Kid-friendly Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

Recipe: Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Sunflower Light Pro/
prep time
12 minutes
cook time
5 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • boil :

    to cook a food in liquid heated to the point of gas bubbles and steam forming (boiling point is 212 F at sea level).

  • steep :

    to soak a food, like tea, in water or other liquid so as to bring out its flavor.

Equipment Checklist

  • Saucepan
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon


Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

  • 2 C water
  • 2 C whole milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk)**
  • 1/4 C sugar/honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 decaf tea bags (any flavor)

Food Allergen Substitutions

Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free milk. 


Warm Mongolian Cinnamon Milk Tea

measure + add + boil

Measure and add 2 cups water, 2 cups milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 pinch of salt, and 1 pinch of cinnamon to a saucepan and bring to a boil.

steep + pour

Turn off heat and add 2 decaf tea bags to the pan. Let steep for 10 minutes as the tea cools to warm. Remove tea bags, whisk until the drink is blended and frothy, then pour into mugs and enjoy!

Surprise Ingredient: Cinnamon!

back to recipe
Photo by Geshas/

Hi!  I’m Cinnamon!

"Did you know that I'm a spice that comes from the inner bark of certain trees?! You can add me to both sweet and savory foods. Recipes generally call for ground cinnamon, but you can also use cinnamon sticks, dried strips of my bark that curl into a tube shape, to flavor apple cider, stews, curries, and more. Just don't forget to remove the stick before serving! And, what's more, I can make your kitchen and home smell wonderful!"


  • Some people say the best kind of cinnamon, referred to as the "true cinnamon" and called Ceylon, is native to an island southeast of India called Sri Lanka. It has a more subtle flavor than other types. The most common cinnamon in use today, though, is derived from Cassia, which originated in China.   
  • Cinnamon is an ancient spice. It was imported to Egypt in about 2000 BCE. The ancient Egyptians used cinnamon together with myrrh to embalm the dead. They considered cinnamon to be more valuable than gold!  

Anatomy & Etymology 

  • Cinnamon is the inner bark of some tree species of the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon trees can grow about 60 feet tall.
  • Cinnamon farmers begin to harvest cinnamon when the tree reaches two years old. They cut the tree back so that shoots form from the stump. After one more year, the farmers strip the outer bark from the shoots and set the peels out to dry in the sun.
  • When the bark dries, it curls into "quills," which are the sticks that are cut and sold as cinnamon sticks. They can also be ground into powdered cinnamon, which is how much of the cinnamon we see is sold in stores. So, what do a porcupine and a cinnamon tree have in common? They both grow quills!
  • The word "cinnamon" comes from late Middle English derived from the Old French form, "cinnamome," from the Greek "kinnamon." The Greek was borrowed from a Phoenician word, which was similar to the related Hebrew word "qinnāmōn."

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • Cinnamon is harvested twice a year, immediately after the rainy season. The humidity in the air makes the bark peel more easily.
  • The bark is typically peeled by hand by skilled peelers.
  • The quality of cinnamon is judged by the thickness of the bark, the appearance of the quills (broken or whole), the aroma, and the flavor. 
  • Cinnamon is a spice used to add flavor to a variety of dishes. For example, it may be added to desserts, chocolate, toast (in cinnamon sugar), fruit (especially apples), roasted veggies, soups, tea, and hot cocoa. It's also good in savory dishes like Bavarian pot roast, Moroccan chicken, and Indian curry. 


  • It is best to eat cinnamon in small doses in its ground form, sprinkling it on top of food or adding a small teaspoon to food. Eating too much cinnamon could cause adverse health effects.
  • Cinnamon has one of the most recognizable scents. Its pungent, spicy smell is due to the chemical called "cinnamaldehyde." This chemical is considered an antioxidant that has some anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Cinnamon is believed to regulate the sugar in our blood and possibly lower cholesterol; however, study findings aren't clear.
  • Cinnamon oil can keep mosquitoes away! It kills mosquito larvae and probably repels adult mosquitoes, too. 


