Can one use a used tea bag on shabbos? The tea leaves are cooked already. If yes, does the tea bag need to be dry? Should one pour the water into the tea bag, or is it best to “tea bag it” in the water?Whats the best way of using a used tea bag?
It is permitted to use a used tea bag on Shabbos in the following way.
Ideally, one should pour boiling water directly from a kettle (a keli rishon) onto the tea bag before Shabbos.
This will mean that the tea bag has been “cooked” before Shabbos.
Following this, it is permitted to use the tea bag on Shabbos in a keli sheini (pouring from the urn to a cup and placing bag in cup). Since the concern for using a keli sheini is that tea leaves are considered kalei ha-bishul, it stands to reason that after they have been “cooked” before Shabbos the concern no longer applies.
Still, is best to use a keli shlishi (out of concern that the leaves are not “fully cooked”), for which Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggros Moshe O.C. 4:74:Bishul:18) is lenient even for an uncooked tea bag (the Chazon Ish and Aruch HaShulchan do not concur).
Note that many prefer to use tea essence, and generally refrain from using tea bags on Shabbos.