Is chamomile tea good with milk? Short answer: Abso-creamy-tea-lutely!
For a delicious long answer and discussion, brew yourself a cuppa and let's chat.
Chamomile, the Herb
Chamomile (or Camomile, in British English) is a flowering herb in the Asteraceae family, which includes echinacea, sunflowers, marigolds, dandelions, ragweed, and more. (Heads up if you're allergic to ragweed because chamomile is related to it.)
Chamomile flowers look like a daisy with narrow white petals surrounding a yellow center. Young flowers and buds are harvested for tea and used fresh or dried. The dried yellow heads are what we see most often in loose leaf tea.
Egypt and Eastern Europe lead the world in chamomile production, but it is grown and harvested across Asia and the Americas, as well. It grows as a
weed wildflower along my gravel driveway in Alaska.
Chamomile is used in many ways, including as a ground cover instead of grass and in lotions and soaps. It's been used in folk medicines for thousands of years, and was recognized in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Modern medical studies are wanting, but many people believe the herb promotes wellness, relaxation, and sleep.
These days, the most widespread use is probably as an herbal tea, naturally caffeine free, which can be enjoyed with or without milk.
Chamomile Tea, Plain
Straight-up chamomile tea has an earthy, slightly floral aroma and subtle flavor. The name comes from the Greek khamaimēlon, which means "ground apple," so it's no surprise there's a fruity note, as well.
This gentle flower and subtle flavor wields tremendous power over human emotions: people seem to either love it or hate it. I wasn't always a fan, but I find that honey, maple syrup, and/or lemon (especially lemon!) make it more to my taste. Likewise, adding warm milk, either dairy or non dairy milk, makes a creamy warm tea that amplifies the cozy, relaxing experience for which chamomile tea is famous.
To make straight-up chamomile tea, steep one to four tablespoons of fresh or dried flowers or heads in just-under-boiling water (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit) for three to 10 minutes. (Start with five minutes and adjust from there.) A proper steep can make all the difference. If you're using a commercial tea, follow the maker's instructions.
Chamomile Tea, Plus
Chamomile is a friendly flavor that plays well with others, and this is where Plum Deluxe shines . . . and where I get on board the chamomile tea-lovers train.
Browsing the Plum Deluxe chamomile tea blends quickly reveals the affable flavor: it's used in both black tea (has caffeine) and herbal tea and is blended with rose petals, rose hips, mint, lavender, lemon, apple, pineapple, peach, orange, and hibiscus. Phew! That is one versatile flower!
Is it any wonder it's also good with milk?
How to Make a Chamomile Tea Latte
One way to make a chamomile tea latte is to simply add one part heated milk, frothy or not, to one part brewed tea. Use one-and-a-half to twice as many (or more!) tea leaves as you normally would for a stronger tea to balance the addition of that much milk.
Or you can brew your tea in milk instead. This is handy for a bedtime brew when you're feeling lazy. (What? Me, lazy? Only at bedtime.)
Chamomile Tea Latte
- 1 cup milk, dairy or non-dairy oat milk, soy milk, or nut milk
- 1 tablespoon chamomile loose leaf tea
Gently heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring so it doesn't burn, and add a tablespoon of loose tea leaves to the milk just before turning off the heat. Cover the pan and let the leaves steep for about 10 minutes. Pour your chamomile tea latte through a strainer and enjoy!
Dairy milk is customary, but this recipe works as well with non-dairy milks like oat, soy, almond, coconut, and more.
I like this with Calm Chamomile Bloom herbal tea (rose/lavender) and oat milk. Lavender is also a calming scent and flavor, doubling the soothing effects. It's dreamy!
If you've been searching for a lavender tea that really tastes and smells like lavender, give this one a go, even if you hate chamomile. I like strong flower flavors and scents, and this is the first commercial lavender tea to which I do not add extra lavender.
To Froth or Not to Froth (and How To)
If you like your milk frothy, you likely have a specialized tool to create the bubbly foam at home. Really, though, anyone with a lidded jar can do it, as McKenna Marek showed us in her Butterfly Pea Milk Tea Recipe. Simply shake your milk vigorously in a jar with lots of head room. Dairy milk froths best, but some folks say the non-dairy milks can be frothed, too. Personally, I've not had much success with it, but, then, I'm not especially motivated.
You can add frothed milk to water-brewed tea, or have a go at frothing your chamomile tea latte after straining the leaves.
Honey Chamomile Tea Latte
Commercial chamomile tea latte is generally chamomile tea with creamy milk and honey. You can make something equally delicious (and way-yonder more adventurous) at home with Cuddletime herbal tea (chamomile/mint) or Cozy Tranquil Dream herbal tea (rosehip/spearmint) using either the one-part-tea-one-part-milk method or brewing the tea directly in the milk and adding honey.
Just as non-dairy, a.k.a. "alt," milks work for chamomile milk tea, alt honeys work for honey chamomile tea lattes. Maple syrup is my fave, but give agave a try, too. And if you want to get really adventurous, try some apple juice or another fruit juice or the water left over after you've soaked dates. (What do you mean you don't soak dates? You don't make chocolate date truffles?)
What Else Mixes Well with Chamomile Tea?
Plum Deluxe covers lots of flavor bases with their blends, but there's one flavor that is not currently in the mix: cinnamon.
Both ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks mix beautifully in Tranquil Peach herbal tea (pineapple/peach/chamomile) with milk and a little honey. Think: peach cobbler.
But let's not stop there. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right?
Golden Chamomile Milk Tea
Like chamomile tea, golden milk, with its blend of turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, is touted as a calming bevvy to help you wind down after a hectic day and promote sleep. I make it with coconut milk and add a pinch of black pepper and teaspoon of floral honey.
Because I have wild chamomile growing in my yard, it's easy to toss in a handful of fresh flowers or dried heads while the milk warms.
Alternatively, a mild golden milk added to strong Tranquil Peach herbal tea (pineapple/peach/chamomile) is a fancy tea latte.
If cinnamon blends well with chamomile, then why not cardamom, allspice, cloves, and ginger? Indeed, chai spices are yummy with chamomile tea, but they can quickly overwhelm it, too. What we need is a whisper of chai spices with a strong chamomile tea latte.
To get a strong base that won't wither with the addition of milk and spices, make a chamomile tea concentrate. The concentrate is also excellent for summery iced teas and lemonade blends. Again, I like chai spices (cinnamon and cardamom are my faves) with Tranquil Peach herbal tea (pineapple/peach/chamomile).
Cozy Chamomile Conclusion
Chamomile tea with milk is an excellent hot tea and a deliciously safe playground for tea adventurers.
If experimenting on your own isn't your thing, that's cool. I won't lie: I drink a lot of wonky flavored tea. I never throw out anything. If a tea blend doesn't taste good, clearly it's missing something, so I keep adding until it's drinkable. Ahem. Blender beware!
Another perfectly respectable tack to take, and a sure thing, is to enjoy an expertly crafted blend from Plum Deluxe while you wait and see what new, exotic, surprising chamomile flavor sensation the team comes up with next! Whatever it is, sure, you can add milk to it.