Simple is better. Cliche? Perhaps. True? Undoubtedly. This simple yet lovely cinnamon tea is the perfect example of it. All you need are cinnamon sticks, hot water, and, if you’ve got any sort of sweet tooth, a touch of sugar or other sweetener. That’s it. And suddenly you have a soothing sipper.–David Leite

What’s the best type of cinnamon to use in this tea?

It truly comes down to personal preference. The two most common types of cinnamon on the market are Ceylon and cassia although hundreds of varieties exist

Ceylon cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon is slightly paler in color than cassia and has a lighter, more vibrant cinnamon taste.

Cassia cinnamon

Cassia, which originates in Asia, tends to be a more burnished shade of brown and has a more pronounced, some would say hotter, cinnamon taste.

A person holding a glass mug of cinnamon tea on a white plate.

Cinnamon Tea

5 / 3 votes
This cinnamon tea–a warming, cozy drink–is easy, simple, and always welcome. Just steep cinnamon sticks in simmering water, pour, add a bit of your favorite sweetener, and you’re set.
David Leite
Servings4 cups
Calories9 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes



  • In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups water and the cinnamon sticks to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  • Divvy the tea among mugs, cups, or glasses, placing a cinnamon stick in each glass. Sweeten with sugar to taste.


Chilled Cinnamon Tea Sparkler

Prefer your tea chilled? After simmering, let your tea cool to room temperature, then discard the cinnamon and ginger. Chill until completely cold. Add ice to a tall glass, fill half-full with your favorite sparkling water, then top with the chilled tea. Sweeten with sugar to taste.
Food of Oman Cookbook

Adapted From

The Food of Oman

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Serving: 1 cupCalories: 9 kcalCarbohydrates: 3 gProtein: 0.1 gFat: 0.04 gSaturated Fat: 0.01 gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01 gSodium: 0.3 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 0.1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Felicia Campbell. Photo © 2014 Ariana Lindquist. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

When so many of us turn to a nondescript bag for our afternoon tea, it’s easy to forget that you can make a flavorful cup of tea from something as simple as a few cinnamon sticks. I always think brewing and steeping the tea is part of the experience and the 15 minutes this tea simmers is downright delightful. The smell is sweet and cinnamon-y—like the best scented candle ever. And the taste? Well, I wasn’t expecting such a full-bodied cup of tea! It tasted like it smelled, but more floral.

I added a bit of raw sugar (maybe a 1/4 teaspoon?), but it really didn’t need it. I poured myself 2 giant cups and wondered how many times a person could reuse those cinnamon sticks and still get a decent cup of tea.

This cinnamon tea was soothing and gentle and, in my mind, I think it must have some healthful properties as well. Tested it mid-blizzard and it was perfect late at night as I watched the snow falling. It would be a great alternative to hot chocolate (sorry! I know diehard hot chocolate fans might quibble with this!) after a snowy hike, walk around the neighborhood, ice skating adventure, or after dinner if you’re seeking a non-alcoholic end. It was gentle and, even with a bit of sugar, seemed still more cinnamon-y than sugary.

Starting with just one cup of water per serving created very small servings after 15 minutes of simmering and I would start with more water per cup of tea desired next time. I also wondered if I should have covered the pot while it simmered so as not to lose so much of the volume. That could mean adding at least an additional stick or two of the cinnamon. While my tea was tasty, it was nowhere near as brown as the photo, so I wonder if the author used a different type of cinnamon? I used True Ceylon, which my spice shop described as the less spicy and more complex option, and that was why they recommended it over cassia cinnamon. Also, while I generally prefer my tea unsweetened, this was improved by a bit of sugar. Depending on what it would be served with, I also thought about playing with the type of sweetener: honey comes naturally to mind, as does agave.

I almost feel silly that I tested this recipe because really, it’s just a matter of throwing cinnamon sticks in some water and boiling it. I decided to try it because I love masala chai but avoid it in the evening because of the caffeine. I was curious whether this would be a satisfying alternative. It was! It smelled so good that everyone in my house had to have a cup. Next go around, I’ll add more chai spices.

How easy can this be? Water and a cinnamon stick! The timing was absolutely perfect, though am sure adding some time would be ok as well. The amount of tea made in terms of the correct amount of servings really depends on the cup of tea one is using. If the old fashion tea set, indeed you will get 4 servings, now if you are using a mug, if will only fill about halfway. I used just a little amount of sugar (about a teaspoon) and my younger daughter had about 1 tablespoon. We both loved it though. Also let’s not forget how amazing the house smells while making this tea and all of the health benefits this tea will bring as cinnamon is believed to be a great anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and so much more.


We used Ceylon cinnamon sticks, and sweetened with maple sugar, the combination was good. One tester said, “This is the best holiday tea I have ever tasted”. We will make this many times this season and throughout winter.

This simple tea is ready in 17 minutes and makes 4 ample mugs.

Probably the most simple and delicious recipe I ever made. 10 points just for that. I mean, it’s even simpler than soft boiled eggs. So yummy on a cold winter evening. Definitely a keeper.

I really enjoyed this tea slightly sweetened with a little bit of rum added. My wife loved it just the way it was, no sugar.

I loved this recipe! It was so simple and delicious. I was surprised how strong the cinnamon flavor was. I didn’t even need any sweetener!

The is a super fast and delicious “tea.” I used 4 cups of filtered water and 4 cinnamon sticks. The water took about 3 minutes to come to a boil and I let it simmer on low for about 20 minutes. The smell of cinnamon filled the kitchen and the color had turned to a nice dark brown.

