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Picture of Make Reusable Teabags and Coffee Filters
If you are looking to decrease your dependence on paper products a great way to cut down (and save money) is to make some reusable  teabags and coffee filters. While those two items may not seem like much, the cost accumulates over time. And with how ridiculously easy they are to make it is certainly a worthwhile project.
 

 
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
First, you need to be willing to sew a little. Don't worry if you are a novice, this is a great little project to try when you are starting out. I will be using a sewing machine in this instructable but this project can easily be done by hand. So if the task of applying needle and thread to cloth isn't too daunting, gather the following materials -

Tea Bag

1 piece of cotton or muslin (loose weave) 4'' x 3'', larger if desired.
12'' of cotton string
2 charms, buttons, or beads (to act as counter weights to the teabag)

Coffee Filter

2 pieces of 8'' x 6'' loose weave cotton or muslin

And of course needle, thread, and/or sewing machine. Whichever you prefer.

 

Step 2: Tea Bag, Assemble!

Picture of Tea Bag, Assemble!
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1. Tie the beads onto the ends of the string with a not on each side.

2. Fold top of the cotton (4'' side) over the string.  Sew down, being careful not to sew the string.

3. Fold the cotton in half with the string on the outside of the fold. Sew the bottom and outside edge stopping just short of the strings.

4. Turn the bag inside out and VOILA! You are done.

5. Fill with your favorite tea then steep.

For cleaning just rinse out the bag and let dry inside out on a dish rack or hanging from a hook. If it ever gets grungy I throw mine in the top rack of my dishwasher and in comes out fine.
 
teabrit3 years ago
Not sure what you mean about saving money/the cost accumulating over time.

If you're putting teabags inside the teabags, you're not saving anything.

If you're putting loose-leaf tea in the teabags, you would normally use them without a teabag, so I'm not sure what you're actually saving.

I guess if this is an alternative to a tea strainer, it would be cheaper, but that doesn't fit the "accumulation" thing, since you only buy a tea strainer once too.

I guess it would save money on coffee filters though! Maybe that's what you meant.
I use mine in a thermos when I don't have time/am feeling lazy on my way out the door - drop in the bag, the hot water, and get moving. If I were to just drop loose leaf in there, I'd be dealing with debris while trying to drink my tea.
I can see how it's more convenient compared to loose tea, but you haven't really answered my question.

For the cost accumulating over time bit... the idea is that you could use these plus looseleaf tea as an alternative to buying teabags, not as an alternative to buying a tea strainer or infuser. This is essentially a homemade cloth infuser anyway.

I made my own cloth tea bags about an hour ago because my tea ball for loose leaf is to put in a thermos with the lid on. I also wanted a way to store my favorite loose tea in an easily brew-able form in my studio at university, where I spend an obnoxious amount of time.

I keep a regular teapot with a strainer at home for brewing, but it just isn't practical at school. I've heard that paper filters can give your tea a weird taste, and also I like that I can hang these up to dry and fill them with tea pretty much endlessly.

As far as it being more convenient compared to just dropping loose tea in a cup, I like to pull out the leaves after 3-5 minutes or my tea tends to get bitter. This way, there's no debris, and my tea tastes like it should.

unless you use a french press, or a teapot with an infuser, or something similar for your loose leaf tea, it needs to be inside of something so you aren't just drinking a cup full of herbs. :3 There are infusers, metal tea spoons, and many other options.

Sorry, I live in the UK where pretty much every household has a teapot and tea strainer. When I said "use [loose tea] without a teabag" I meant of course in a strainer in a teapot. Dumping it loose into the teapot didn't even occur to me!

At the time of writing (3 years ago) I didn't realise that this wasn't the case everywhere, so I was a bit confused about why you would need something like this. I now know there are countries where even a teapot is "specialist" equipment, so I guess if you had to specifically go out and buy an infuser and didn't already have one, you could make something like this instead.

I still don't really understand the point about the cost accumulating over time though. Like I said already, you only buy the tea infuser once...

Ljmusic teabrit2 months ago
I like making my own spiced chi tea. A good chunk of the spices I use are powdered (because they are cheeper). tea strainers are not fine enough for the powders(at least not ones I can afford). And paper tea bags cost adds up. That's why I think this idea is cool

I have some thin, cotton fabric, but it has a colorful pattern on it...is it okay to use this for a tea bag? I would think so considering white fabric is dyed white but i'm not sure.

PoCassidy4 years ago
I love the reusable teabag idea and have tried it with great success except for when it comes to cleaning the bag. The tea just doesn't seem to want to come loose from the bag and I feel like I spend forever just getting them ready for the next batch. Any suggestions?
SeaSkyShore (author)  PoCassidy4 years ago
I just turn the bag inside out to rinse away any used tea and if anything sticks I can get it off with a quick swipe of an old cleaning toothbrush. Nothing too labor intensive.
Good job! I'm thinking you can also use cheese cloth (or is that too loose a weave?) or a sheer fabric (like organza or chiffon) in order to get a richer brew?
Cheese cloth is just a little too loose a weave for coffee(and sometimes for cheese curd as I have found out). I haven't tried using anything sheer but I imagine that would work fine, just be careful that the cloth you choose won't melt after prolonged exposure to hot water. Please let me know how it works for you. I like my coffee very dark and I found that after I switched to cloth filters (I use cotton) I don't have to use nearly as much grounds as when I used paper filters to get the desired richness. I don't think I will ever switch back to disposables.
SiderAnne5 years ago
I think I just found what to make my brother-in-law and his wife for Christmas! They love loose leaf tea, and this would be an awesome addition to their gift... they love being self-sufficient and having a tiny footprint.
I've usd pretty much the same thing for years as a re-usable bouquet garni. I pop a bunch of appropriate herbs into the little muslin bag and add it to stews/soups. It's much easier than trying to fish out individual herbs/leaves.
SeaSkyShore (author) 5 years ago
I am glad some of you found it handy! My husband and I live on a very tight budget and anything that saves even a few dollars a month helps. Plus I have heard that paper filters can change the flavor of coffee, even make it more bitter. I certainly think that it's more flavorful, but it might just be the coffee tastes better when it costs less to make :)
 
Lola19745 years ago
I used the closed end of a knee high  and then followed the rest of your instructions.
 It even fits in my single pod coffee machine.
capricorn5 years ago
Thanks for sharing my friend :)

I'm sure I'll find good use of this idea :)


ChrysN5 years ago
Nice!
Good job.