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Last winter, when weeks of icy sidewalks and wooly socks torpedoed my soul, I turned to tea. I drank endless mugs of genmaicha and oolong, attempting to distract myself with warm liquids and unfamiliar blends. It wasn’t as good as a tropical vacation, but it got me through March.
I flirted with iced tea throughout summer, but now that I’m officially back on bad terms with the weather forecast, I’m re-upping my tea stash with sachets of yaupon, assam, oolong, and Bellocq’s Canyon Chai.
Usually, my qualification for a good varietal of tea is that it must have caffeine. (Going to bed early is not one of my virtues.) But I make an exception for Bellocq’s light and sunny turmeric-based chai, which is lifted by a highly aromatic blend of rose hips, cardamom, ginger, and smoked black pepper. While it’s not as punchy as your typical black tea-based masala chai, it’s still spicy and floral—and very good with a splash of oat milk (or whatever milk you prefer). And while I don’t get that all-important jolt of caffeine after downing a cup, I also don’t feel jittery if I follow up that cup with several more. That’s a blessing, because this blend is good for two steeps per serving.
Right now, my desk drawer is stocked with it, ready to answer the call of sniffly mornings, gloomy afternoons, and any other time I need a boost that doesn’t come from an espresso machine. Still, I plan on bringing home at least a bit of the loose leaf blend to mix into hot toddies. If that’s not a good winter preparedness plan, I don’t know what is.
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Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit