My Favorite Teas for Winter
The cold season is well upon us! Here are some of my favorite Tea Recipes + Herbs to make winter cozy and to boost your immune system.
Along with winter comes a list of things we must do to keep our bodies healthy when it gets cold outside. Not only do viruses and other infectious organisms thrive in cold weather, as humans we also experience immune suppression in colder months. Our bodies become more susceptible to illness because the sun is not as frequent and the temperatures drop in the winter. This means we must boost our immune systems and keep our bodies warm during the winter to help decrease the likelihood we will become ill.
Thankfully, tea is a great option to both keep warm and help your immune system fight back against winter sicknesses like the common cold or flu (the seasonal flu and COVID-19 alike). Here are a few of my favorite wintertime tea recipes!
Cozy Cinnamon Masala Chai
Best time of day to enjoy: Morning
Ingredients for 1 Cup of Tea: 1 tsp. Cinnamon Chips
1/4 tsp. Star Anise 1/4 tsp. Licorice Root
1/2 tsp. Oolong (contains caffeine) 1/4 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Dandelion Root (optional) 1/4 tsp. Cardamom (optional) 1/4 to 1/2 cup Milk of Choice (optional)
Use a mortar + pestle or a spice grinder to individually grind into a coarse texture the Cinnamon, Star Anise, Licorice Root, Ginger, and Cardamom. Combine all of your ingredients into a small bowl and mix to incorporate well. Place the mix into a tea infuser and place in a small saucepan with 8oz of water over high heat. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly reduced. Remove tea from heat and allow it to cool to your desired temp. Be careful not to over-steep this blend if Oolong is included as it can become bitter. For a stronger cup of tea, use more spices.
While your tea is cooling, using your saucepan warm up your milk of choice until it lightly steams (Almond or Oat Milk are great dairy alternatives for this recipe). Use a whisk, milk frother, or Molinillo while your milk is heating to froth the milk to your desired consistency. Once your milk and tea are ready, combine together into the saucepan and whip to desired consistency (about 1 min.) using your whisk, frother, or Molinillo. Pour into a large mug and savor the strong, spicy, immune-boosting flavors!
Refreshing Mint Soother
Best time of day to enjoy: Morning or Afternoon Ingredients for 1 Cup of Tea: 1 tsp. Peppermint 1/2 tsp. Lemon Peel 1/2 tsp. Dandelion Leaf 1 tsp. Spearmint 1/2 tsp. Lemongrass 1/2 tsp. Ginger
Using a mortar + pestle or a spice grinder, individually grind the Ginger and Lemon Peel into a coarse texture. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix until incorporated. Pack your herbal mix into a tea infuser.
Bring fresh water to a boil then let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the water is slightly cooled, pour it over the tea infuser in your mug. Cover your cup and allow to steep for 7 to 9 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey then enjoy the refreshing mint and light citrus which soothes the stomach and the soul!
Uplifting Citrus Zinger
Best time of day to enjoy: Anytime Ingredients for 1 Cup of Tea:
1/4 tsp. Echinacea Root 1/2 tsp. Ginger 1/2 tsp. Lemon Peel 1/2 tsp. Orange Peel 1 tsp. Lemongrass 1/2 tsp. Rosehips 1/2 tsp. Spearmint To Create:
Using a mortar + pestle or a spice grinder, individually grind the Echinacea, Ginger, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, and Rosehips into a coarse texture. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix until incorporated.
Pack your blend into a tea infuser and place it in your cup. Bring fresh water to a boil then let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the water is slightly cooled, pour it over the tea infuser in your mug. Cover your cup and allow to steep for 7 to 9 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired. This blend is the perfect mood changer with its uplifting citrus and mouth-tingling Ginger which warms the heart!
Best time of day to enjoy: Evening
Ingredients for 1 Cup of Tea:
1/2 tsp. Jasmine Flower 1/2 tsp. Rose Petals 1 tsp. Chamomile 1/2 tsp. Passionflower Leaf 1/2 tsp. Lavender 1/2 tsp. Holy Basil (Tulsi) 1/2 tsp. Damiana Leaf (optional) To Create:
Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mix until incorporated. Pack your herbal mix into a tea infuser and place it in your mug of choice. Bring fresh water to a boil then let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the water is slightly cooled, pour it over the tea infuser in your mug. Cover your cup and allow to steep for 9 to 12 minutes. Sweeten with raw honey if desired. Enjoy this blend before bed to encourage deep sleep and sweet dreams 🧡
Don't Have a Mortar + Pestle?
For each of these blends, a mortar + pestle or spice grinder are only necessary if the roots/spices you are working with are larger than a few millimeters. You can often find your tea ingredients already cut or ground wherever you find your supplies. I always recommend using high-quality and organic herbs and spices for your teas as this ensures you will get the best tasting and most nutritious results. Your local health food or spice shop will have most of these herbs, roots, and spices available.
Where Should I Get my Ingredients? Check Yelp or Google to find local spice and herb merchants near you. Ask these suppliers where they get their herbs and spices from to be sure you are buying high-quality and organic ingredients. I always recommend buying from a local supplier but some herbs and ingredients come from certain areas all over the world. If you do not have a local bulk herb merchant or if your local supplier does not have everything you need, I've compiled a shortlist of organic bulk herb suppliers online. Here are some online sources for high-quality loose herbs and spices (these are clickable links):
Sacred Vibes Apothecary - Brooklyn, NY
Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants - Temecula, CA
Mountain Rose Herbs - Eugene, Oregon
Rose & Ritual Apothecary - Atlanta, GA
Mix & Match! Make Substitutions.
If you don't have or don't like certain ingredients you can always mix it up! Of course, the final blend will vary slightly depending on what herbs you are using, but there are a lot of herbs and spices that can be used to substitute for others. Here are some suggestions for alternatives to certain ingredients:
Peppermint & Spearmint can be interchanged. A great non-mint alternative is Holy Basil (Tulsi Leaf).
Citrus makes a good alternative to Ginger. While you won't get the same warming effect, citrus still boosts the immune system in a similar way to Ginger.