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Herbal teas are a great way to enjoy a variety of different flavors while also benefiting from the nutrients and beneficial properties of the herbs. Lately, though, the cost of herbal teas seems to be going up and up, and for those who want to be able to enjoy herbal teas without going over their budget it’s helpful to find ways to save money on herbal tea.
If you drink herbal tea only occasionally then the increased cost of herbal teas recently might not be a big problem for you. But if you’re like me and you drink herbal teas regularly twice or more a day, then the extra cost adds up quickly. I’ve noticed that one brand of herbal tea I often buy has gone up over $2 a box within just a year or so. $2 doesn’t seem like much, but when you go through boxes of tea frequently you notice the cost more.
Since I still want to keep on drinking herbal teas, I wanted to find some ways to make drinking them more affordable because the cost of herbal teas probably isn’t going to go down any time in the near future. These ways to save money on herbal tea are things that I’m working on doing more of this year so that I can keep on enjoying my herbal teas without having to spend so much money on them.
Buy Herbs in Bulk
Buying herbs in bulk can really save you a lot of money on herbal tea. In the past I didn’t buy as many herbs in bulk because the initial cost always seemed like a lot and it was just more convenient to grab a box of tea bags from the store that were all ready to go. But then when I actually did the math I realized how much cheaper it ends up being to buy loose leaf herbs in bulk and make your own tea bags at home. Some herbs are more expensive than others, but if you look at the ounces on a box of herbal tea bags and compare the cost of that to the cost of a 1/2 pound or a pound of a bulk herb, it is usually significantly cheaper to buy the bulk quantity.
For example, I recently bought 1 lb. of dried tulsi leaves in bulk for about $18. The cost of the box of individual tea bags of tulsi that I used to buy had gone up to about $6 a box at the store for 18 tea bags and just a little bit over an ounce of tea by weight (1.14 ounces). So if I were to buy one pound worth of tea in individual tea bags I would have to spend around $84 to get the same amount of tea as the one pound bulk bag! Math isn’t exactly my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure that works out to around $66 of savings for tulsi tea.
I didn’t include the cost of paper tea filters in that figure, but since the tea filters I usually use end up being only about $0.05 for each cup of tea, it’s still significantly cheaper. (These chlorine-free tea filters from Vitacost are the ones I usually use, and if those are out of stock or if I’m placing an Amazon order anyways then I will sometimes get these chlorine-free tea filters from Amazon even though they are a bit more expensive.) If I made my homemade tea bags the same size as the store bought tea bags, I figured out that I could get 250 bags of tea out of the bulk one pound bag of tulsi leaves. So with $18 total for the cost of the bulk leaves that means that each serving of tulsi tea would cost about $0.07 plus the cost of the paper tea bag itself, so I would end up with a total of $0.12 for each cup of tea instead of the $0.33 per bag that it would cost for the store bought, individually wrapped tea bags.
If you want to save even more money or if you want to avoid using disposable products you could also use a re-usable stainless steel mesh tea filter. There are lots of different styles of these, and since they are a one-time cost you can save a lot of money over time with not having to buy single-use paper tea filters. I have to admit, though, that I don’t use my re-usable tea filter very much. I should probably start using it more often. I find that I like the convenience of being able to make up bags of tea ahead of time so that when I’m ready to make a cup of tea I can just grab a bag that is all ready to go. I also like not having to wash out the strainer after each cup of tea because if it’s a morning where I’m in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time or an evening where I’m getting really tired and don’t feel like doing it before bed, it’s really nice sometimes to have a disposable tea filter. But using re-usable filters is a great way to reduce the cost of herbal teas even further.
Since math has always been my least favorite subject in school, I don’t actually sit down and do the math like this as often as I probably should, but now that I’ve realized how much I can save on herbal tea I think I need to do that a lot more often! I’ve always known that buying in bulk can save you money, but knowing that in a general sense and actually figuring out specifically how much you would save is a completely different story.
Where To Buy Herbs in Bulk
Occasionally you might find bulk herbs in a local health foods store. If you don’t have any stores nearby that offer bulk herbs or if the selection is small and you can’t find the herbs you are looking for, then you can find bulk herbs online from several different sources. Here are a few that come to mind. I’ve ordered herbs from some of these places, and some of them are ones that I’ve heard of and haven’t shopped at yet but may in the future.
Grow Your Own Herbs for Tea
Another way to save even more money on herbal tea is to grow some of your own herbs. Depending where you live, this may or may not be something that you can do on a large scale, but even if you just have a few potted herbs out on a porch or balcony, you can still grow a decent amount of herbs to reduce the total amount of herbs that you have to buy.
There might be some herbs you usually use in tea that would be difficult to grow in the climate where you live. If some of the herbs you usually buy require very warm, tropical climates, then if you live in the North with a cooler climate then those probably aren’t herbs that would make sense for you to try to grow yourself. But there are many herbs that will grow quite well in a backyard garden or even in containers.
A few common tea herbs that are typically pretty easy to grow are:
- Lemon Balm
- Temperate Tulsi
That’s just a short list of ones that came to my mind, but if you check the growing information for any herb that you like to have as an herbal tea you can find out if it is one that would work well for your climate and hardiness zone if it is a perennial herb.
There are even some herbs that you might find growing wild on your property already that you might be able to forage for. Some of the herbs I’ve found in my yard recently that could be used for tea are dandelions, violets, and mullein. (Of course, if you decide to try foraging from your yard it’s important to make sure you’ve correctly identified the plants and that you are harvesting from a clean place that hasn’t been sprayed with any chemicals or where dogs go the the bathroom, etc.) I’m also going to focus on trying to grow more of my own peppermint, chammomile, lemon balm, catnip, and tulsi in my garden this year.
When It’s Better to Buy Pre-Packaged Teas
There might be a few instances where even though it costs more money it might actually make more sense to buy pre-packed tea bags from the store. If your favorite tea blend is one that has several different ingredients, for example, then you might find it hard to replicate the same flavor by trying to buy herbs in bulk and make your own. Even if you bought all of the same herbs that are listed on the box of tea from the store, since you wouldn’t know the ratio of how much of each herb is in the store bought tea it might be difficult to get exactly the same flavor from a homemade version. You could certainly give it a try and experiment, but it might take some tweaking to get the flavor just right.
Another reason why you might consider sticking with store bought tea bags is if you wanted to have some of the health-supporting actions of a specific herbal blend and you weren’t sure that you could recreate the same blend yourself at home. Because you might not know how much of a particular herb is in the blend in relation to the other herbs, you might find it easier to just stick to the store bought version rather than experimenting.
Trying to save money on herbal tea doesn’t have to be all or nothing, though, and so I’m hoping to do a mix of all of these things this year. I’m working on gradually stocking my herbal pantry with more bulk herbs so that I can make my own herbal tea blends, and I’m also focusing on growing more herbs that I am able to grow in my garden. And I will also still be buying a couple of tea blends from the store. Overall, though, I’m hoping to save quite a bit more money on herbal tea this year!
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The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.