Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Stick Tea for My Sore Throat, Cough, and (Yes!) Cognition from Cleo Coyle

Were you hit with the flu this year? A few weeks ago, it slammed into our house like an NFL linebacker. First Marc went down, and then I did (eesh). 

While we've both recovered from the worst of it (fever, chills, and upset stomachs), Marc is still battling residual blahs, and I'm plagued with a recurring cough and head congestion. That's where this wonderful tea comes in...

In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a cure for phlegmy coughs. I can testify that it works! Brewing up fresh cinnamon stick tea always gives me relief, and its spicy-sweet flavor is delicious, too. 

Yes, I know you can brew cinnamon tea from store-bought bags, but the flavor is not as powerfully good as fresh-brewed from sticks. AND there's an added benefit to brewing from sticks...

Boost Your Brain with
the Scent of Cinnamon

Fresh brewing cinnamon tea from sticks fills the house with the fragrance of cinnamon, a scent you can't get from brewing quickly in bags. And the scent of cinnamon has been linked to improving cognitive brain functions (attention span, recognition memory, response speed, and working memory).

Finally, cinnamon itself is packed with health benefits. Among other things, it's a potent antibacterial agent (great for that sore throat) and it is an anti-inflammatory partly thanks to cinnamaldehyde (a substance found in the spice). One recent study showed that cinnamon can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

So let's get that water on and start our tea brewing!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.


As always, the quality of your results depends on the quality of your ingredients. Now I've made cinnamon tea from the less expensive "Cassia" cinnamon sticks, which are the most common found in grocery stores, and I've enjoyed the results. BUT if you want a better quality tea, use the better quality "Ceylon" cinnamon sticks. See more on the differences in the recipe below...

FYI - I get my Ceylon cinnamon from Nuts.com, click here to see the product page. One pound or 64 three-inch sticks cost around $18.00 plus a small fee for shipping, which, for me, breaks down to less than 50 cents per stick. 

To download this recipe in
a free PDF document that you
can print, save, 
or share, click here.

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo's Cinnamon Stick Tea

Makes 2 six-ounce cups of tea 


2-1/2 cups of water
*2-3 cinnamon sticks (see my note on types of cinnamon)
1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional)
1 small orange (optional)

Directions: Place 2-1/2 cups of water into a saucepan with 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks (see my note below to help choose the amount). Bring water to a boil and turn heat down to a low boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cinnamon sticks to continue steeping in the water for a final 10 minutes. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!

**Note on types of cinnamon: The amount of cinnamon sticks you'll want to use for this recipe will vary, depending on the kind of cinnamon sticks you're using, as well as their freshness. Let's start with...

Cassia cinnamon (aka "Chinese cinnamon) sticks are the most common type found in grocery stores. These are hard sticks with a single layer of curl. Because of their hardness, I suggest using 3 Cassia cinnamon sticks to make this tea, rather than 2. Their time on store shelves also tends to make them less potent so that 3rd stick is usually needed to make a good cinnamon tea.

Ceylon cinnamon sticks are softer and also of higher quality and potency. You can recognize them by their many layers. Because they are primarily sold by spice merchants at a higher price point, they tend to be fresher and more powerful. AND they truly do have amazing flavor, well worth the price! I suggest using 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks for this recipe.

Cleo’s Cinnamon-Orange Tea with Honey

After straining the cinnamon stick tea into your tea cup, stir in 1 teaspoon of raw, local honey until dissolved. Grate a small amount of orange zest into the cup (I use the zest of about half a small orange) OR squeeze the juice of one orange wedge into the cup. Then garnish by placing one cinnamon stick into the cup. If you like, slice a thin round of orange and slide it onto the tea cup's rim. Serve warm and may you drink with joy!


The “zest” of a citrus fruit is the grating of its peel with absolutely none of the white pith beneath—because the white pith is bitter and you don’t want that in your recipe! The best tool for this is a microplane zester. To learn more about this handy kitchen tool or purchase it, click here or here.


Check out a sushi chef's unique
way of cutting and serving an orange...

To see a slower version of "Chef Joe's"
orange-cutting video , click here.

Eat and drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Marc and I also write
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  1. Thank you for the recipe (and link). I will have to try this tea this coming winter season.

  2. Hope you're both feeling better. This tea sounds delicious for anytime of year no matter how you're feeling.

  3. A real estate trick when your house is on the market is to boil yummy spices like cinnamon with citrus to make it smell like you've been baking lovely, homey goodies.
    Enjoy your tea and feel all better.

  4. I've always made ginger tea when illness strikes, but I don't always have fresh ginger on hand. However, I always have cinnamon sticks! I think I'll give this one a try now and not wait for a virus to find me. lol

  5. Jen, Mason, Libby, and Linda - Thank you all for stopping by the Kitchen today. Marc and I are big coffee drinkers (of course!), but we also enjoy the occasional cup of tea, and we're happy to share our favorites. Enjoy the week, everyone, and...

    Stay healthy out there!

    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. I could have used this recipe a couple months ago when that nasty bug hit me hard! I will pin it so I can find it for next time. Thanks!