12 days of crafting: vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decorFrom December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

I know, it’s not 100% crafted; you will have to step into the kitchen briefly for this one. But even I could handle it.

I don’t remember where I came up with this idea, but somehow I got it in my head last year that I wanted to make some vanilla-infused tea for a bunch of people. So I did.

Tea is such a fun gift, I think – I love relaxing with a warm cup o’ tea, and I love having a good stash of flavors to choose from. The vanilla added a subtle hint of  sweetness to my tea, but you could probably make people just as happy by giving them a regular tea flavor – the presentation is a large part of what makes a gift great!

Want to make a batch to give out this Christmas? Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What kind of tea will the majority of my gift recipients enjoy? Traditional black tea? Fruity? Spicy? Herbal? I knew that a good number of my recipients would really only drink black tea, so that’s what I went with. But there are tons of great teas out there!
  • Do I want to infuse the tea or make a mixture of tea flavors? Since I wanted to infuse my tea, I knew I had to start on it a few weeks in advance so that the vanilla had a chance to sit and infuse the tea leaves. If you aren’t altering the tea, it’s just a matter of assembling your gifts.
  • How will they want to make their tea? Do they have infusers? Will they drink it at work? I knew that a bunch of my people either didn’t have infusers, wouldn’t want to bother with them, or would be drinking the tea at work – so a tea bag was going to meet their needs best.
  • How much do I want to make and how will I package it? A small jar of loose tea per person? A dozen tea bags in a tin? I had a guess (10-12) but made my final decision based on how many tea bags fit into the tins I purchased.

Hopefully those questions will help you form a game plan.

The next step is to research, especially if you’ll be making a large quantity. I looked online and ending up purchasing the tea leaves from an herb store, the vanilla beans from a spice shop (so much cheaper in bulk!), the tea bags from Teavana, and the tins from a bottle company. So do your research based on your needs!

In the mean time, if you are altering your tea in any way, I highly recommend a test run! I just got a small amount of loose tea and a vanilla bean and tried it out for a few days, to make sure it even tasted okay (it did)!

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

Are you interested in how I made my tea?

Basically, I just sliced open a bunch of vanilla beans, scraped out the yummy stuff, and mixed both parts into the loose tea. I think I even chopped up some of the beans for good measure, so that it would stay in the tea while it was brewed. If I had to guess the ratio of tea to vanilla beans, it was probably around one bean for every cup of loose tea. Then I let the deliciousness sit, covered, in a cupboard for a few weeks. I gave it a stir a few times, but I’m not sure that was even necessary.

After the tea was infused with yumminess, it was time for the fun, crafty part!

I cut lengths of thick white cotton thread and some little rectangles of cardstock to attach to the tea bag. The Teavana tea bags worked great – I’d scoop the tea in, then fold the top down. I’d fold the corners in…

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

I tucked one end of the thread under one of the flaps down the middle…

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

Then I folded the top down to form a triangle…

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

Then I positioned the string back over the flap so that it was somewhat centered on the top – I held it down on the other side as well, so that when it got stapled, the staple would secure it on both sides…

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

Next, I stapled it, making sure the thread got stapled on both sides…

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

After that, I folded the cardstock tag over the other end of the string and stapled it.

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

And that’s all it takes to make a cute tea bag!

I packaged them all together in little metal tins. I made up some labels that I put on the top and attached a gift tag with some raffia. They seemed to have been well received, and I’ve even had refill requests from a few people. Don’t forget to make some for yourself!

vanilla-infused english breakfast tea

Again, you could take this idea  a million different ways! I think it would be lovely to put some loose tea in a cute glass jar… the possibilities are endless!

Now go make yourself a cup of tea and think about what kind of tea you’d like to make for people!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball

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