Recipe: Sudanese Cinnamon Tea


Under the pulsing noonday sun, Tea Ladies line the streets of Sudan. They soak up what little shade they can find. Water simmers over charcoal stoves. They swirl a mishmash of ingredients through the steam, into the pot.

You can pick your combination. Will it be mint? Or what about ginger? The most popular option for many patrons is cinnamon tea, a blend of black tea steeped with cinnamon sticks. Many patrons like to hold a sugar cube between the teeth while drinking to sweeten the brew.


When business is good, men sit and talk at the edge of their Tea Lady’s makeshift stall. They sip her healing brews on metal chairs, a wooden box, or on their haunches. They don’t rush.

They soak in the warmth. The might nibble some Zalabya, a.k.a. sugar dumplings, to go with it.

Others rush by and drink on the run. When their too busy at home to make tea, this is their version of Starbucks or perhaps Dunkin Donuts.

Makes 3 cups


3 cinnamon sticks
3 cups water
1 Tbsp black tea (I used ceylon)
sugar cubes, as desired


For the strongest flavor, consider adding the cinnamon sticks to the water as it heats up. Otherwise add it to a teapot with the black tea.

Pour hot water over top, steep a few minutes, then pour into serving cups.

That’s it!

Just for fun, try drink  tea through a sugar cube. It’s trickier than it looks to keep the cube between your teeth for more than one sip.


I think he likes it.

While you sip, enjoy this article about the Tea Ladies in the L.A. Times.

Or watch this video… which shows some real Tea Ladies in action.

[vimeo 17475321 w=500 h=281]

I’m curious… What are your favorite uses for cinnamon sticks? Do you use them just for hot cocoa? Or do you get creative, with things like horchata … or maybe some other infused drink? I’m always looking for new ideas.

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  1. I make a carrot–juice rice pilaf that specifies cinnamon sticks for the flavoring. Whenever you cook a rice dish that has cinnamon as an ingredient, it is better to use cinnamon sticks if you don’t want to muddy the color – old Indian trick. My pilaf stays a pretty light orange instead of brown.

  2. aunty eileen says:

    Cinnamon sticks are used in ‘hot apple cider’ recipes during the cold/cool months and especially during tradition and celebration of Christmas holiday. It is the only time I use cinnamon sticks.

  3. I use about half a cinnamon stick in my homemade marinara sauce every time I make lasagne. It adds a nice warmth to the acidic tomatoes. They also work really well in your horchata recipe and in apple cider, of course.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      I’ve never thought of putting it in marinara – fascinating! I’ll have to give that a go :)

  4. Dutchgirl says:

    I like to put some cinnamon powder in my ground coffee. It gives my freshly brewed coffee a nice edge.

  5. Gluehwein (Glow Wine) at New Years: cheap red wine, water and sugar to taste; simmer with cinnamon sticks and some lemon slices. Pour into serving glasses and drink to a Happy New Year! Mm, mm, good!

  6. I use cinnamon sticks to spice rice pudding. So good. It gives the pudding a special, subtle flavor whereas ground cinnamon can be overpowering.

  7. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I
    would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

  8. A man of good taste. You used Ceylon Tea. :-) Now only if you had used Ceylon Cinnamon sticks as well, it would have been a triumph. But the pictures are fabulous and the kid is just adorable. And you used an original Bodum glass. So we will forgive you for using Cassia Cinnamon.

    By the way, the best way to get the best out of a Ceylon Cinnamon stick is to slow boil it for 15 minutes and then you have to cool for another 15 minutes. Only then will the Cinnamon stick release the goodness of Cinnamon, turning the tea into a deep golden red. Then you have to reheat it, add the tea and brew for 2-4 minutes. It is a powerful combination.

    Or you can do it the lazy way and buy our Ceylon Cinnamon Black Tea bags infused real Cinnamon Bark Oil. It is the best Cinnamon you can buy. it has large leaf premium quality Ceylon Tea which you know is the best black tea in the World.

  9. My husband, son, and I have all been sick this week, so this was the perfect drink to help with our sore throats. Love the addition of cinnamon.

    • Tara in future take 2 tsp of organic Apple Cider Vinegar with a glass of warm (not hot water) as a prevention for colds, coughs, sore throats and allergies. Must take this within 15 minutes of feeling the onset of any illness. i have not been sick in three years (touch wood) with this. Repeat every 8 hours three times if you didn’t make the 15 minute guideline. It works.

  10. This excellent website truly has all the info I wanted concerning
    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


  1. […] drinking this tea with a sugar cube between your teeth, like the local women in Global Travel Adventure‘s recipe do. Maybe practice at home before taking it to the water […]

  2. […] your morning with a kick of caffeine, cinnamon, and sugar. This black tea is simple but […]

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