5 spicy teas to warm you up this winter
Oh the weather outside is ... just begging for a hot cup of tea.
That winter chill in the air can only mean one thing: It's time for a hot drink. Also, you need to dig out those old sweaters from the bottom of the drawer. (OK, that was two things.)
Knowing that you've already achieved your coffee quota for the day, you need something soothing and naturally sweet, that won't jack you up or slow you down. But aren't you bored with workaday commercial tea bags? Isn't something more authentic and more memorable in order as you settle in for a frosty season?
It's time to take it to the experts. With inspiration from some of our favorite artisan tea makers around the world, we'll help you prepare the most winter-warming, immune-boosting, blues-busting teas right at home.
Tranquil tea for winding down
If you haven't gotten the memo yet, here's a tip: Drinking certain types of tea at bedtime will help you sleep better. Not because it contains sedatives, or Nyquil, or alcohol; because it's cozy, soothing and comforting. This variety, from the Tennessee-based Bulk Herb Store, is perfect for winding down after a long, cold day, harnessing the quiet power of three simple herbs: chamomile, lemongrass and rose petals. There are no exact proportions, author Katie Mae Stanley says; you can use a tablespoon or a cup, depending on how much you intend to make.
Organic wild herb tea for family unity
This just in: Tea is not just for grown-ups! Ocha, a popular brand of teas and teaware in Israel, currently offers about 20 tea flavors, ranging from green tea, black tea and white tea to caffeine-free fruit and herbal infusions. One of them is an Organic Wild Herb blend of nanamint (Israel's national tea), raspberry and blackberry leaves, and cornflower and marigold blossoms. The result, Ocha CEO Alon Eitan said, is "a minty aromatic infusion which both adults and children would love."
Chai tea latte for subtle spice
If you love a warm, soothing elixir but aren't keen on strong spices, this is the combination for you. Created by our Israeli Kitchen blogger, Sarah Berkowitz, this simple chai tea latte starts with tea bags and combines a few spices you likely already have in your pantry. It goes light on the spices, but it's far from bland; it's the perfect blend to sit by the fire, curl up with a good book, and sip away.
Peppermint tea for digestive health
Peppermint tea has people shouting its benefits from rooftops near and far. They love the calming effect it has on the digestive system and its antibacterial properties – both of which could come in super handy after a heavy holiday meal. Let us introduce you to an easy way to make it yourself: put a heaping teaspoon of peppermint leaves into a teapot or French press and steep for at least 2 minutes. It really is that easy!
Rooibos cocoa ginger tea for a winter treat
For a real crowd-pleaser, we turn again to the crafty Israeli tea makers at Ocha. This caffeine-free concoction contains Rooibos, an antioxidant-rich herb originating in South Africa, as well as cocoa beans, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom, topped off with a touch of milk. CEO Eitan says it's one of Ocha's bestsellers. If you can't find Roobios, simply omit it and stick to the latter four spices for a pleasant blend.
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