by suggesting that I bring a bag back for refilling, but I will probably email him when my stock of tea gets low to ask if he's cool with refills.

Are you a tea or coffee person? Both? Neither? Do you have a fantastic low-waste suggestion for your beverage of choice?


Anonymous said...

Coffee...drink it when out, in the restaurant, in a china cup...get up and walk out. Perfect. No muss no fuss no washing up no garbage.

Natalie @ TheFirstKitchen.com said...

I'm a coffee girl, but I do loved iced green tea. I bought a tea infuser once but in a moment of brilliance I bought a big one that doesn't fit into my mug >.<

The Golden Eagle said...

I was just drinking tea earlier, which is something I rarely do. :P I'm not really into tea, or coffee . . .

erica and christy said...

I live in a small town. 1,000 people (which is actually fairly big for our county). So my options are limited on a daily basis. If I stop somewhere (which is maybe 5-10 times a year), it's at the gas station and I bring my own travel mug (which cuts the cost from $1.30 to 85 cents). I make coffee at home maybe 10 times. I don't compost (dog/wild animal problems), but I do use unbleached filters, if that helps.

I'm not that familiar with tea. I've tried it a couple times. I know no one who drinks it. Sorry!

Su said...

@Delores: I love love love restaurants who serve their hot drinks in proper china cups. It's the best!

@Natalie: That's just sad. :(

@Eagle: It's like we were on the same wavelength today!

@Erica: I love places that give you a discount for bringing your own mug. Result! Although I am totally mystified that you don't know anyone who drinks it... in Wisconsin? It's not exactly the drink of choice in Indiana, but when the weather gets ugly, people start drinking their tea hot. It never occurred to me that other cold states don't do the same!

Donna said...

Definitely coffee!! I save the grounds to place in my garden and the containers my hubby uses out in the shop.

Su said...

Now, that's the kind of reusability that I love. :)

anthony stemke said...

I compost everything I can. My tea bags have no string or tab, I compost them. My garbage can never fills up, is collected once a week.

Su said...

Tagless tea bags are the best! The strings & tabs are compostable too, of course, but the kind with staples make me crazy b/c those have to be removed.

Anonymous said...

I am a big coffee and tea drinker. I've never heard of the places you mentioned. I will definitely check them out.


Anonymous said...

Tea drinker here, as well! I ventured into the world of loose-leaf tea a couple of years ago, and if I could afford to buy only loose-leaf tea, I would!

My part of the world is only just starting to get into the 'green' thing, and living in a small apartment in the middle of the city I don't get to compost at all. I'm counting down the days to when we get to start looking at houses . . .

Su said...

@Cat: I've decided that I like both! Although I'm not wild about some of the flavours in my sampler pack.

@blackanddarknight: I'm not sure yet if I'm going entirely loose-leaf, although I'd love to if I can! It depends on the budget, as you say. Good luck on the house-looking!