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Discussion Starter #1
So some background for me, I'm a bit of a tea connoisseur (snob, as my mother says it), and I generally have about 20 different types/blends of tea on hand at any given moment. I have a stash at work, and a separate stash at home, and I usually make at least 1-3 cups for myself and my wife every day. Something to note is I avoid tea bags like the plague, and my teas are all loose leaf. It makes for longer brewing times, but the results are consistently much better.

As much as I dislike bagged tea, however, it's become one of those weird things I keep on hand and put in every BOB or GHB I own for a number of reasons that I thought I'd share. I haven't seen many tea threads here, so I thought it was worth discussing, in case anyone else had ideas.

Obviously, the primary use for tea in a BOB would be to improve water taste and quality. Using a filter works to get rid of nasty stuff in water, but the taste is often not great. Plus, if you're going to boil water to purify, I figure why not drop a tea bag in for a quick steep to make it taste better. Best part about this, and something most people don't do, is you can reuse tea that's been steeped already. The flavor grows weaker, but it still works as long as it isn't spoiled or moldy. Loose leaf tea is even better for this, and I regularly resteep the same leaves up to 10 times, depending on the blend (works best with black tea).

Different types of tea (black, green, herbal, etc.) all have different nutritional and medical benefits, as well. It's a common notion that green tea is good for antioxidants, and supposedly can help fight cancer and inflammation. Many herbal teas can also do similar things, and some teas, like pine needle tea, are a decent source of vitamin C.

As far as non-food uses, there are several. The main one that comes to mind for me is tinder. Since tea is ultimately a bunch of dried leaves, it makes perfect sense to use it as tinder. Once you've exhausted the use of a tea bag for drinking and internal warming, it can be dried, cut open, and used to externally warm up. Since many of us here are all about the multi-use idea of our gear, this is a big plus.

Finally, for use at home, tea has many uses for gardening. Along with coffee grounds, the smell of tea can deter bugs and pests, or even cats. Tea bags can be composted (especially if British-made bags are made with manilla hemp), can add extra nutrients to dirt, and can help new seeds and seedlings germinate as a localized fertilizer and food source. Tea also helps with water retention and can attract worms for aeration and composting.

If you have any other uses for tea and tea bags, I'd love to hear it. All this is probably only a small sampling of what is possible, but more than enough, in my opinion, to pack a few tea bags with my gear and in my cabinets.
 

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Retired Army
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I say we throw all of the tea in Boston Harbor (purely for ceremony) and then march on Washington DC. (relax, I'm joking)

No matter how I write my response it sounds like I am being an ass but, I have gone 60 years with a need for any kind of tea and can probably go another 60. I don't believe that tea is "necessary" for survival.

Al
 

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A bit of humor:
I was making my wife a cup of Earl Grey every morning and tossing tea bags into the woods to recycle. Some caught on undergrowth. My son was visiting and helping with some things and came indoors laughing. He thought I was tagging plants for identification but reading a tag found it said Earl Grey.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I say we throw all of the tea in Boston Harbor (purely for ceremony) and then march on Washington DC. (relax, I'm joking)

No matter how I write my response it sounds like I am being an ass but, I have gone 60 years with a need for any kind of tea and can probably go another 60. I don't believe that tea is "necessary" for survival.

Al
I certainly wouldn't call it necessary for survival, but more of an easily-packed luxury. I'd also go so far to say that if SHTF, it's at very least a potential barter item with other uses beyond drinking.
 

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Jackpine Savage
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Not a fan of tea here having said that my wife likes an evening cup, so she keeps jars of leaves that we have dehydrated. Raspberry, wintergreen, catnip, and chocolate mint. The stuff she can pick on our property. Don't know how long they will last, but shelf life seems good so far, and if I run out of coffee I'll be glad to give it a shot.
 

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I've not had a proppa cuppa from a teabag. Me Sainted Mother would be appalled!

I buy loose tea, preferably from
https://www.sfherb.com/Ceylon-Tea--1-Lb_p_60.html unless one of my missionary friends I help support is visiting the states and can bring me some direct from the plantation in Galle.

Camellia sinensis from Galle, Sri Lanka is a very fine, low-grown (under 1000 feet), broken leaf tea that produces a dark cup with a good body that is mellow and brisk. This tea holds up well to the addition of milk (or Admiralty rum after the dog watch). In the US it is commonly used as a base for blended teas. It is of the same type favored for chai in India or breakfast teas in England and is very similar to tea served in the mess on ships of the British Royal Navy.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Loose leaf is definitely better, though not as convenient as a bag. I'll use a tea bag if I'm forced, but my good collection is all loose leaf. Sri Lanka makes very good tea, as does China and Kenya (Irish Breakfast is a favorite of mine that is largely a blend of Kenyan black tea and Ceylon). The attached picture is a new tea I just got in from Adagio. Black tea dried in a tangerine skin for big orange flavor.
 

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BASS
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I often buy it when it is on sale. I am not a "tea snob" but know what I like. Properly stored it will last a long time. It also takes up a lot less space than coffee.
 

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gard'ner
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Tea doesn't store well... Like coffee, loses flavor fairly soon despite our best efforts.

Luckily, camelia sinensis is an easily grown shrub for the southern gardener... Plus the native ilex vomitoria shrub is likely already on the property...

