West Indian Bay Leaf Tea

West Indian Bay Leaf Tea

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 1 mins
Cook: 3 mins
Steep: 4 mins
Total: 8 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 10mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 2mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

We customarily think of bay leaves as an essential ingredient in fall soups, hearty stews and, of course, a necessary component in making homemade tomato sauce. You pop them in during cooking and then remove them before serving. But there is more than one kind of bay leaf, and if you choose the right one, these savory leaves can do a whole lot more than infuse your cooking with flavor. West Indian bay leaves (Pimenta racemosa) are great on their own, brewed as a tea.

This type of bay leaf is different from what's usually used in savory applications. West Indian bay leaves have more of a spicy taste: think cinnamon and cloves, along with some hints of vanilla and cardamom. In addition to being used in this tea, they're also a signature ingredient in many Caribbean dishes and the popular Christmas drink sorrel. Note that the culinary bay leaves you are accustomed to typically exhibit flavors and aromas of lemon and pine and won't taste the same as West Indian bay leaves if you use them in this tea.

A hot cup of West Indian bay leaf tea is comforting—almost like aromatherapy. The fragrant leaves release their essence and give you a spiced herbal tea with no caffeine that will have you going back for a second cup.


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"Soothing, aromatic, and comforting are just a few words that describe this Caribbean-style tea that can be enjoyed anytime with practically no effort." —Diana Andrews

West Indian Bay Leaf Tea Test Image
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Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    West Indian Bay Leaf Tea ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. In a small pot, add the bay leaves and water. Cover and boil over high heat. Once the water boils, lower the heat to medium-high and continue to boil for 3 minutes.

    In a small pot, add the bay leaves and water

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let the tea steep for 4 minutes.

    Remove the pot from the heat and let the tea steep

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Strain out the bay leaves.

    Strain out the bay leaves from the pot

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. If desired, sweeten or add milk to suit your taste.

    West Indian Bay Leaf Tea, with milk

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi


  • If you're using milk, only use a small splash, as too much milk will dilute the flavor of the tea.
  • Honey is especially delicious in this tea, but you might try a little bit of brown sugar, granulated sugar, agave syrup, or even maple syrup.

Recipe Variation

  • Add a cinnamon stick with the bay leaf and water during the boiling process, or add some loose cloves, to boost the flavors of warm spices. Strain and discard before drinking.
  • Double the recipe's ingredients but not the amount of water to make a double-strength concentrate. Then, keep the concentrate in the refrigerator and use it to make iced tea by adding a little bit of water, until it meets your desired strength.


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