Typically when we think of winter, we think of the month of December. I’m guessing this is because most celebrated festivities occur during this month. Also, all the memes come out during December. To all my Latin peeps, or whoever you may be, you know the memes that show the cobijas san marcos, conchas, and hot chocolate or atole. But December isn’t even the actual winter month anymore, especially in Chicago. Any Chicagoan will know that the true winter months are January through March. The cold in Chicago hits differently and it’s never in a good way, especially these past few days.
Personal Tea Recommendations, the Sipping Kind
We all have our own ways of keeping warm – especially during quarantine since we never leave the house or more likely never leave our rooms. I know that I said that we drink either atole, hot chocolate, or coffee, but maybe some of you don’t immediately drink this for whatever reason, maybe it’s that lactose intolerance, I don’t judge (I’m kind of squinting at you though). For y’all that don’t vibe with that, here’s some tea recommendations from my own personal vault.
Té de manzanilla (Chamomile Tea)
First runner up, I present to you té de manzanilla (chamomile tea). This tea is so good, and it’s so warm you don’t even know. When you take that first sip, you fall into a feeling of warmth, like being wrapped in a blanket fresh out of the dryer. The best part about it is that it relaxes you, which no one can afford to do these days.
You can get this tea at any grocery store.
Té de canela (Cinnamon Tea)
Another tea that will leave you feeling warm is té de canela (cinnamon tea). This tea does have a kick to it as cinnamon is a spice and is used in recipes that are not just restricted to baking. Cinnamon tea hits different, especially on a cold day when you’ve been outside for minutes or hours . When the tea hits your taste buds it goes from a smooth taste to a small kick on both your tongue and throat. Overall it’s a very nice experience.
You can buy some cinnamon sticks at most grocery stores or you can buy some tea bags from Amazon.
Té de limón con miel (Lemon Tea with Honey)
This tea we learn from our parents because I know personally that I would never think of putting lemon and honey in a tea together just like that. Basically the flavor is sweet lemon, yet there’s a familiar warm feeling that you can’t quite place. This tea is perfect for whenever you’re cold and need something warm to drink or if you feel a bit unwell.
You can buy the lemons and honey at most grocery stores.
Té de anis (Aniseed Tea)
Té de anis is a magical drink, the flavor or the feeling of which you can’t quite place. All I know is that once you take that first sip, you’ll suddenly feel calm; it is like all your worries and stress have fluttered out the window. The taste is somewhere between a subtle taste of vanilla and an earthy taste. As I said, this tea is very relaxing, so I don’t know about you but I’m going to be drinking this during midterms and finals week. The wonderful thing about this tea is that it is already sweet, so most people either do not add sugar or they add a small amount of sugar when they prepare their cup. If you want to add sugar that is entirely up to you.
You can find anis (aniseed) in most Mexican grocery stores, at least that I know of, or you can buy the plant and have an unending cup of tea, and maybe chisme (the other kind of tea) too who knows.
Té de hierbabuena (Spearmint/Mint Tea)
Delicious, delicious sent from the heavens mint tea. Mint tea was my favorite tea as a child and I still love it so much now. I have a mint plant, so every spring and summer I enjoy a nice hot cup of mint tea. I don’t care if it’s sweltering outside, the taste makes up for it. I don’t know what to say other than mint tea is just wonderful. The taste is so relaxing and comforting, you can just feel yourself relax as the seconds pass by.
You can buy mint tea bags at most grocery stores, or you can buy a mint plant to always have some mint on hand.
As for sweeteners, that is entirely up to you because most, if not all, of these teas can be drunk with or without sugar. Unless of course if you drink just lemon tea in which case I would suggest some type of sweetener.
DISCLAIMER: As y’all have read, I’ve stated that some of these teas can help with temporary pains or discomforts. In some cultures teas are seen as medicinal as they do help with certain ailments, yet teas do not help with everything. If you feel like you are really sick then you should make an appointment with your doctor. For students out there who don’t have access to a doctor, you can reach out to Campus Care or community health advocates.
While we’re on the topic of unbearable cold weather, there are warming areas throughout Chicago if you or someone you know doesn’t have access to a heater. This link includes flyers in English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, and Arabic.