How to make the perfect tea with bay leaf

1.1.24 | Recipe by Renz

Fresh bay leaves add a gorgeous aromatic flavor to savory dishes, but did you know they also make delicious herbal tea? Simple to make and full of health benefits, bay leaf tea is the perfect winter drink.

Deliciously brewed bay leaf tea in a glass cup with cloves and cinnamon.

West Indian bay leaf tea is warming and comforting, and there’s nothing more relaxing than breathing in deeply and enjoying the aromatic scent. It’s also simple to make and only has two ingredients.

As well as tasting great, bay leaf tea has a host of medicinal properties. It’s full of antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamins, and it can help ease upset stomachs and relieve congestion.

This healthy drink is a caffeine-free natural pick-me-up. Keep the recipe simple and add a hint of sweetness with sugar, or add ginger, cinnamon, and cloves for some extra fire.


What exactly is bay leaf?

So, you've heard of bay leaf tea, and now you're probably wondering, "What in the world is a bay leaf, and why would I want to make tea out of it?" Well, buckle up, because we're about to dive into the world of this humble yet flavorful and fragrant leaves.

Bay Leaf is like the quiet hero of anyone's spice cabinet. It's not the star of the show like cinnamon or the flashy cousin like basil, but it plays a crucial supporting role that can't be ignored. The bay leaf comes from the leaves of the bay laurel tree and is often used in cooking to add depth and aroma to various dishes.

A bunch of dried bayleaves laying flat on a board.

Now, let's talk about taste. If you're expecting a flavor explosion you might be in for a surprise. Bay leaves are subtle players. They don't scream for attention; instead, they whisper their contribution to the dish.

The taste is a delicate mix of herbal, slightly bitter, and a tad peppery. It's the kind of flavor that sneaks up on you, making you appreciate the dish without quite pinpointing the source. It's perfect for culinary use. I love adding it to my Guinness lamb stew.

So, why turn these leaves into tea? Well, besides the fact that it's a unique way to experience the essence of bay leaves, some claim that bay leaf tea has potential health benefits. From digestion aid to stress relief, it's like a soothing sip of nature's remedy.

But a word of caution – don't go munching on bay leaves straight from the spice jar. They're not exactly the most palatable on their own. It's in the gentle simmering of a few leaves in hot water that their magic is unleashed, creating a tea that's both comforting and intriguing.

So there you have it – the lowdown on bay leaf. It might not be the trendiest seasoning out there, but it's a hidden gem in the world of herbal infusions. Give it a try, and you might just find yourself on a journey to discover the subtle wonders that a simple bay leaf can bring to your cup.

Ingredient notes

Ingredients for bay leaf tea. Bay leaves, cloves, ginger, and sugar.

  • Bay leaves: You can make bay leaf tea with any type of bay leaf, but for the best results, use West Indian Bay leaves, which are more fragrant and have a stronger flavor. Buy them in larger supermarkets or online. Dried bay leaves or fresh leaves both work well.
  • Sugar: Use brown sugar for a deeper, richer flavor.


These are optional but recommended, as they will give your bay leaf tea a wonderfully warm and spicy taste. 

Ginger: Use slices of fresh ginger for the best results, and be sure to peel off the tough outer skin first. Not only is ginger wonderfully fresh and firey but it’s also known to reduce nausea and help fight colds and flu.

Cloves: Dried cloves are available in most grocery stores and add a slightly sweet and spicy layer to your cup of tea.

Cinnamon stick: Cinnamon adds a woody sweetness to the overall soothing effect of bay leaf tea that you can’t replicate with anything else. 

How to make bay leaf tea?

Making some tea follows a really basic recipe.

To prepare bay leaf tea, bring four cups of water to a rolling boil in a small pot.

Add the bay leaves, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, if you are using them, to the hot water. Boil everything together for about five minutes.

Bay leaf, clove, cinnamon simmering in hot boiling water.

Remove from the heat and cover the pan. Leave the tea to steep while covered for another five minutes.

Sweeten with sugar to taste, and strain to remove the bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves if used. Pour out your cup of hot bay leaf tea and enjoy.

Bay leaf tea benefits

Wondering what bay leaf tea is good for? As well as being delicious, it has Various health benefits and is great for medicinal purposes.

Great source of Vitamins

One of the benefits of bay leaves is that they are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C - all of which help to support a healthy immune system. Perfect in the chilly winter months.

Good for digestion

Delicious bay leaf tea may help soothe upset stomachs and aid digestion. It’s even more effective for digestion if you add ginger, which is well-known for fighting nausea.

seeped bay leaf tea in a cup with a jug of milk in the background.

Helps fight colds and flu

Another of the health benefits of bay leaf tea is that it helps fight colds and flu. The immune-boosting vitamins help build your body’s natural defenses, and the delicate spicy taste will soothe your symptoms.

Sends you off to sleep

There is nothing quite like a soothing cup of bay leaf tea to help you relax and gently ease into sleep. Warm drinks help bring on sleepiness, and combined with the beautiful flavor and aroma of the bay leaves, you’ll be nodding off in no time.

As with anything, there are potential side effects if you use too many bay leaves in your tea. It is also known to drop blood sugar levels so be very careful if you are taking medication for diabetes. It also can be hard to digest, so using too many could give you an upset stomach. The amount in this bay leaf tea recipe is perfect for taste and making sure you don’t use too much.

A cup of bay leaf tea with a bay leaf in it along with random leaves strewn on a coaster with a white spoon.

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Best way to store bay leaf tea

This bay leaf tea recipe makes four cups, perfect if you want to store some for later. To store bay leaf tea, strain it like you were about to serve it and put it in an airtight container. Then, move it to the refrigerator, where you may keep it for up to three days.

For long-term storage, it’s best to make up a fresh batch. It’s so quick and simple it won’t take you long!


To reheat bay leaf tea, pour it into a saucepan and warm gradually over medium heat. It's ready to serve once the tea begins to boil gently, with tiny bubbles breaking the surface.