Hello craf'tea' coterie !
This month was all about creating new things. We tried some pairings, new recipes, and launched new blends. To round it off we are exploring our craf'tea' inner selves! In the spirit of sustainability, we've come up with a few ways you can recycle your steeped tea leaves and tea tins so let's do some DIY with chai.
P.S. If you love chai and you love plants you are going to love what we have to say next.
- TREE TEA (Yup we meant tree tea, not tea tree)
Unlike other tea that may have some "bad stuff" our chai is 100% organic and you can use it for organic gardening. Chai is acidic and full of nutrients that can help plants thrive. So share the tea therapy with your garden! Tea leaves contain 4 off percent nitrogen and improve soil structure, drainage and can help lower your soil pH. Plants like roses, ferns, other acid-loving plants, most fruit and vegetables, and pines all benefit from chai.
- Chai Compost: Toss your steeped tea into a compost pile to help nurture your plants and make them lush and happy with a quick nitrogen boost.
- Topsoil Tea or Bottom of the pot Brew: Sprinkle used tea leaves on the topsoil for a nutrient boost or add them to the bottom of a pot to help balance soil moisture.
- Bug bye brew: Make a mild chai (no milk) re-using strained chai leaves and let this cool, strain it, and put in in a spray bottle. Spray this on the leaves and topsoil of plants. It is anti-fungal and repels bugs.
- Dressing drink: Make a strong chai (no milk) re-using strained chai leaves and let this cool, add this drink to your soil dressing compost pile to help speed up the composting process with a nitrogen boost.
Tree Tea: Make a foliar spray using this recipe by Nicole Faires at EearthEasy (with a twist by the chai bar)
- 2 cups fully finished organic compost (it should smell nice!)
- 1 tablespoon unsulfured blackstrap molasses
- 1 tablespoon liquid kelp fertilizer (or soak kelp meal in water)
- 1 teaspoon liquid fish fertilizer
- (our tip is to add ) 1 cup strained chai leaves
- Put the ingredients into a nylon stocking tie the stocking shut to make a large "tea bag" then use an air pump to aerate the mix. Let this sit for not more than 24 hours and use it within four hours.
- Dilute the tea to a ratio of 1:10 – apply your tea bi-weekly directly to the soil with the sprayer or watering can, or you can also use it as a foliar spray.
So before tossing out your used tea, see if there’s a nearby plant that needs some extra love.
2. TEA TOES (No, we haven't misspelled the name of a nightclub)
Make a relaxing soak for tired feet using brewed Mangalyam
Epsom salt, and a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Epsom salt releases magnesium and sulfate and that with tea helps reduce swelling, muscle soreness, stiffness, and aches. It is also a great anti-fungal and anti-bacterial remedy for foot odor.
Dissolve Epsom salt in hot water, wrap some used Mangalyam tea leaves in a cloth or stocking and dunk this in, top off with a few drops of lavender essential oil and voila- create a luxurious, spa-worthy tea for your toes.
3. SINENSIS SOAK: Craving a royal bath with rose petals? Use some steeped Astrakadir
Soaking in Camellia sinensis (tea leaves) can be just as relaxing as sipping on a cup of chai. Add Astrakadhir to a stocking and let it hang over the bath faucet as you run a bath. Mix in a tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt to ease your tense muscles and add a few drops of rose essential oil. For an exuberant luxurious bath add rose petals. Steep in this Cardamom Rose soak for a much-deserved break and schedule in some self-care.
4. TEA TANG: Once you have brewed Sugrisma
Use the strained chai to elevate the flavor of soups and curries or as a marinade to deepen the flavor of meat.
- Steep chai in broth for soups.
- Poach fish in some strongly brewed tea
- Add brewed tea to vinaigrettes and sauces
- Steep tea in coconut milk to make vegan ice cream.
- Steep milk in tea and add this while baking of a tinge of tea flavor to your vanilla cake.
- Tea leaves and uncooked rice can be used as a base for smoking fish. (Tea'p- you can use green tea for a herbaceous flavor)
- Chai contains tannins which make it a great tenderizer so marinate meat in strong-brewed black tea for several hours or overnight before roasting or grilling.
- Use steeped tea leaves or ground dry tea leaves like a spice or seasoning in your favorite sweet or savory dishes
- Pulse Astitva tea leaves into the flour mixture for tea-infused shortbread cookies.
- Toss a dash of tea leaves into your favorite stir fry or filling.
5. SPICY SCENT:
chai leaves to freshen up the smell of stored clothes or shoes (make sure to keep it away from light fabrics as it can stain)
6. TEA TREATMENT: We wouldn't recommend replacing your regular ointment or beauty care supplies with chai but for an occasional boost you can use tea for skincare. It helps reduce the appearance of acne, bring down the swelling of puffy eyes, and ease the redness of sunburn. You can also mix strained tea with powdered sugar or salt and olive oil to make your skin soft and add a natural glow. (Remember that steeped tea leaves do not keep well for too long so make sure to use them within 24 hours and to do a patch test before slathering it on)
7. BREW BUFF: Use steeped tea leaves to polish unpainted wood, make sure to do a patch test as this can stain light surfaces.
8. THE CHAI BAR PLANTER: Once you have used your chai, you may have some extra tins, you can use these to store other kitchen supplies or turn them into cute planters for rose, marigold and lavender.
You will need 2 or more empty chai tins, a 6-inch long metal mending plate, a drill, and some screws.
Drill 4 drainage holes into the base of each chai tin.
Secure the chai tins to the metal mending plate using a screw (This will add stability to your planter) add a few pebbles to the base of the tin then fill 1/3rd with soil + 2 tsp chai compost and plant a miniature rose, lavender to marigold plant. Place your planter on a sunny windowsill and let love grow.
Now that you have all these creative concepts, get crafting, and share your DIY with chai ideas in the comments below to become the cynosure of the chai community!
Remember, don't waste, get wasted. Just kidding, make responsible choices.
Co-authored by Sargam Merchant and Madura Chaudhari