More Than Just Cream and Sugar in Your Morning Brew

I am a sucker for a good hot beverage.  Starbucks and Seattle’s Best used to be the bane of my wallet’s existence.  Like most people my age going back to school, I’ve started scaling back on my expenses to prepare for the inevitable poverty of grad school.  So I’ve invested in a French press, a couple of mesh loose tea strainers, and an electric kettle.

And I’ve made a discovery.  Not only does my tea and coffee taste so much better, but I can easily infuse magical properties into the beverage.  Kind of a huge ‘duh why didn’t I think about that before’ moment.  So I’ve been doing some research on the ethics and magical properties of these beverages that I thought I’d pass on to my readers.

  • Coffee:  For some reason, this substance has a bad rap in the Pagan and witchy community.  I get it; it’s usually produced under deplorable working and environmental conditions and has astronomical acid and caffeine contents.  However as we become a more globalized society the availability of free trade, organic coffee is starting to become available in every grocery store.  My college even sells it to students as a fund raiser.  If for some reason you can’t tolerate coffee at all but want a similar beverage, try either chai tea or a combination of dandelion root and cinnamon   Magically, it is associated with fire and can be used in creativity or academic spells.  To infuse, I’ve been drawing symbols into the grounds at the bottom of my French press as I’ve waited for the water to boil.
  • Non-Herbal Tea: Yes, technically all tea is herbal.  What I mean is your standard black, green, white, chai, rooibos, and the variety of flavors that these types comprise (i.e. Earl Grey, Lady Grey, English Breakfast, Constant Comment, etc).  Again, a lot of these brews have similar ethical problems as coffee.  Look into buying certified organic and fair trade varieties   Also, consider buying loose leaf because you get more bang for your buck.  Cunningham associates tea with strength and courage, but through personal experience I am adding comfort, healing, and relaxation to tea’s list of magical properties.
  • Herbal Tea: This is everything else: peppermint, chamomile, lemon-ginger, raspberry leaf, lemon balm, etc.  I’m not even going to begin going into the magical properties because it varies by type (see Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs or a similar volume).  As for the ethics behind this type of tea, at least in the US these varieties can be grown in the home or bought from a local herbiary.  Consider even taking a course in how to make herbal blends yourself to meet personal taste or health needs.
  • Apple Cider: A fall staple in my household.  You can buy it from the grocery store, but I prefer to go directly to a local farm because it’s good for the economy in my area and I know exactly where the product is coming from.  Something that you can do with cider is to mull it with spices, which you can infuse with specific properties (CharmingPixieFlora has a good recipe video if you’ve never done this before.)  Apples themselves are associated with health and wisdom.
  • Hot Chocolate: If you’ve never made hot chocolate from scratch, you’re missing out because it’s so much more flavorful that the powdered stuff. Lately though chocolate itself has been kind of bastardized with waxes and random crap (I’m looking at you, Hershey).  You can go the fair-trade, organic route, or just check the list of ingredients on the label.  I like mixing the chocolate with half-and-half and a pinch of chili or cinnamon in a double boiler.  As a magical substance it is associated with love and ancestors.

© Ariadne Woods

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