I’ve always prepared oatmeal the same way. First, I simmer the oats in water or milk, adding a pinch of sugar after it’s cooked; then, I top the oatmeal with ingredients like cinnamon, dates, and yogurt. It’s a tasty breakfast that keeps me full until lunch. However, I recently discovered a new way to add flavor to oatmeal: cooking it in tea. You read that right — a number of oatmeal acolytes are touting tea as the new milk. Skeptical, I decided to test tea-infused oatmeal myself. Did it upgrade my favorite breakfast? Keep reading for the results.
How To Cook Oatmeal in Steeped Tea
Standard practice is cooking oatmeal in milk or water. These are both pretty boring ingredients, though. Tea, on the other hand, is vibrant and rich. Dropping your favorite tea bag into your simmering oats infuses the oatmeal with flavors ranging from fruity to floral, earthy to spiced. Plus, tea is rich in nutritional compounds called polyphenols — which may have protective benefits against heart disease and stroke. This makes tea a tasty and healthy addition to traditional oatmeal.
You can use any kind of tea for this hack, but I chose Tazo’s Sweet Cinnamon Spice Herbal Tea (Buy from Vitacost.com, $4.29) for its subtle spice and comforting aroma. Here are the instructions for making a single bowl of tea-infused oatmeal:
- Bring ½ cup water to boil over medium heat. Add tea bag, and steep 5 minutes (or the time indicated on the box of tea).
- Remove tea bag and pour in 1 cup of rolled oats. Note: If using instant or steel cut oats, follow the package’s measures and stovetop cook time.
- Cook 5 minutes, or until the oats have absorbed all of the tea, stirring occasionally. Add a pinch of white sugar and mix.
- Pour oatmeal into bowl and top with chopped Medjool dates, plain yogurt, and a drizzle of maple syrup (or whatever toppings you prefer). Enjoy!
My Taste Test
The oats looked the same when cooked in tea — retaining their light brown color — but they definitely tasted different. The tea infused a slight but definitive cinnamon flavor. This eliminated the need to sprinkle more cinnamon on top, and it balanced the yogurt’s tang and the dates’ sugars.
Next time I make this treat, I’ll steep a floral-flavored tea like chamomile in milk for extra creaminess. I’m excited to try out more tea-infused oatmeal combos for the mornings ahead.
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