It’s Tea time with Yvette Arizala!

by yogalife_user
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Photo courtesy Charlotte May

With her fascination for tea, food, and travel, she carefully selects premium artisan loose leaf teas from the East. Her collection is distinct and mostly limited to fresh, recent harvest teas from small tea farms. As she says, “you had me at Oolong tea!“ Yvette Arizala shares her Tea-riffic tales with us and takes us on an aromatic journey with tea!


If you’re like us, you’ve likely accumulated a lot of teas over time. Oftentimes, we forget about what we have in the pantry and teas become old. Old or poorly stored teas won’t go bad per se, but they will lose their aroma, flavor, and color over time. Whichever the case, there are many creative ways to use old and used teas.

Here are some of our favorite ways to revive & reuse old teas that we love to do:

1. Add fruits, herbs, roots & flowers to infuse flavor

If you have old teas, they’ll become less flavorful, stale, or become weaker in taste over time. Try adding some fresh fruits, herbs, ginger root, or cinnamon bark to bring some life into your tea, whether it’s a hot brew or iced tea. If you’re making Cold Brew or regular Iced Tea, double the tea dosage (teabag or loose-leaf) and add your favorite fruits or herbs to brighten up its flavor. You can check out “How to make Cold Brew Ice Tea” here.

2. Roast your Tea

Photo courtesy Yvette Arizala
Photo courtesy Yvette Arizala

If you have old Japanese Sencha, Kukicha (Twig Stem tea), or Oolong at home, you can roast them in a pan or Horoku until they turn golden brown. Put the dry tea in a skillet, then toss and swirl frequently in low heat, until you reach your desired roasting level. It requires a bit of practice, so just be careful not to burn it, as this can easily happen. Roasted Kukicha reminds us of Hojicha–very earthy, nutty & chocolatey.

3. Grind & pulverize your tea and use as a cooking ingredient

We’re big home cooks ourselves and love to incorporate tea into our food. 

  • You can grind dry tea leaves and add salt & spices and use a dry rub for meat/fish, or use it as a seasoning to savory dishes.
  • For desserts, you can grind or pulse Early Grey or Jasmine tea and mix with flour for ‘tea-infused’ crust or cookies. 
Lapsang Souchong – Black Tea vegan cheese
  • Matcha green tea powder is another great ingredient to use in cakes, pastries, chia pudding, smoothies, etc. 
Butterfly Pea Tea Chia Pudding
  • You can also use ‘brewed tea’ to make sorbets, granitas, and ice cream. Poached pears or apples with smoked black tea are also decadent with honey.
Photo courtesy Tijana DrnDarsky
  • You can brew Roasted teas such as Lapsang Souchong or Hojicha and use them as a broth base to Soups or use to poach fish. 

4. Neutralize Household Odors 

Dry tea leaves are highly absorbent and attract odor from anything it comes in contact with, which is why it’s important to store them in an opaque, airtight container, away from strong odors or spices.

  • If you have pets, specifically cats, for example, you can sprinkle them in a cat litter box to absorb the odor.
  • Dry tea leaves are also good at absorbing fridge odors, just like baking soda. Put some in an open jar and use them for about 3 days. This applies to old smelly shoes as well, by using old teabags.
  • Carpet is another good use for dried tea leaves. Let them sit for 20 minutes and vacuum. This is great if you have a flavored scented tea bag.

There are many other ways of using stale or used Tea leaves that we’ve come across but have yet to try. Another way is to feed your garden, by using damp tea leaves around the base of your plants to fertilize the soil and deter pests. Dark Teas have also been used for dyeing paper, fabrics & easter eggs, and renewing wood surfaces. We’ve also come across Teas as cleaning products– removing grease, minimize streaks & dust.

There are many creative ways to incorporate tea into your food. Definitely experiment and have fun with it! What has been your experience? 

Article by:

Yvette Arizala – Founder of yv et té (Coming Soon), Special Member of the World Green Tea Association, Yoga enthusiast & Animal welfare advocate

Instagram: @yvetteteas

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