Chagra is made of used tealeaves that have been dried. In Japan, it is used for many household and beauty applications. You can use chagra in place of chemical deodorizers, chemical fertilizers and store-bought bath products by deodorizing your fridge or trash can with a sachet of chagra, replenishing the soil in your garden with chagra, or adding nutrients to your baths with a bath sachet of chagra (and, optionally, fresh or dried flowers and herbs).
- Used tealeaves, preferably from loose leaf tea that has not been scented or blended with non-tea ingredients (like spices, flowers or dried fruits)
There are several different ways you can make chagra. I'll outline each method step by step, starting with the easiest way to make chagra.
- Using a spoon or your fingers, press or squeeze excess moisture out of your used tealeaves.
- Spread the tealeaves on a clean, dry piece of cloth.
- Place the cloth in direct sunlight until the leaves are dry.
- Remove your dry chagra from the sunlight and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (like you would store tea).
- Preheat your oven to 'warm' or 'low' (or whatever the lowest possible setting is on your oven).
- Strain the tealeaves well, pressing them with a French press, the back of a spoon or your fingers in order to extract as much liquid as you can.
- Spread the tealeaves across a cookie sheet or baking pan and place the cookie sheet / baking pan in the oven.
- Flip the leaves over a few times as they dry to prevent charring.
- When the leaves are completely dry, remove them from the oven, let them cool and then store them as described in step four above.
- Squeeze excess water out of the tealeaves.
- Place a few layers of paper towels or a clean, dry towel on a cutting board or a flat counter.
- Spread a thin layer of tealeaves on top of the paper towel or towel.
- Use a rolling pin (or, alternately, a flat-sided glass bottle, such as a wine bottle) to roll the tealeaves, pressing the moisture into the towel as you roll.
- Move the towel or replace the paper towels when they stop absorbing moisture.
- Repeat this process until the tea is fully dry, then store it as described above.