A simple cup of tea

We’re a week into the new year and It. Is. COLD. (As if you didn’t know that already.) I hope you’re staying warm wherever you are, maybe with something brewing on the stove or in the oven–a pot of soup, a roast chicken, homemade bread, a pan of brownies. Or, my preferred method, a big pot of tea.


Tea is really simple enough–hot water+tea+optional honey and milk–but there’s a ritual to it, especially on sub-zero days, that adds an extra cozy factor and, I think, is a nice way to welcome the new year here. This is how I do tea.

All you need to combat the weather

Loose leaf black tea is my favorite, especially the chai blend from my local tea shop, with a little honey and milk. This teapot is great because it has a built-in strainer so the leaves don’t end up in my cup.

Hot pot

Adding boiling water from the kettle to the empty teapot warms the pot and keeps the tea from getting cold too fast. Once the pot is warm, I pour the hot water into my mug to warm it as well.


I like about 2 heaping teaspoons of tea per cup added to the now-warm teapot.


Fill with more hot water and let tea steep at least 4 minutes.Β In the meantime, I pour out the hot water from the mug and add honey and milk. Adding these to the warm mug means the honey melts quickly and the milk is less likely to curdle when I add the tea.


Tea is served, blankets are found, and I’m warm inside and out.

Thankfully, with the -20 degree windchills, I have been the happy recipient of two (count ’em, TWO) snow days this week. Turns out snow days are awesome at 30 years old as they are at 10 (but at 30 you can add something “extra” to your hot chocolate), but I’ll miss my tea ritual tomorrow when I’m back at work!

12 thoughts on “A simple cup of tea

  1. Christina, another wonderful explanation. You’re so right about the tea being a warming agent on these cold days. I like to turn mine into a hot toddy. I don’t use the milk but do add honey, lemon and a shot of blackberry or apricot brandy. Now, that’s warming. Love!!!


    1. The perks of tea as a grown up! Though the past two years when I get a cold, I find I skip the tea part altogether–just hot water,lemon, honey, and brandy πŸ™‚




  3. Love this because making a big mug of tea has become my favorite ritual too in these cold cold temperatures.

    I normally put a little ginger, a quarter pod of cardamom, a pinch of cinnamon, and one clove into the water and let it simmer for a while. Then once the water is steeped with the rich smell of the spices and the ginger I add some milk, loose tea leaves and sugar and again let it simmer for two minutes or so. And then strain everything into a mug.

    Don’t you love love having rituals that nourish and nurture?



    1. Absolutely! They are the best kind of rituals. I also love how you make your tea, it’s the more traditional masala chai method, but I almost always buy the spices mixed in with the tea. I just bought a little bag of the whole spices on their own though, so I want to see how the flavor is different with simmering those on their own first.


  4. How do you pull the built-in strainer out? I find it so easy to over-brew black teas that I’m super careful with my tea equipment and time-brewing!


    1. Iris, I actually don’t pull out the tea or strainer. I’ve found it doesn’t get too bitter or over-brewed fit my taste. It might be because I let the water come off the boil a bit before I pour it over the tea, but for whatever reason I’ve never had a problem brewing it this way, it’s even been more reliable compared to using my french press. That said, I’ve learned about the amount of tea and water I can drink before it gets cold or bitter so that probably helps too.


  5. Followed you from a comment on The Kitchn, and I’m glad I did. How delightful this sounds! Here in Northern California, while we’ve not had snow, we’re currently being deluged with a string of (grumble much-needed grumble) gray, rainy days. Just reading about your tea ritual is soothing me! I’ve been in a french-press coffee rut for quite awhile now, and while that is usually my preference, you’re seriously tempting me to invest in a teapot and some loose leaf. Any recommendations for tea sources?


    1. Cecilia, what a sweet comment! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post (I won’t even hold the California weather against you :-)) In Chicago, I get my loose leaf tea from Argo Tea. I like them since I can shop in person to smell and taste the tea before I buy. I’ve also heard great things about Adagio Tea, and they sell online. Fyi sometimes I’ll also make my tea in a French press, it works just as well for tea as it does for coffee. Enjoy!


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