Posted by Taylor at Arbor Teas on September 29, 2010
If you're reading this blog, chances are you're an environmentally-conscious tea drinker like us. While we've made big strides towards comprehensive sustainability (by sticking with
organic tea, carbon-offsetting our business activities, using backyard-compostable packaging, etc.), buying your tea from an eco-friendly company such as ours is only part of the equation - the tea still needs to be brewed! Because we live in a world with limited freshwater resources and a dependence on fossil fuels for energy, we need to do all we can to minimize waste in our daily rituals - including tea drinking! With that in mind, we'd like to offer five quick (but hard-core) tips to help out:
--> Measure Then Fill. Start the process by filling your kettle with the water you intend to use for brewing, pouring in only the amount of water required to fill your teapot. This way, you're not wasting any water, and you're not expending any more energy than necessary to bring the water to the right temperature. If you don't think you'll drink a whole pot, then fill the amount of cups you intend on drinking with water and pour those into your kettle instead.
--> Local Water = Smaller Footprint. We often recommend using natural spring water when brewing your tea for better flavor (or at least dechlorinated tap water). Keep in mind that some areas have local spring water available - so use it! The less distance your spring water has to travel to reach you, the less carbon is emitted to the atmosphere in the process.
--> Refillable Containers Save. If you use spring water or filtered water bought in plastic containers, bring them back to the store to be refilled! This reduces packaging material necessary to transport the water, and typically saves you some cash, too! Many grocery stores and co-ops have machines available to do this (if your's doesn't, go find one that does, or ask management to consider adding this option).
--> Stick With Gas If Possible. Generally-speaking, it's more climate-friendly to use a gas stove than an electric stove or AC-powered (plug-in) kettle. Use a gas stove if you still have one! Gas burns cleaner than coal (which is used to power the vast majority of residential electricity in the United States). Natural gas is definitely not a perfect solution for all of our energy needs, but until technology and renewable energy markets develop further, it's still better than coal. Of course, if you're powering your home or office with solar energy, then an electric range is A-OK!
--> For Electric Stove Users. If you drink your tea with a meal, use the same burner you cooked with to heat your kettle while the burner is still hot! This takes advantage of the residual heat left in the burner, reducing the energy necessary to heat your water. Also, if you plan on re-steeping your tea with left over water boiled for the first infusion, turn the power to the stove off in between infusions, but leave the kettle on top of the stove to absorb the leftover heat.
We'd love to hear your perspective on how to make the tea brewing process more sustainable. Creative ways to make less waste, use less energy or somehow give back to the planet are always welcome! Leave us a comment with your own ideas!