People love caffeine. They drink coffee, tea, and hot cocoa, or sip other caffeinated beverages such as soda or energy drinks every day…sometimes all day long. I won’t tell you that caffeine is a good thing, but I think that it’s ok for most people in moderation.
Research shows that drinking soda and energy drinks is not good for us. Sipping moderate amounts of coffee, tea, and cocoa is a quick way to energize and consume antioxidants that are good for us! We buy organic coffee, tea, and chocolate in our household to ensure we are not exposing ourselves to toxins while we imbibe in a little caffeinated pick me up. I also do my best to order fair trade products whenever possible so I know that the workers are paid fair wages.
Homemade and Frugal
Purchasing organic, fair trade products can put a strain on the pocketbook, however. So I look for ways to reduce the cost of consuming them. I make my own hot cocoa mix now and it tastes great. I’ll share my recipe before the warm weather returns. 🙂 We also purchase whole bean organic coffee to grind and brew in our coffee maker when we want a fresh cuppa Joe. No Starbucks on the way to work for this family. And I am slowly stocking up on loose leaf, organic, fair trade tea from my buying club.
Buying in Bulk to Save Money
Loose leaf tea generally comes in one pound foil packets and the cost ranges from around $15/pound up to $21/pound (for the organic version, you will spend less on conventional). This sounds like a lot of money, but consider this: one pound is generally around 6 cups of tea; a tea bag normally contains 1tablespoon of tea leaves; there are 16 tablespoons in one cup so 6 cups of tea leaves will make 96 cups of tea. Most specialty boxes of tea run around $3.50 to $4.50 for 16 to 24 tea bags.
I haven’t found a conversion chart for comparing the cost of loose leaf tea to tea bags. However, here is an example…I used to buy Irish Breakfast tea in bags. The approximate cost was $3.45 for 16 tea bags (I assume it is higher now). To replace the tea bags, I ordered organic, fair trade Irish Breakfast tea from my buying club for roughly $13 per pound. That 1 pound package contained the same amount of tea as 96 tea bags. That is the same as purchasing 6 boxes of tea for approximately $20.70 plus tax. Since I drink a lot of this tea, I am saving $7.70 by purchasing the tea in bulk. Plus this tea is organic, fair trade, and the packaging is minimal in comparison to 6 boxes with individually wrapped tea bags. Win, Win!
To be fair, I am ordering my loose leaf tea from a wholesale catalog through my buying club. For those of you who are not interested in ordering bulk quantities through a buying club, check out the Rishi Tea Company. They sell quality organic, fair trade tea and are based in Milwaukee, WI…just a hop, skip and a jump from my house. 🙂
To make your loose leaf tea, you will need a tea ball, reusable tea bag, cheese cloth, or a tea pot with an infuser. You can also add your tea leaves loose and then strain the tea before drinking. I like having control over how strong I make my cup of tea, without putting in an extra tea bag for a hearty pick me up. It’s fun to add a few cloves, a chunk of cinnamon bark, orange or lemon peel, or other flavors to my Irish Breakfast tea for a refreshing change.