I used one packet of artificial sweetener per cup (yellow pack) and popped a cinnamon stick in each mug…this drink is a cupful of comfort on a cold windy Carolina day! Definitely a keeper!

Big return on basically zero effort. Sweet, dusky, makes your house smell amazing. Great any time but I can see this being a lifesaver when you want mulled cider and don’t have the ingredients or patience for it. Exotic and comforting all at once.

One teaspoon of sugar was enough to make a mug of this syrupy sweet. This yields 4 small servings or about 2 1/2 if you use mugs instead of teacups.

Just due to how simple and rewarding this recipe is, I think it warrants a TC. During the holidays when everything is so crazy, a super simple recipe like this can be a life-saver. Everyone has cinnamon sticks in their pantry, and if not, they’re very easy to come by.

All told this took about 20 minutes total. Five minutes to come to boiling and 15 to simmer. I will say that I lost a fair amount of water due to evaporation, it seems, and ended up with about 3 mugfuls at the end. Given the amount of cinnamon sticks, I think starting with a bit more water would be reasonable, especially for going back for seconds.

I sweetened my tea with the tiniest amount of honey, but I don’t think it necessarily needed it. I’m usually an unsweetened tea gal, and I added honey worried that it might be a bitter tea but it wasn’t. The flavor was rich and spicy without any bitterness.

I might recommend straining the tea since some of the cinnamon sticks disintegrated a bit while simmering and left particles floating around, nothing major but if a totally clear tea is what you want it might be worth it to strain into each glass.

Aside from being a refreshing cold-weather treat, it could very easily become a delicious hot toddy if one were so inclined. Amber rum or whiskey would be delicious with a touch of honey.

“Who’d have ever thunk it” (as a line went from one of my favorite novels of long ago). Hard to believe that something so totally simple could be so totally delicious! Ever since I tried it, and promptly purchased a pound of cinnamon sticks to make sure I’d always have them on hand, there has been a pot of this tea simmering on my stovetop almost constantly.

There’s not a lot more to say about it other than everyone I’ve served it to has been delighted with it. I might add that if you don’t serve the cinnamon sticks in the tea, you can use them over again a few times and still get a pretty strong cinnamon flavor.

This simple spiced tea is the perfect way to treat yourself on a cold winter’s night.

While I simmered the water and cinnamon sticks, my home began to smell absolutely wonderful! This method yielded a full flavor drink that really satisfied! I ended up with 3 cups of tea which gave me 4 servings. I added 1 teaspoon of sugar to each serving. (I’d use this amount again. I thought it was the perfect balance between the cinnamon flavor and sweet.)

When a recipe comes together so easily and with so few ingredients, it guarantees that I’ll certainly be making this throughout the colder months!

Warm, familiar, and inviting, this cinnamon tea is perfect for fall and couldn’t be easier to whip up. It fills the kitchen with wafts of spice while it simmers making it an irresistible cool-weather drink!

This recipe was a magnet for me because I could just imagine how wonderful it would smell in my kitchen. However, I almost cringed at the thought of a strong cinnamon taste that would most likely be cloying, bitter, and overwhelming all at the same time. I am not one to add sugar to anything, but I figured I might just have to add some here. Ha! This is a 10 and then some.

One of my workout partners owns a spice store here in Baton Rouge (Red Stick Spice Co.) so I quizzed her on cinnamon at our last drudgery session. I decided that getting some of the freshest sticks possible would be the key to a successful test. And I was right. This morning I dutifully read the recipe, started the pot of water and cinnamon sticks to boil, turned it to a simmer, and set the timer for the 15 minutes. Bam! Couldn’t have been easier. 20 minutes total and that included finding the perfect cups.

I decided to go for broke and searched out the “real” cups rather than use my everyday coffee mug. Maybe it was the magic of an actual cup and saucer that made this one of the best cups of tea ever. But I suspect it was just the simplicity and the freshness of the ingredient cinnamon sticks.

This tea had a subtle sweetness to it that made both my resident tester and myself abstain from any sugar additions. This was just perfection on its own. Just a kiss of cinnamon taste with a whisper of sweetness after the fact. All in all? A definite winner.

Now the next step is to try it with other cinnamons. These cinnamon sticks were Vietnamese cinnamon. My others are from Sumatra and I will be having tea again this afternoon to be sure that this recipe is as good the second time around the block although in a different neighborhood…

This method for a simple tisane is so much better than any prepackaged, flavored tea could deliver. The color is beautiful, the tisane or tea takes only a few minutes, and you have a perfect winter toddy to serve to anyone—no caffeine, no alcohol, and naturally sweet enough to not even need sugar. If you want to change it up a bit, a slice of Meyer lemon or a sprig of mint work very nicely, but the cinnamon on its own is perfectly sweet (and makes your kitchen smell wonderful).

Make sure you keep a lid on the pan while bringing to the boil and simmering, so you don’t evaporate or boil off any of your tea! In the summer, I often do a cold infusion with a stick of cinnamon and mint or lemon, but this hot extraction is much more interesting and a soothing sip for winter. This is why you keep a supply of fresh cinnamon sticks on the ready—highest use. Serve it in glass mugs if you can.

I used Penzey’s sticks of Indonesian 3-inch cut.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. Welcome, Darsene! We’re so pleased you found us. Do let us know how your cinnamon tea turns out.