Earlier this week, we suggested some steps you can take toward a more eco-conscious cup of Joe. But we realize that coffee isn’t everyone’s go-to caffeinated beverage. In other words: we hear you, tea people, and today we’ll help you green your brew, too.
Buy loose-leaf tea: Opt for loose leaf tea over disposable tea bags, which use carbon-intensive packaging materials. Many tea bags also contain polypropylene mesh, which can take several years to degrade. Additionally, bagged tea is often machine processed, producing a larger carbon footprint than loose leaf tea, which tends to be hand-picked. If you do purchase tea bags, make sure they’re biodegradable and unbleached. Avoid bags with staples, strings, or tags.
Minimize your water footprint: Only pour enough water to fill your cup to avoid wasting energy boiling what you won’t drink anyway. If it’s safe, use local tap water to brew your tea.
Cold-brew your iced tea: With summer just around the corner, cool off with some cold-brew iced tea. It not only tastes sweeter and smoother than traditional hot-brewed iced tea, but it spares the energy needed to boil your water, relying mainly on an already-running appliance—your refrigerator.
To cold-brew your own iced tea, add about 1.5 times the amount of tea you'd normally use to a pitcher. Pour in cold water, add a lid, and let sit in the fridge for about 4-10 hours. White teas, green teas, and flat oolongs need less time to sit, while rolled oolongs require more time. Herbal infusions and black teas usually need to sit the full ten hours. Strain and enjoy.