What to do with spent tea leaves?


Completely off the Topic of Tea

What to do with spent tea leaves?

Postby TheJerseyDevil » Feb 27th, '09, 17:46

I just made the leap to loose tea not too long ago. I never minded throwing away tea bags because they look disgusting, especially after drying out, and are innately disposable. But I look over in my trash can now, and all I can see is a myriad of leaves that have been steeped once or twice. It just seems like such a waste to me! Well, my trash has never smelled this good, but I'm sure there are more noble uses for spent leaves.

I've looked around the forum and have seen a few posts about eating the leaves after drinking the tea. I usually do eat a few anyway, but it would probably be half my diet if I ate all of the leaves that I throw away :P

So what do you with your spent leaves?

-ps, sorry if this has been covered before. I searched around and was unable to find anything :x
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Postby Converted2Tea » Feb 27th, '09, 20:11

What about simple composting? I believe this is what I am going to do becaue like you, i am fairly new to the loose tea world.

Save the leaves and create a small little compost for your leaves and then once you get used to that, expand to your other compostable waste.
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Re: What to do with spent tea leaves?

Postby wyardley » Feb 27th, '09, 20:15

TheJerseyDevil wrote:So what do you with your spent leaves?

I dry mine; saving them to eventually make into a pillow (or maybe eye pillows or something).

TheJerseyDevil wrote:-ps, sorry if this has been covered before. I searched around and was unable to find anything :x

sort of related:
viewtopic.php?t=8220
viewtopic.php?t=7722
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Postby Intuit » Feb 27th, '09, 20:46

Two thumbs up for composting.

http://simplemom.net/how-to-make-a-compost-bin/

You can buy smaller ceramic versions for apartments, too.

There should be plenty of tips to be found on the web on how tos and what to do if you run into problems.

NY Times had a good article on this last week in the Living section.
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Postby TheJerseyDevil » Feb 27th, '09, 21:35

I'd love to be able to compost them, but I'm afraid I don't have anywhere I can dedicate to that. I'm living in a dorm right now and don't really have any land to do it on. I'm thinking about getting some flower pots and putting them in my windows. I guess throwing in some leaves with the soil would help them out a bit.

I'll definitely try cold brewing after oolong leaves have been used, sounds like a great idea.

Edit:
Ahh, I didn't think of an indoor compost bin. I might just invest in that. My only worry would be what I would do with it. If I composted all the organic trash I throw away, I'd have enough for a small garden :x
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No problemo!

Postby Intuit » Feb 27th, '09, 22:08

You're at a university/college. Wonderful! MANY of these institutions of higher learning are opting to use campus wide food composting programs - especially if there is an ecology or agricultural academic focus (they use composts to study nutrients and sustainable soil management, for instance). Beyond cost cutting (solid waste fees are going up for large volume waste clients), at least some are trying to promote responsible environmental options in students. Example: grey water from showers and bathrooms at the University of Idaho (Moscow campus) has been used for lawn watering for more than a decade.

I would check with campus food kitchens/food courts to see if they can take your spent tea leaves weekly.

Otherwise, check to see if your town/city has a local organic food co-op - most also run a community food and yard waste composting program on the side. Even if they don't accept community food wastes, they will have information - and probably sell those smaller ceramic composting cans - and can answer question on composting. That should help you decide if you want to pursue this option.

The soil builder output from your mini-composter can be used in campus flower beds - check with the landscaping unit in your campus maintenance department. You might even find a way to roll this into a class project.

Now THAT would help you build a resume that demonstrates creative problem solving. Not too shabby when you enter the job market with your newly minted degree.
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Postby TheJerseyDevil » Feb 28th, '09, 01:02

Ah, those are some sweet ideas Intuit. I'll definitely look into it.

I've also decided to set aside some of the stronger smelling ones, like Earl Grey de la Creme, for an air freshener. I figure it might spread it around the room if I keep a satchel of the used leaves in front of my heater's fan.
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Postby Herb_Master » Feb 28th, '09, 08:37

I have been using mine for the last 5 months as a Winter Top Dressing Mulch round plants in the garden and it helps to prevent weeds.

I had better give it a rest now :D I don't want to give them an overdose!
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Postby bsteele » Feb 28th, '09, 10:13

paper mache?
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Tea bath

Postby Rockingtherepub... » Feb 28th, '09, 14:49

Dry and then throw into your bathtub for a tea bath. I've been doing this for years.
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Re: Tea bath

Postby Randoom » Feb 28th, '09, 22:04

RockingtheRepublic wrote:Dry and then throw into your bathtub for a tea bath. I've been doing this for years.


isn't it a real mess cleaning up your bathtub after you're done?
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Postby Chip » Feb 28th, '09, 22:13

Ahhh yes, the TeaBath, though I usually use older leaves that are past prime and not likely to make drinkable tea anymore.

I will brew first in a very large Bodum as a strong concentrate, then pour the liquid only into the tub. The TeaBath water literally smells like tea. :D

I have wondered for some time if there is some theraputic benefit/remedy in the TeaBath, but not likely to find supporting studies for this practice anytime soon. It seems logical that it would offer some benefit, maybe. 8) Certainly if nothing else, it could be a sensual or ... ummm, romantic experience.
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Postby Randoom » Feb 28th, '09, 22:43

Chip wrote:Ahhh yes, the TeaBath, though I usually use older leaves that are past prime and not likely to make drinkable tea anymore.

I will brew first in a very large Bodum as a strong concentrate, then pour the liquid only into the tub. The TeaBath water literally smells like tea. :D

I have wondered for some time if there is some theraputic benefit/remedy in the TeaBath, but not likely to find supporting studies for this practice anytime soon. It seems logical that it would offer some benefit, maybe. 8) Certainly if nothing else, it could be a sensual or ... ummm, romantic experience.


Actually there are some researches from a German institute called "Deutscher Teeverband". They tested the preventive and healing affects of green tea relating to cancer on animals.
They got some good results (50% less tumors) with an extract of green tea given on the skin by skin cancer, while drinking it gave no change.
So it maybe that there are health benefits to humans as well.
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Postby gingkoseto » Mar 1st, '09, 00:03

Besides collecting used leaves for a pillow (this seems to take forever and a few times I got wet leaves layered up on the drying tray and they got hairy fungi and I had to discard whole tray of leaves :twisted: ), I also collected small amount of used leaves in little bottles and spray on fragrance made with essential oil (I made some "fragrant water" by mixing essential oil with vodka :lol: ). I like any orange/grapefruit fragrance and rosewood (love jasmine and rose oil too but they are too expensive). Tea leaves are very absorptive and can hold the fragrance for a long time.
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