Types of Milk Tea!

Photo by gowithstock/ (Taiwan Bubble Tea)
  • Many countries have a version of milk tea that is part of their culture. Milk Tea is simply tea with milk, although preparation methods may vary, and it may be served hot or cold and include sweeteners and various spices. 
  • In India and throughout South Asia, "masala chai" or "spicy tea" is popular. It is made by brewing black tea leaves in milk and water, then adding sugar and spices.
  • "Suutei tsai," also known as "Mongolian salty tea," is a milk tea from Mongolia made with tea leaves, milk, water, and salt.   
  • Taiwan has "bubble tea," which found its way via Taiwanese immigrants to the United States in the 1990s. It is also called "pearl milk tea" and "boba tea." Bubble tea is sometimes milk-free; however, condensed or other milk and sugar are typically added to black, green, or oolong tea. It is often served cold, and toppings, like "boba" (tapioca pearls), are added. 
  • In the United Kingdom, it is common to have milk in a black tea like English breakfast tea. Some Brits add milk to the cup before the tea, and some add it after. There seems to be some debate about the method that results in the best cup of tea or "cuppa."

Let's Learn About Mongolia + the Spice Trade!

Photo by Katiekk/
  • Mongolia is an East Asian country between China and Russia. It has a semi-presidential system. They have a president elected by the people, who is head of state, and the president nominates a prime minister, who is head of government. Their legislative body or parliament, called the State Great Khural, is also elected.
  • Mongolian is the official language. However, a few other languages and dialects are also spoken in Mongolia, and both English and Russian are taught as foreign languages.
  • The capital and largest city is Ulaanbaatar. About half of Mongolia's population lives there.
  • Mongolia's size is 603,909 square miles. With a population of just over three million, it's the least populated independent nation in the world. Much of its area is a grassy steppe, vast unfarmed grassland prairie with few trees. 
  • The temperature in Mongolia can vary by as much as 35 degrees in one day! (That sounds like Denver, where Sticky Fingers Cooking is based!)
  • Genghis Khan is considered the founder of Mongolia. He rose to power after he united the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia, establishing the largest empire in the world, exceeded only by the British Empire in the 19th century. Within 25 years, Genghis Khan's horsemen conquered an area larger and greater in population than the Romans did in four hundred years.
  • About 30 percent of Mongolians are nomadic or semi-nomadic people and animal farmers. Nomads regularly move from place to place with all their belongings, depending on weather, food availability, and pastureland for their livestock. They will often move in front of a mountain for shelter in winter, and when it is hot and dry in summer, they move next to a river. In autumn, they move up to the hills to collect hay for wintertime. 
  • For many nomadic communities, riding a horse is considered as important as learning to walk, and horses are essential to their culture.
  • "The Five Snouts" form the foundation of Mongolian nomadic culture, lifestyle, and cuisine: horses, sheep, goats, camels, and yaks. Yak milk and mutton are common in Mongolian cuisine. The two-humped Bactrian camel is native to Mongolia.  
  • Nomadic life may sound primitive to us, but their lifestyle is often a choice. Also, nomadic people have cell phones like everyone else! They just happen to travel by camel and horse.
  • Livestock is the leading economic sector for Mongolia, which keeps the nomadic tradition still alive today. However, although that life is traditional, more and more people are moving to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, in search of a more modern lifestyle.
  • Mongolia's climate is arid and often gets just a couple of inches of rain per year. It is also incredibly windy, as there are no trees, tall grasses, or shrubs to break the wind.
  • The Gobi is the world's coldest desert and covers most of Southern Mongolia. Also, it was in the Gobi Desert that the first dinosaur egg fossil was found.
  • Mongolians are incredibly hospitable, and if you visit the countryside of Mongolia, you will likely be greeted at the entrance of a family's traditional dwelling and invited inside for a cup of hot, salty milk tea. 
  • Today, many Mongolians live in yurts, or gers, which are tent-like, dome-shaped dwellings that are light enough to be disassembled, carried many miles across the steppe and assembled again. Solar panels are becoming a common addition to the yurt today, and yurts are more commonly permanent now. 
  • Historically, most people living in Mongolia have been Buddhist. 
  • The "Tsaggan Ubgen" is the Mongolian guardian of life and longevity and a symbol of prosperity and fertility for Mongol people. 
  • The Mongolian diet consists of two food groups: white and red. White foods are dairy products, and red foods are animal meat. Vegetables and spices did not enter the diet until the Mongolian Empire developed, and their use is still limited. However, garlic and onions were highly prized and used as medicine and food. Mongolia's harsh climate does not allow much farming, so they import some vegetables from China and Russia. 
  • Before Mongols began to use spices during the Spice Trade, their food was typically bland and hearty. When they traveled from place to place as warriors, their wives might provide them with a bag of meat, onions, and flour or rice. 
  • Influenced by its neighbors, China and Russia, other foods of Mongolian cuisine include dumplings, barbecue, a stew with noodles, vegetables, meat, and "boortsag," a dessert made of fried dough that can be considered either a cookie or a doughnut.
  • Ancient spice routes were connected to the Silk Trade Route by ports and sea routes. The Silk Route was an interconnected network of trade routes that allowed traders to travel from Europe to China and back again. 
  • Early in the evolution of trade, spices had an enormous impact. Spices were traded along the Silk Route for hundreds of years. The value of spices propelled political, military, and commercial change for the world. Though available in Europe through the Middle Ages, spices passed through many merchants' hands along the Silk Road, which increased their cost enormously. This prompted explorers to seek voyages to the islands where the spices grew. 
  • The Spice Trade is what created the city of New York! New York was originally New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony. After the Second Anglo-Dutch War, a treaty returned Manhattan to the British and Run Island in Indonesia, one of the Molucca Islands, to the Dutch. Several nations sought control of the Moluccas, also known as the "Spice Islands," because cloves, mace, and nutmeg grew exclusively there.
  • Traders and explorers found alternative routes to Asia when traders in the Middle East set high tax rates on their merchandise. Instead of unreasonably high tax rates, the Mongols gave traders tax exemption. In addition, Genghis Khan offered merchants a kind of passport that allowed them to safely travel along the Silk Road and carry valuable spices, tea, Asian artworks, and silk westward to waiting merchants in the Middle East and Europe.

