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Tea - the cheapest

 
gardener
Posts: 954
Location: Ohio, USA
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I always thought that buying the cheap teas in the store was less expensive and being not rich, I went for that.

I then planned on some day growing my own, but the work required hasn't worked out for me yet.

Then I had all these friends telling me how wonderful and a good deal loose leaf tea is. "Right," I thought, "if your a conosur with some spare change." Well, I decided to check it out - see what all the rave was. To my surprise, loose leaf was much cheaper- even with the set-up costs. Even better was buying ones marketed as loose leaf herbs, rather than teas.

Compare:
-4 oz of herbs cost $3-4 + $2 for 50 tea bags = $6 for 50+ teas VS. 1.5 oz of herbs+tea bags $3

Loose leaf costs: $0.12 a tea bag
Manufacturer prepared: $0.15 a tea bag

Loose leaf often have more flavor, are fresher, and can be mixed to your own blend. (As well as looking really pretty and fancy)

So, if your in to teas and haven't figured it out, this is my analysis.

...variations from here are growing your own herbs and using tea balls instead of throw-away bags...all reducing costs.
 
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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I go for loose leaf Indian tea ( the small leaf kind) -- at my local Indian store it runs about $7/kg for Brook Bond or Lipton (from India, not the horrid "brisk" tea..)
I make tea by the cup with a teaspoon (3g) of tea in the bottom of the cup(before water!), pour hot water on top, and stir and steep for a few minutes -- drink down to the leaves in the bottom of the cup...
...so I get very nice tea for about 2 cents a cup!
 
Posts: 16
Location: Northern Rivers NSW Australia
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Go a step further (or backwards since I am going to talk about tea bags lol)...I like Chai (Indian spiced tea) which takes ages to make really well from scratch. I found a few good chai tea bag options... but they work out pricey at the rate I consume them. I decided instead to get a bunch of the spices and empty them into a tea caddy with a heap of inexpensive black tea in bags, and give them a mix or shake whenever I am in the kitchen. After a few days the tea tastes of the spices just enough to be delicious.

For those who would like to know, the basic spices are cinnamon sticks, cardomon pods, nutmegs, star anise..and a slice of fresh ginger in the cup finishes the whole thing off.
Yummy and about 25% of the price of the prepared product.
 
Posts: 25
Location: Northern England
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Lots of tea bags are now being made out of stuff that doesn't compost, so there's another good reason to switch.
 
Shep Wallaby
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Location: Northern Rivers NSW Australia
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Megan Wantoch wrote:Lots of tea bags are now being made out of stuff that doesn't compost, so there's another good reason to switch.



That is a really good point, actually.
 
gardener & author
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Location: Equatorial tropics
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Darn right on the loose-leaf tea. I buy jasmine green tea from the Oriental market. A small box is around $4 and lasts forever.

Also, I started growing my own tea in the form of the most excellent "Yaupon Holly."

Nice, caffeinated, earthy flavor, despite its undeserved reputation.

"Ilex Vomitoria" is one of the least-fair botanical names. (Just 'cause the natives drank gallons of the stuff and then vomited on the Spanish, it doesn't mean the tea's no good!)
 
Posts: 3380
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It is SO much cheaper. When my wife first switched, she bought the same $$$ worth of loose tea as she was planning to spend on a month's supply of teabags. Three YEARS later she had to order more, and that is because she gave a lot of it away as gifts.

The bag costs so much more than the tea, a reusable system (basket, ball, hemp or cotton bag, whatever works for you) will pay for itself in a few weeks.
 
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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Eric Thompson wrote:drink down to the leaves in the bottom of the cup...


Good point, although I prefer the classiness of a bombilla.
 
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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Josh T-Hansen wrote:

Eric Thompson wrote:drink down to the leaves in the bottom of the cup...


Good point, although I prefer the classiness of a bombilla.



thats what i was thinking too, who needs the bags? the balls and diffusers never worked well for me,always let stuff out.which i dont mind really ,but still.

i was down in bolivia last year fro a few months, drinking lots of coca tea and other herbs, they sell bombillas (metal tea straws) everywhere, very simple designs.
the one i got was stainless and has a tightly wound spring at the bottom, enough space for the liquids to pass but no leaves or even much particles, i use is all the time!
best 50 cents i ever spent. searching here they are about a 2,000% markup
this is similar to mine.
http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Bombilla-Drinking-Filtered-Argentina/dp/B004LSR8ZM/ref=pd_sim_k_6

 
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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One step further maybe? Grow your own in Zones 7b and south of that. I have a Camellia - can't remember the actual variety name but it is a shrub donated to a museum garden by Charleston Tea Plantation - anyway I have a couple rooted for transplanting. If I can ever get motivated and away from my own garden during daylight hours i will transplant them and try to start growing my own. In the meantime:

Nettles make a fantastic substitute for black tea and are supposed to be so good for you. So far I have had only one measley nettle plant but I hear everyone else saying they are growing all over the place.
 
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As was already mentioned, growing your own is the cheapest option. Lucky enough, we live in zone 7, so we are able to grow many varieties of camellia. The nursery I work at has a decent selection, I think mainly of C. japonica and C. sasanqua, but none of C. sinensis, which is the true tea species, although they said they have had it before, and hope to get it again in the fall. I would definitely like to try the Yaupon Holly though, but I'm not sure it will survive here. Anyone with experience in growing it in zone 7? If you can grow camellia, would you be willing to be that you can grow Yaupon?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1454
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I am 7b/8a and have several hollies. I am lax in keeping up with what varieties though. All are vigorous growers and I have had no problems with cold or heat. I'll have to look into the tea from them - never heard of it.
 
Rob Meyer
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It's said that Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra) is a good yaupon tea alternative.
 
Posts: 22
Location: NW Arkansas
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I really like the idea of matcha tea because you're consuming the nutritional value of the entire leaf instead of just an infusion, but I can't afford to drink it on a regular basis. So I empty three bags of regular green tea into the blender along with the yogurt and berries for my breakfast smoothie every day.
 
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