Have you ever wondered if you can reuse your tea bag?
It's a question that may raise eyebrows, and even noses.
And the answer is, why yes, of course, you can!*
And if you've just noticed the * at the end of that sentence, it's because there are a few important things to keep in mind when dealing with used tea bags and raised eyebrows.
When should you reuse a tea bag?
It all depends! One must consider the quality of the bag, the leaf inside, and the generosity of one's heart.
Regular tea bags
These aren't great for reusing. A second brew may look like tea, but will probably taste like dishwater.
Actually, if it's a regular tea bag, the first brew will probably taste like dishwater too.
Maybe try something better.
Pyramid tea bags
These often contain high-grade tea, are sometimes plastic-free, and can often be reused.
High-grade tea will take well to multiple-brews.
The thicker the leaf, the better the second brew. It sometimes takes a second brew for some hidden flavours to be released.
You'll typically get better results with green and white tea than with black tea.
Tielka pyramid tea bags are plastic-free and contain whole-leaf organic tea goodness. They are also the most awarded tea bags in Australia and stand up well to reuse, particularly Tielka's Jade Mist Green Tea.
You should never send your used tea bags to missionaries(1), even if it is Tielka tea. This is not an act of generosity from one's heart. They are God's children like you, and should only have the finest, freshest tea.
Three Tips for Reusing Tea Bags
These tips are based on Gong Fu brewing, which is a traditional Chinese method of making tea. It allows you to get multiple brews from the same leaves. The flavours in each brew change and develop over time.
1. Use a smaller teacup
A smaller cup will give you a stronger brew, and you'll experience flavour notes with ease. Using a smaller cup will also make you feel oh-so-dainty.
2. Decrease your brewing time
Different flavour notes are released as the tea is brewing. When you decrease brewing time, you will experience the different flavour notes in each brew, rather than have them all at once.
3. Reuse your tea bag immediately
If you wait too long to reuse your tea bag, it will develop a nasty metallic flavour, and may start to grow dangerous bacteria. You may even lose your love for tea and that is a very sad situation.
As soon as you finish your cup, add more hot water to your tea bag and enjoy. You can even start to rebrew your tea bag in another dainty cup the moment you remove it from the first cup.
And that, my friends, is why you have fifty different pretty tea cups and saucers in your tea cupboard. It's also why you need to buy more.
(1) It has been recounted on occasion in church communities, that missionaries have been sent used tea bags as "gifts" by their supporters back home. Such stories tell that supporters believe this eye-brow-raising gesture is an act of generosity that should be received with gratitude.
Tielka does not support this behaviour and won't just raise an eyebrow. Tielka will happily send a gift of beautiful organic tea to any missionary that has been traumatised by such behaviour.