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This Calming Winter Tea Recipe Will Help You Relax And Fall Asleep At Night

It's basically liquid hygge.

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Last year, I decided to become a loose leaf tea person.

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This decision was 75% inspired by all of the beautiful tea kettles Amazon kept showing me in their “new and interesting finds” section, and about 25% inspired by my desire to create more uplifting screen-free rituals in my everyday life. I already read, journal, do puzzles, and listen to podcasts, but drinking a cup of tea seemed like a nice addition to the list.

I like all teas just fine, but as I began my ~tea journey ~, I was hoping to find something a little more creamy/comforting/light than your standard green or black tea, both of which have a rather earthy flavor. I was inspired by a white Tazo tea I used to get at Starbucks a decade ago, which they no longer carry, and which is hard to find online unless you’re willing to pay, like, $18 for seven bags of tea, which I am not.

After trying several different loose leaf teas, I came up with a glorious concoction that I call “Cozy Tea” because it’s so incredibly soothing.

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Alternative titles include Winter's Nap Tea, Snow Day Tea, Today Was Bad Send Help :-/ Tea, Fancy Rich People On A Winter Vacation Tea, I’m In A Cabin Gazing Out The Window And My Sweater Is Falling Off My Shoulder Quick Someone Take A Pic Of Me For Instagram Tea. (The actual name of the tea I use to make it is “Alpine Punch,” but “punch” is way too aggressive for how this tea feels.)

The drink — which includes a little vanilla syrup and some cream — is dreamy; it has a cherry/almond flavor with light floral vibes.

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(BTW that mug — which is legit the best thing I own!!! — is $26.95 on Amazon, and the globe is $38 from Anthro.)

This tea is is my winter-themed Pinterest board come to life.

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It’s Leslie Odom, Jr. singing “Winter Song” and making me feel feelings. It’s what I imagine the White Witch’s hot drink from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tastes like. It’s liquid hygge.

Fair warning, there are a few steps involved (like...two), but trust me when I say they're worth it — you'll end up with a perfect cup.

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Here's what you'll need to make a cup of it:

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(BTW, if you don't want to hear me talk about all of the ingredients and go on a tangent about electric kettles, you can just jump ahead to the instructions.)

1. Two teaspoons of David's Tea Alpine Punch Loose Leaf Tea

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It's rooibos tea that includes “coconut chips, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, rose blossoms, and almonds.” The David’s Tea website describes it as such: “This is the kind of tea we imagine they serve in fabulous ski chalets in the Swiss Alps. With apple, cinnamon, ginger and the heady scent of almonds, it’s warm, comforting and totally decadent. What better to sip after a long day of skiing, sledding and snowball fights? Just cozy up in front of the fire and warm up with this sweet, fortifying brew. And if a little splash of brandy makes it in there too, all the better.”

Honestly, props to whoever wrote that copy. Like, I was sold at “fabulous ski chalets in the Swiss Alps.” How did they know that imagining myself on luxuriously cozy winter vacations is kinda my jam??

It’s also caffeine free, which was important to me; I don’t really do caffeine after lunchtime, and the reason I was creating rituals in the first place was to calm down and unwind. And unwind you shall! While this recipe won’t, like, knock you out, it will definitely make you feel relaxed and calm.

The tea itself isn’t terribly cheap, but a big tin (~$45) will last you a while. (You can also buy a much smaller amount of it for around $10 to try it for the first time.) It’s also a really good gift to ask for for basically every occasion. Your mom/aunt/new in-laws would probably be thrilled to buy a big-ass tin of this tea for you, TBH.

2. Two teaspoons of vanilla syrup

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Like, the kind you see at coffee shops. I use sugar-free Torani syrup ($6.29 for a 12.7 ounce bottle on Amazon) but you could also do the regular ($8.99 on Amazon), and any brand will likely work.

I also bought a pump for mine ($5.79 on Amazon; fits the 25-ounce syrup bottles) — this makes the drink easier to make, because then I don’t have to measure/pour anything, but the pump is definitely not a requirement.

3. A splash of half-and-half

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You know how old people always talk about having a cup of warm milk before bed, and your first reaction is, “Yeeeeuch, warm milk”? Well, now I understand the appeal. Warm milk is really soothing! (At least, when combined with other ingredients. I’m not brave enough to try it on its own.) You can use any sort of milk or cream here, but I recommend choosing something with a little more fat in it to make it creamier and more satisfying.

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4. 12-16 ounces of very hot (but not boiling) water

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The recommendation for roobois and herbal teas is near-boiling water — around 200 degrees. Which is...pretty hot. The first time I used an electric kettle with temperature control, I was pretty shocked by how hot the water was, and by how much stronger it made the tea. (I have this $62 kettle, by the way, which is pricey, but comes highly recommended — and the reviews were important to me, because apparently electric kettles break down pretty easily. And yes, this means that I didn’t get a beautiful tea kettle, which is what inspired this whole adventure!!!! But I wanted to be able to get the water to the exact temperature I wanted without having to worry about keeping an eye on an open flame. Also, most pretty kettles are not electric, and the most beautiful/pricey electric tea kettles on Amazon had both a bizarre lack of features and TERRIBLE reviews. *shakes fist*)

That said, there are (obviously) several cheaper ways to acquire very hot water, and you do not need an electric tea kettle to get started.

5. A tea steeper

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This set is a great deal — you get two steepers, two lil’ drip trays (which are worth it), and a measuring spoon, all for $11. I find the basket-style steeper is much easier to use (and clean) than the ball kind, which is what I was using initially. And since this set came with two steepers/trays, I can keep one at work and one at home. You could also use mug or teapot with a built-in steeper.

Instructions

FYI, the following instructions are very flexible and you can adjust to taste, eyeball everything, etc.

1. Scoop ~2 tsp of Alpine punch loose leaf tea into a tea steeper. (Note: don’t pack it too tight — the tea needs a little room to expand as it absorbs the water.)

2. Add ~1-1.5 pumps of vanilla syrup to a large mug. (If you don’t have a pump, add 2-3 tsp of vanilla syrup.)

3. Place the steeper in the mug and the fill the mug with 12-16 ounces of near-boiling water. Let the tea steep for five minutes before removing the steeper. (BE CAREFUL, THE WATER WILL BE VERY HOT.)

4. Top off mug with a generous splash of half and half, and give it a stir.

5. Let the tea cool for about a minute.

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That's it! Then it's time to settle in with your cup of tea — maybe under some cozy blankets and fairy lights — and gaze thoughtfully out the window while your sweater falls off your shoulder.

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Or just sip it while you scroll through your phone and rant about the state of the world to your roommate! Totally your call.

I have been making Cozy Tea before bed and/or having it with buttered toast for a very late dinner and it's the best thing!