The name pretty much tells you what these colors do. A staining color will severely stain your paper so that it’s difficult to lift back to white, and if you try you will pretty much have a varying degree of the tint of color left behind on your paper. This happens because they immediately absorb into the paper before the water starts evaporating. Where as in the non-staining colors, the paint dries on the surface of the paper after the water evaporates.
Both have their usefulness and if you’re a beginner, you probably want to stay away from the staining colors for a while. They make it harder to fix things, and they also tend to dominate other colors. However, once you’re more comfortable, you should definitely give them a try. They’re among my favorites to paint with because they’re so vibrant in color.
Coffee and tea are staining, but it depends on the strength of the brew as to how staining. If I’m using one of my lighter color, I can lift to white, because there’s more water and less of the “paint.” Coffee takes more effort. However when I’m using my darker tones with the stronger brewed teas or coffee, lifting to white is not going to happen.
So, those of you who paint with watercolors, do you like painting with staining color? Why or why not? Tell me about it in the comments below. Also if there are those of you who paint with coffee or tea, I’d love hearing about that too!