Aren’t these just the cutest? I was lucky enough to have one of my bestest girlfriends stay with me last weekend, and she brought a very special treat: incredible looseleaf teas, direct from Alaska! We spent one lovely evening-and-well-into-the-night testing tea combinations, chopping cheesecloth, and twisting these adorable little baggies into existence. Full disclosure: there was probably beer involved, too.
Like so many DIY projects, this is actually really easy. It just takes a little planning, a little preparation, and a nice block of time. This was a great ‘group activity’ (unlike some others, which are less exciting in their assembly), and would make an excellent gift. Here’s what you do:
First, get your hands on some unbleached cheesecloth (widely available – check your local ‘healthy market’), some pretty embroidery thread (color to suit your fancy), and some of your favorite looseleaf tea. We used a smokey black lapsang souchong as the base, and lightened it up with spearmint, rose hips, and a vanilla rooibos. Next time I’m going to try my own blend of chai!
Then, get your hands on some cookies. Cookies are part of the process.
Now, you need to combine your teas to find the right ratio. You’ll need a big bowl for the final recipe, and some smaller bowls for test runs. This can become quite a process of mixing, steeping, tasting, modifying, remixing, steeping, tasting, etc. That’s where the cookies come in! Because it’s really rather impossible to get an accurate read on the taste of tea, without an accompanying cookie. Don’t you think?
When you’ve found the perfect ratio, mix a big batch in your big bowl. Then, snip your embroidery thread into 8-inch pieces. You’ll also need to cut the cheese . . . cloth (oh HA! right?) into 6-inch X 6-inch squares. Cheesecloth is sort of a pain to cut, because it’s so darn flimsy. You’ll need very sharp scissors.
To construct your tea bag:
- Lay one 6-inch square piece of cheesecloth on top of another (so it’s doubled up)
- Place a generous tablespoon of your tea mix on the cheesecloths, centered but closer to the edge nearest yourself
- Roll! Roll the tea up in the cheesecloth, just like you would a sushi roll. The more times it folds around over itself, the better. Try to keep the mass of tea centered, so that both ends of the roll are empty and free to move about
- Grab both ends of the roll and fold them up over the mass of tea, so they meet each other above it
- Holding the two ends with one hand, grab your length of embroidery thread and tie it tight around the two ends, binding them together
- Voila! Tea bag!
- Now you can knot your two thread ends together at the tip, or you can make a little tip topper like we did. We just used card stock cut into little squares
- Don’t forget to trim the frayed cheesecloth, so it’s all neat and purty-like!
And that’s really all there is to it! Special thanks to my awesome friend Amber, who actually did the majority of work here. I mostly just took pictures. And ate cookies.