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Do-It-Yourself Teabags


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Jun 22, 2009, 11:59am Top

Many people are suspicious of what goes into teabags.

Many people find teabags contain too much tea, preferring a weaker brew, and resenting the waste that results from practising 'the withdrawal method'.

Many people like special teas that aren't marketed in teabags, and need to take them along in circumstances such as travelling.

There is a potential solution available, in packs of empty teabags that you fill yourself with your own tea. The ones I've found are Japanese, supplied by ChaCult Gmbh of Hamburg, Germany, in packs of 64. Presumably available through outlets worldwide, but they're (understandably) lightweight for posting.

I'm intending to fill some for my next travels, as a replacement for the paraphernalia of strainer equipment I usually use with my favourite Oolong.

Has anyone any experience of these?

Jun 22, 2009, 12:08pm Top

I buy these (paper filters) from Adagio Teas, for when I'm at school or out and about. Very handy, and reasonably cheap, at $3 for 100. In fact, I was just about to fill a bunch of these, as I'm going on a week-long trip to visit family.

Jun 22, 2009, 1:56pm Top

You can also find them at Stash Tea, or if you're lucky enough to have a Teavana in your area, you can buy them at the shop.

Really like mine; enables me to have "the good stuff" at work.

Jun 23, 2009, 10:27pm Top

I have three washable, reusable cotton teabags with a drawstring closure. I've used them for years. They've gone from off-white to brown, but they've worked fine. I have no idea where I got them.


Jun 23, 2009, 10:30pm Top

>1 CliffordDorset: CliffordDorset... What a good idea. I wonder if I can buy them locally - in Australia. I'll definitely have a look for them.

Jun 24, 2009, 7:51pm Top

Wouldn't be too hard to make them; what kind of fabric are they, Os? Something like cheescloth, or like organza?

Jun 24, 2009, 7:57pm Top

Ahhh, fabric types - not well versed in this topic, I'm afraid. Heavier than cheescloth, and quite coarse. The nice thing is that they are larger than a paper teabag, and so the tea has room to expand without getting squeezed, making for a better brew. A little to big for a teacup, but okay for a mug/beaker and perfect for a small pot.


Edited: Jun 25, 2009, 2:48pm Top

Lightweight muslin, maybe? I think you can find some that's almost sheer.

Jun 25, 2009, 4:13pm Top

I've used pre-loaded teabags from France that were made of a fabric like a denser version of cheesecloth, and the Tea Forte and other vendors use something that looks like organza, and they have worked fine. The French ones look charmingly home-made - little drawstring bags, as Osbaldistone describes.

I'll have to look at the tin tonight and see what brand they were.

Jun 25, 2009, 5:27pm Top

I myself use a teaball and use whatever loose leaf I want.

Jun 25, 2009, 6:17pm Top

I used to have a teaspoon! seriously! A spoon with a hinged top and holes to filter the tea!

Jun 26, 2009, 10:55am Top

I have the Adagio ones because well...they're a pretty good deal and seem to work quite well.

Is anyone else besides me inspired to make their own cloth teabags now? (Good luck to me on finding the right material and figuring out how to do it...)

Edited: Aug 5, 2009, 7:33pm Top

Okay, before anybody gets hurt, I'm posting an image of the cloth bags I've been using. One is obviously unused. It's almost 4 inches across at the top, and a little over 2 inches across at the bottom. It's not even close to being a sheer material - as I said, coarse and pretty heavy.

The used ones look like you'd expect from making tea for several years. One is turned inside out, showing the seams.

No indication of manufacturer.

Hope this is helpful.


Jun 27, 2009, 5:21pm Top

#14: Thank you!

Jun 28, 2009, 2:45am Top

Thanks, Os! Very clear picture.

Jul 6, 2009, 7:52pm Top

What is the 'withdrawal method?' I also use a cloth bag for my tea, but the cloth is less course than Os, as well as a mesh strainer. I have used tea balls in the past, but I found that they didn't allow the tea to expand so the tea did not steep well.

Jul 7, 2009, 5:44am Top

There are many different practices, offering different degrees of sensory satisfaction, known as 'the withdrawal method'! I know of only one that directly concerns teabags, however.

My intention here was therefore to highlight the fact that a commercial teabag contains a predetermined quantum of tea. For any preferred time of immersion, the resulting beverage may be too strong. Conversely, for a given strength of beverage, not all of the flavour may have emerged by the time of withdrawal.

You may. of course, wish to re-use the item, but otherwise, some tea is wasted compared to a technique in which the quantity of tea is reduced before preparation, a measure not possible with a (sealed) commercial teabag.

Jul 7, 2009, 8:19am Top

I've just started using one of these and so far am very pleased. A bit pricey but looks nice and very easy to use.

Jul 7, 2009, 10:49am Top

19 - Is that Tavalon? Looks like something they'd have.

I have a variety of filtery thingys at work, but I really need to remember to prepare my own teabags for when I'll be out for a while. HATE getting stuck with diner "tea". Going to someone's house for an evening, though, I'd probably take whatever they served - or else I'd look like a fussy snob (more than usual).

Jul 7, 2009, 11:48am Top

Dangerous moment then.

I'd never heard of Tavalon so googled them and was about to spend stupid money on tea only to discover that they don't ship to Europe. (If I've misunderstood this please don't correct me or my children might starve).

Actually I bought it from the DesignTorget in Stockholm airport and it's made by a company called blomus.

Edited: Aug 2, 2009, 10:10am Top

I was just looking around on a site called Dragonwater Tea Company. They sell muslin tea bags. They look like they'd be pretty easy to make, although their prices don't look too bad if you just wanted to buy one.


Aug 2, 2009, 6:27pm Top

The teas I like tend to have big leaves, and I would expect it would be awkward getting them out of a re-usable (muslin) bag and into the compost. And big-leaf tea carries the hazard of blocking sinks.

One advantage of throwaway paper bags is that the bags themselves go into the compost, too, after tearing them to aid the process.

Aug 2, 2009, 7:38pm Top

FIrst, a larger bag allows the tea leaves to expand, leading to a better brew (the bitter tannins don't get squeezed out of the leaves). Second, you simply turn the cloth bag inside out, and the spent leaves fall into the compost container. Give it a quick rinse, and hang it up to dry for the next use. Easy. Been doing it this way for several years (see post 14).


Nov 19, 2009, 7:56pm Top

Recently I've been using a 'Tisaniere Mug', which has a metal mesh removable insert into which you put your tea leaves. I'm very pleased with it. Here's a link to relevant page on the retailer's site. I'm not a spammer and hope I'm not doing the wrong thing here, but I want you to see a picture of said mug and insert and don't know how to do the picture thing any other way. If this violates the TOS just let me know and I'll delete this post.


Nov 19, 2009, 10:57pm Top

I use T-Sacs. Work fine and relatively inexpensive and easy to find


Nov 19, 2009, 11:34pm Top

The T-Sacs look handy majkia. I suppose I particularly like the metal mesh 'infuser' (see post 25) because it will probably last for a long time and possibly end up costing me less than the 'disposable' filter bags. Also I don't have any of those 'Damn I've run out of tea-bags/filters' moments.

It's good to know about all these alternatives though. Interesting.

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