DIY + Tips and Tricks

Tea Time: Our Favorite Homemade Brews


Syracuse is getting colder, and that means one thing to me: tea season is here! Whether you enjoy your cup on the way to class, before bed, or somewhere in between, tea is always a positive addition to the day. There’s something so cozy about waking up with a fresh cup, or winding down and relaxing with a sweet sip.  There’s also a science behind this, too – studies show tea improves mood, attention and alertness.

Instead of picking up a pre-made box of tea from the shelf of any grocery store, why not try homemade? Making your own tea is super easy, inexpensive, and completely customizable. And for those looking ahead this holiday season, a homemade tea mix even makes a great holiday gift You get exactly what you want in each unique brewed cup. Here’s what you need:

  • A tea infuser or empty tea bags
  • A teapot and teacup
  • Boiling water
  • And most importantly, your ingredients of choice!

What I love about making your own tea is that it’s truly an art – you can customize it and make endless combinations. Picking the right ingredients is important, but essentially foolproof. Here are some general guidelines per 8oz cup of tea:

  • If you want a sweeter cup, add more sweet flavors  (about 1 tbsp) and less spicy or earthy flavors (keep it to 1 tsp or each, one, or none at all). Also, consider adding a sweet “finishing touch” (I refer to below.)
  • If you want a spicier cup, add more spice (about 2-3 tsp) and a touch of earthy (about 1 tsp).
  • If you want a earthier cup, add more earthy (about 1 tbsp) and optional sweetness or spice (less than 1 tsp).

In general, the more ingredients you add, the stronger your flavor of tea will be. These are of course just guidelines in case you have no clue where to begin – you can use whatever combinations you want. Here is a master-list of ingredients to add to your home-brew that won’t disappoint:

Sweet and Fresh Flavors

  • Dried berries (it is recommended to chop these into small pieces so more flavor is absorbed by the boiling water)
  • Honey
  • Natural Sugars (found in the organic isles of grocery stores)

Spicy and Warm Flavors

  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger (can be chopped fresh and added to the infuser, but dried works as well)


Earthy and Cool Flavors

Each of these ingredients can be grown fresh, chopped, and added to your infuser of choice. You can also buy dried versions in bulk at your local grocery store. Either option will ensure you a satisfying cup of tea.

  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Anise
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Sage

Some delicious finishing touches to add after the tea has steeped:

  • Honey drizzle
  • Fresh juiced citrus or citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit)

Depending on what flavor tea you’re craving, you can mix and match ingredients from each of these groupings or follow the guidelines I provided. Once you’ve created your desired mix of ingredients, add them into your infuser and let brew in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. The longer you brew, the stronger the flavor your tea will be. It might take some time to figure out what flavors work best for you, but that’s the fun in customizing it and making your own. Good luck and happy brewing!

By: Allie Urso