The 21st Century HerbalistSpiced Autumn TeaKatie Glenn

The air outside keeps getting colder and thoughts of a cool glass of iced tea are being replaced with yearnings for a cup of body-warming hot tea.  This time of year is perfect for throwing on a cozy sweater and stepping outside to enjoying the chilly nights.  For those of you that will find yourselves walking kiddos around neighborhoods to collect candy next week, give this warm spiced autumn tea a try in your favorite to-go mug.  Not only will the temperature warm your body and bones but the spicy cinnamon and clove will stimulate your system, flushing you with warmth from the inside.  This tea is also great for kick-starting a sluggish digestive system that may develop in the coming weeks after eating all of those decadent holiday foods.  As though that’s not good enough, it will also help chase away the symptoms of a cold.  All that and it tastes wonderful too!

This recipe is enough to make two cups of this delightful tea…enough for you and a lucky friend!

Spiced Autumn Tea Mix

  • 2 1/4 c. hot water
  • 2 tbsp. loose black tea leaves (or 2 bags of black tea)
  • 1 tbsp. dried cloves, whole
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp. cardamom seeds, whole
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. dried ginger, ground
  • dash of nutmeg (if using whole nutmeg it is about one pass over a grater, per cup)

How you choose to brew the tea will be up to you but overall you’ll want the herbs to steep in the hot water for about 5-7 minutes depending on how spicy you like your tea.  I prefer to put the water, all of the spices (with the exception of the honey) and tea into a small pot (or tea kettle if you own one).  I’ll cover the pot and bring it to a boil then remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for 5-7 minutes.  Strain the cloves and cardamom seeds from the tea using a piece of cheese cloth or stainless steel strainer.  Pour into mugs and squeeze a bit of honey into each one.

If you are lucky enough to own a french press then you can use it to prepare this tea, instead of the method above.  If you don’t have a stove then put the water into a microwave safe bowl and heat until boiling.  Add all of your spices and allow them to steep for 5-7 minutes.  Then follow the straining and serving instructions above.

You may ask, why not use tea bags or a tea ball?  You can if you want to but I find that tea bags don’t let the spices and tea expand enough to provide their full flavor profiles.  If you have a pitcher sized tea ball, that may work in this application.  The goal is to make sure that the spices, once wet, have enough room to expand and release all of their flavors.  If they are packed together too tightly, you’re missing out on some of the delicate flavors that these spices have.

I hope you’ll all give this delicious tea a try, it has been a favorite in my family for years.  If you’d like to find other family traditions that have been passed down for generations, check out some of the other articles in the  Celebrating the Multi-Generational Traditions of Women series.

Enjoy and remember to sip with a friend!

image via: istockphoto.com

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