Every once in a while when I’m in the midst of trying to figure something out, I end up making some other fun discovery at the same time. And that’s exactly what happened a few years ago when I was trying to make homemade flavored tea with loose tea and ground spices. That approach didn’t turn out liked I hoped it would – BUT – in the course of that experiment I learned I could make my own tea bags
Now, I don’t make homemade tea bags all the time because let’s face it, there are lots of wonderful ready-made tea bags on the store shelves. But recently I saw some interesting loose teas at my local health food store and I didn’t hesitate to buy some (my current favorite is their organic bancha green tea) because I knew I could quickly make some homemade tea bags for using it. It doesn’t take much time and effort at all to create these DIY tea bags, and yes, it’s even kind of fun!
Another reason to make your own tea bags is that loose tea is thought to have superior taste because it’s made from the whole leaf rather than the smaller tea “fannings” used in ready-made tea bags. Plus, homemade tea bags can also be a cute gift idea customized with pretty string like a baker’s twine, colorful tags made from scrapbook paper, or with specialty flavored or organic loose teas that you can’t find ready-made in the stores.
To make your DIY tea bags, you’ll need some coffee filters, string or heavy thread, and loose tea. (I used to use the basic Lipton loose tea that can usually be found on grocery store shelves but as mentioned above, I’m now enjoying green tea instead). You’ll also need a scissors and a stapler. Finally, a small bit of pretty paper or card stock is nice to make a “tab” at the top of your string for holding as you dunk your tea bags.
Here’s the complete step-by-step process with photos:
1. Flatten out a coffee filter and then cut a little bit off each side to make a more rectangular shape.
2. Put about a teaspoon of loose tea in the center of the coffee filter.
3. Fold the coffee filter in half the long way, closing the tea inside.
4. Then fold the long sides back towards the middle, folding it over three times, making small folds.
5. Now that the tea is folded inside, you’ll want to re-center things, kind of rolling the package so that the folded seam is going down the middle.
6. Next fold the filter package in half.
7. I then cut about 3/4″ off the top so that the package wasn’t so long and skinny and was more the shape of a traditional tea bag.
8. Fold in the two top edges so that the top now comes to a point.
9. Fold over the top point of your filter package just a little bit. Lay a 5″ piece of string on top, and then staple. This will seal the package shut and also attach the string.
10. To make a little tab for the end of your string, cut a 1″ x 2″ piece of paper and fold it in half. Place the end of the string inside and then staple, centering the stapler over the string when stapling. Sometimes I also use double-sided tape inside the piece of paper (instead of the stapler) for securing the tab to the string.
Now you have your very own homemade tea bag!
Depending on how much you cut off your coffee filter in step 1, and how big or little your folds are in step 4, you can end up with skinny tea bags or fat tea bags, but in my opinion tea bags of all sizes and shapes are welcome.
I hope you’ll enjoy making your own tea bags too. I have a hunch you will!
Beverly Leestma is the author of the blog TheMakeYourOwnZone.com where she shares her love of crafting, creating homemade alternatives to store bought items, frugal strategies, and finding new and resourceful ways to use ordinary things. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA where she can often be found snuggled under a blanket with a hot cup of tea and a good book.