What Is It Like to Be a Kid in Mongolia?

  • If kids grow up in a nomadic family, they will learn how to ride a horse about the same time they learn to walk. Then, at about age five or six, parents give kids the responsibility of helping to care for herd animals, like goats and sheep.
  • Kids like to play several "anklebone" games where they use Shagai, the ankle bones of goats or sheep, like dice, marbles, or game pieces. One of these games is called Horse Race, and another is called Cat's game. Kids also like puzzle games handed down from their ancestors, with puzzle pieces made of wood. Another inherited game is called "Dembee." It is a finger game played to a melody.
  • Kids like to eat "aaruul," dried milk curd, as a snack, and they'll have boortsag (fried dough) for dessert, especially on special occasions.
  • A child's first haircut is celebrated with family and friends and is called "Daah Urgeeh." This occasion occurs between their 2nd and 5th birthdays. Each guest cuts a strand of the child's hair and gives them a blessing and a gift, and everyone enjoys traditional food and drinks.

The Yolk's On You

I named my dog Cinnamon!

He's a lot of bark!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call a cow that doesn’t give milk?

A milk dud!

That's Berry Funny

What did mama cow say to baby calf?

It’s pasture bedtime.

THYME for a Laugh

What do teapots wear to a tea party? 


Lettuce Joke Around

What is the Alphabet’s favorite drink? 

T, of course!

The Yolk's On You

What does an invisible man drink?

Evaporated milk!

The Yolk's On You

Why must you be careful of tea at night? 

Because it might mug you.

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