What To Do With Tea You Don't Like
I find myself having too much tea that I don’t want to drink far too often. Whether it’s from sampling teas for my shop that don’t make the cut, or purchases I later regret, I usually have more tea than I want to drink.
We’ve all been there, and if you’re anything like me, the idea of throwing out tea makes you shudder. What a waste! So, without further ado, 6 things you can do with tea you won’t get around to drinking.
1. Send Your Tea To A Friend
Few gifts are better than tea! If the tea isn’t your taste but others may like it, find a friend who may be interested. For example, I hate heavily roasted or smoked teas. But I know a lot of people who enjoy them, so it wouldn’t be hard to find someone willing to accept it.
Get rid of old tea and make your friend happy at the same time. Or better yet, tell them you bought it as a gift for them! Really try and milk this old tea for all its worth.
2. Swap The Tea Online
Unfortunately there isn’t a single great place for swapping tea online. Your best bet may be teaforum.org - there’s an entire section for swapping tea and teaware. You can also try the subreddit r/teaexchange - it seems a bit dead though.
Another great option (that would take a little bit of effort) would be to make some connections on Instagram. By searching for hashtags like #gongfucha or #chinesetea, you can find and meet others passionate about tea. Once you know a few people, you’ll have more luck finding someone to swap tea with.
3. Blend It With Other Teas
Tea you’re not crazy about is great tea to experiment with! Improve your blending skills by test brewing multiple teas (within the same category) in the same gaiwan or pot. This works well if you have some leftover raw pu’er to blend, or some Indian or Ceylon black teas to blend.
It’s definitely a skill that can be improved, and any extra tea you have lying around can be put to good use this way. Plus, you don’t have to feel bad if it turns out poorly because you were going to get rid of it anyway!
4. Age The Tea
Now I’m not suggesting you fill an entire closet with tea you hate on the chance you won’t hate it as much 5 years from now. But, if you have some tea that you’d like to experiment with, this is an easy option that all the procrastinators out there will appreciate. Just place the tea somewhere out of the way and let it do its thing.
As long as you’ve got some extra space, it can be fun to age tea and try it every year to see how it’s changing. You’ll learn a lot about how tea changes over time. This is an especially good idea for raw pu’er or white tea, as these teas will usually change significantly over the course of a few years.
5. Make Iced Tea
A lot of the faults within a tea suddenly aren’t so noticeable when it’s freezing cold and being enjoyed with a snack. Who would’ve thought?
This can be done by brewing the tea hot, as you would normally, and then placing it in the refrigerator. Or, you can simply throw some leaves into a cup of water and let it cold-brew in the refrigerator overnight. Try them both, because they’ll taste different.
Still not so tasty? Too bitter, perhaps? Just keep adding sugar or agave nectar until it tastes good!
6. Compost The Tea
And finally, we’ve come face to face with our last resort. Composting your tea is always a better option than simply throwing it out. If you’ve got a compost pile in the backyard, then you’re all set.
If not, don’t fret! You still have options if you’re willing to do some research. Some businesses such as MOM’s and Whole Foods have locations that accept compost. Your local government may have a composting program as well. And of course, you can always just toss the tea leaves onto your garden or bury them in your garden if you’re not picky about that.
A lot of the tea I don’t drink is not something I would want to share with other people, so I end up composting most of it. But there are certainly a few that I am aging or waiting to share with friends.
Did I miss anything? I would love to know if you have any other ideas for what to do with tea you aren’t drinking. Please let me know!