Lemon peels in a bowl

Make Your Own Flavoured Teas. Reduce waste and Save money!

Why Make Your Own Flavoured Teas?

Over the past few months in Australia there has been plenty of talk about the rising cost of everyday items, not to mention the increases in electricity and petrol prices. With all of this talk about the rising costs of everyday living, many people, including myself, have been looking at ways to cut down on the monthly grocery bill. One great way to do this is to stop spending on non-essential items, such as flavoured drinks.

Don't get me wrong here. I am not talking about stopping going to your local café and getting a coffee- this is what literally everyone starts with, and to be honest, all that happens when we do this is hurt the already fragile café industry in Australia (I mean after covid I think they need a chance to recover!). By all means, if the budget does not allow a coffee, eliminate it, but what I am suggesting instead is that we stop buying mass produced, plastic water bottles and tea bags, and just make it yourself.

An easy way to do this is with the citrus peel off the orange, mandarin, or lemon that would otherwise go straight into the bin, or hopefully the compost bin. By all means, put it in the compost, but first, use it to make your flavoured teas and waters. At the moment, citrus in Australia is a relatively cheap ingredient as it is a winter crop. It is certainly cheaper than lettuce! Making tea out of the peels, fresh or dried, simply extends the life of the produce and gives you more bang for your buck! In fact if you dry the peels, you can store them for quite some time and enjoy your favourite teas even when the citrus prices increase and they are no longer in season.

citrus peel and tea

Photograph by Gaby Yerden

Benefits of making your own flavoured teas

There are many benefits of making your own flavoured teas.

Firstly it helps your weekly grocery budget so that you are not paying extra for these items.

Secondly it enhances your health. Instead of throwing out valuable nutrients that are found in the peels of fruits and vegetables- provided they have not been chemically sprayed, you are benefitting from them by consuming them. If you can, purchase local organic citrus unless of course you grow your own, or befriend someone with a citrus tree so that you know they have not been sprayed. If you do not know, always wash your produce to remove any pesticide residue.

Making your own flavoured water and tea is also healthier as you are removing the added artificial flavours and sweeteners that some of them contain. Many of the flavoured teas on the market are actually not great for you, especially the iced teas. Whilst they are touted as being a healthy option and are generally healthier than their soda counterparts, you could do a better job yourself.

Last but definitely not least, you are reducing the waste that is going to landfill by using as much of your produce as you can and also by not encouraging  companies to produce excess waste in the form of bottles and tea bags.

Did you know many brands of tea bags actually contain plastics??

If this comes as a surprise to you, you are not alone! It is a weird concept and not one that I was aware of for a long time also. If you love green and black tea but are personally weirded out by drinking plastic in your tea, you can take measures to decrease the amount of plastic that you are using by purchasing loose leaf green tea, instead of tea bags, and adding your own flavourings such as peels and flowers. Many of the tea companies now produce a loose leaf tea due to the increasing awareness of plastics in tea bags and the push for more environmentally sustainable options! In fact as I write this (in the month of July 2022), you can purchase Madura Green Leaf Tea 175g for $6 with a unit price of $3.43 per 100G at Coles, which is actually significantly cheaper per 100g than the green tea bags that are sold, making it not only a more sustainable option, but a cheaper one also. add to this your favourite citrus peels, and some mint from the garden and you have yourself a tea that is both delicious and nutritious, as well as pretty cost effective.

 tea infuser

Photograph by Melanie Dijkstra

Here are some tea recipes that you can easily make yourself, from scraps or easily grown herbs, so that you can simply live better!

A basic recipe to make any Herbal tea is 

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of herbs/spices/flowers/tea

Add to 2 cups of boiling water.

Steep for 3-5 minutes, then taste and adjust according to personal preferences.


Some easy recipes for tea are:

1tbsp green tea leaves, with a couple of slices of lemon peel and sliced ginger. Steep in 1 cup boiling water 3-5 minutes. Strain and add sugar/ honey if desired.

1tbsp black tea leaves. Add a couple slices orange or mandarin peel. Add a small piece cinnamon. Steep in 1 cup boiling water 3-5 minutes. Strain and add sugar/ honey and milk of choice.

1 tbsp green tea leaves and a couple of slices of any combination of citrus peel, seriously you cannot really go wrong with green tea and citrus. Steep 3-5 minutes and strain.


If you have any favourite tea recipes, feel free to share them in the comments!

*Featured Image by Jeff Siepman



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