Planting herbs to flavor the tea... Monarda for the earl grey for example.... Something I'm already doing....

Mostly, I'd rather drink coffee, but it's important to have a backup, and camelia and ilex are a lot easier to grow than coffea.
 

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Tea doesn't store well... Like coffee, loses flavor fairly soon despite our best efforts...
I transfer loose tea from its plastic shrink-wrapped brick into half-pint glass jars with new canning lids as soon as I get it. A quantity of these, stacked in an airtight, gasketed military ammunition can are well protected and keep fresh for years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I transfer loose tea from its plastic shrink-wrapped brick into half-pint glass jars with new canning lids as soon as I get it. A quantity of these, stacked in an airtight, gasketed military ammunition can are well protected and keep fresh for years.
In a way, tea leaves need to be treated like beer. Airtight containers and protection from light and heat, and they should last a while. I have green teas of different types I bought from Teavana over 5 years ago that still tastes just fine (back before a certain coffee company made them go bye-bye). A lot of companies sell in airtight mylar bags, and Adagio sells swing-top gasket cans that do a fairly good job, aside from the clear lid.
 

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I would think that tea protected from air and light would store well. Ours are delivered in sealed mylar bags. They are very aromatic whenever they are opened.
Some teas, like Pu-Erh, are more prized the older they get. I think it's kind of fermented but not sure. I have a few disks of that. Good stuff.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

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I have packed 800 bags of tea in a five gallon bucket with mylar and O2 absorbers. Still in the bags and paper wrapper. It is low quality but it was also cheap when baught in 100ct boxes from Walmart. I also rotate through a supply of loose leaf tea, and boxes of Tea India ginger chai tea. Which I buy from the Indian food store.
 

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Those dark brown canning jars they came out with a while back seem to do a good job for this barbaric tea snob!

Bagged tea mostly for traveling since most places have nasty water anyway and can’t make really good tea with most tap water!

SD
 

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My grandmother, Scottish background, was a 10:00 and 2:30 tea break person. Not a drop-the-bag-in-the-cup kind; pre-heat the earthen pot, infuse with a cozy cover, wait, then pour kind. Her version of getting off of her feet, and getting a pick-me-up.

I can see tea having that kind of purpose, when the world drifts sideways; take a breather, reflect, get a bit of a hit of caffeine, and a (brief) moment of comfort. Or comfort ritual that takes you 'home'. Maybe it helps the imbiber recall a bit of what they've lost/fighting for/working to build.

Good topic; thanks!
 

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Tea was Britain’s secret weapon during WW2 and one of its most visible symbols of national unity. There were news stories of how tea was a social binding force in the days of the London Blitz where, night after night, fires blazed from bombed buildings, women and children huddled in the underground railway tunnels and the air raid sirens were a daily threnody.

Tea was powerful symbolically and practically. Churchill is reputed to have called tea more important than ammunition. He ordered that all sailors on Royal Navy ships have unlimited tea. Its perceived value in boosting morale not just in Britain is illustrated by the Royal Air Force dropping 75,000 tea bombs in a single night over the occupied Netherlands. Each contained one ounce bags of tea from the Dutch East Indies and was marked “The Netherlands will rise again. Chins up.”

Every one of the 20 million Red Cross packages sent to prisoners of war contained a quarter pound package of Twinings.

Tea helped restore at least a semblance of calm and normality in turbulence and danger. Its essence is that it is warm and comforting. It also provided an egalitarian sharing space in a society of rigid class distinctions. In the air raids, local Air Raid Wardens and Auxiliaries, mostly women, served tea to anyone, forming huddles, bringing strangers together, and providing a center for medical help.

Tea played a critical role in the British Army, with many historians attributing at least part of its success in the almost never-ending military campaigns, many of them small colonial policing actions. One of the keys that distinguished it from every other European fighting force was that its embedding or tea in its routines greatly reduced the reliance on alcohol to calm troops as they prepared for battle, relax them at its end and keep them sober and alert while they sat around waiting.
 

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Obviously, the primary use for tea in a BOB would be to improve water taste and quality.
What I see is obvious is the need to improve the quality of your filtration.

If you have a problem with the taste of water then it is either that you don't filter well enough or you just don't like the taste of plain water. Both are a real problem. Tea isn't always appropriate to drink because of the caffeine and diuretic effects. Tea is the wrong choice in prolonged arid or hot situations.

You should be solving both your water issues first before thinking about tea on the trail. Learn to filter better and learn to like drinking plain water first.
 
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reluctant sinner
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I drink a gallon of tea every day, hot or cold. First cup or two I add a spoonful of jello, all get a shake of cinnamon. I still have coffee now and then but it will annoy my empty stomach unlike the tea.

White pine needles for vitamin C tea. Wild rose hips are a better choice.

Chicory grows wild here, some day I'll try it, but I'd rather have the Chamomile that also grows here.
 

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In Memory
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I don't generally drink much tea. But in the hot summer months, I do knock down an iced tea / lemonade mix, sweetened with stevia.

We eat mess hall style at our BOL & always have a tea & coffee pot going. A lot of the crew drink tea instead of coffee.

I do have a considerable amount of mylar packed tea in LTS.
 
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