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Warm Up with Winter Tea

by Sandra Ramani
Winter Tea -- Organic Spa Magazine

Delicious brews that warm the body and boost immunity.

Cinnamon, clove, ginger and chocolate are some of the scents and flavors that instantly evoke “winter.” But beyond reminding us of favorite holiday dishes, these ingredients are ideal for colder weather because they can have warming effects on the body, helping to increase circulation and get the blood pumping. Others, like turmeric, are also good for the season, as they can help boost the immune system and have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Experience them in a cup of tea—itself the perfect cold weather accessory—and you’ll be feeling cozy on the inside all season long. These four organic teas feature blends we love to curl up with.


Over 15 years ago, in Bristol, England, an entrepreneur with an interest in natural health joined forces with a young herbalist to create a tea that—as they envisioned it—would promote well-being, celebrate the healing power of herbs and adhere to green principles. The result was Pukka (Hindi for “real, authentic or genuine”), a line of organic teas and supplements where potent herbs are the star.

Light your inner fire with Three Ginger (a blend of
turmeric, ginger and galangal, an Asian varietal); and spicy-sweet Three Cinnamon, with ingredients from Indonesia, India and Vietnam. Ward off the sluggish winter blues with Revitalize, a wake-up-call blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, spearmint and orange; or lift the spirits—and soothe a winter sore throat—with Lemon, Ginger & Manuka Honey. Starting at $4.95;


Founded in 1999 by a brother-and-sister team, Numi is one of the largest organic, Fair Trade-certified tea companies in North America. It’s also one of the most charitable, collaborating with nonprofit organizations across the country (most notably at its home base in Oakland, CA), supporting art, education, wellness and environmental initiatives, and working with overseas farmers who prioritize fair treatment of their workers.

All this love can be felt in their blends Ideal for boosting circulation and settling stomachs overworked by too many holiday indulgences, the earthy Three Roots is based on spicy ginger, sweet licorice and organic turmeric sourced from Madagascar, while black tea-based Golden Chai will warm you up with cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. Indulge your sweet tooth with Chocolate Spice, where those chai spices (plus allspice) accent a rich cacao, and Chocolate Mint, a nice alternative to hot chocolae to sip around the fire. From $7.49; numitea.com

Red Elephant

Plenty has been written about the benefits of pure, dark chocolate, from its high antioxidant levels to the uplifting
effects of theobromine, a key component of cacao that has some of the same energetic qualities as caffeine, without the side effects.

Opened four years ago in Milwaukee’s trendy Historic Third Ward, Red Elephant is an artisanal sweets brand that features these benefits both in its handmade chocolates and in its exclusive Red Elephant Cocoa Bean Leaf Teas. Available in Gold and Pearl versions, and billed as a new “superfood,” the teas are made from 100 percent pure, dried and roasted Nacional cocoa beans—a rare variety—before the beans are processed.

As a result, the leaves are chock-full of antioxidants to strengthen the immune system, flavonoids to improve focus and digestion, and non-addicting theobromine to increase energy. (Because the bean grind is removed, the zero-calorie cocoa bean tea might also help reduce hunger and boost the metabolism.) The teas are also responsibly harvested by farming families in Peru. Starting at $14.95; redelephantchocolate.com


Born in 1997, from its founders’ passion for travel, world cultures and herbal traditions, Rishi has grown from a small operation in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward to a 48,000-square-foot facility in the city’s Menomonee Valley, where every aspect has been thoughtfully designed to meet the strictest requirements for organic food safety.

Sanskrit for “one who is a seer, sage, or seeker of truth,” Rishi’s success can be attributed to the growing popularity of its organic teas, which are sourced via a direct trade and supply chain, blended with health benefits in mind, and available at major retailers, hip restaurants, and even select airports.

For maintaining immunity in cough and cold season (and when traveling), we are a little obsessed with the Turmeric Ginger, with anti-inflammatory turmeric, spicy ginger and soothing licorice root (try it in loose, bag or concentrate forms.) Spice fans will love the classic Masala Chai, featuring a potent combo of black tea, gingerroot, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and black pepper that to warm insides up fast. Skip dessert with a cup of Chocolate Cinnamon, a delicious blend of cocoa shells, cinnamon, peppermint, vanilla bean, licorice root and pu-erh tea. Starting at $8.99;         rishi-tea.com

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