Unlike dry loose-leaf teas, mint tea should use fresh green sprigs from the garden or herb box. In the U.S., peppermint and spearmint are the most common varieties. The former has a distinct menthol aroma, while the latter is less assertive and slightly sweeter.
Start to Finish: 10 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
- 2 bunches of fresh mint leaves
- 6 cups of water
- 6 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 2 tablespoons loose-leaf green tea (optional)
Bring the water to a boil. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is chalky or hard.
Rinse the mint sprigs under cold water and tear the leaves apart to encourage the release of essential oils. Place the leaves in the bottom of a French press or teapot. With a wooden spoon, pound the leaves gently.
A metal teapot with a narrow spout, the kind used in North Africa, packs three advantages. It can be rinsed out with hot water to warm the pot, offers more control over pouring, and can even be placed on the stove for simmering to concentrate the sweetness of the sugar.
Pour the boiled water over the leaves, cover and allow to steep for 5 minutes. For a stronger brew, allow the leaves to steep for up to 10 minutes.
Pour the tea through a strainer to catch the leaves and serve with sugar or honey. While mint tea is quite refreshing by itself, this is an infusion that is often served sweet. To savor the color and aroma, serve in small heatproof glasses.
Pour the tea from on high, roughly at arm's length, into the cup, Moroccan style, which helps aerate the tea and gives it a slight foam.
Allow the tea to cool and serve it with ice for a refreshing summer drink. Unlike black tea, mint leaves won't stew in the water and turn bitter, but the leaves should be removed nevertheless if the tea is left for an extended period.
For a more robust brew with a little more body, combine the mint leaves with a tablespoonful of loose dried green tea. This is the traditional serving in North Africa, where mint tea is drunk throughout the day. Essentially, Moroccan and Tunisian teas are closer to green tea flavored with mint, but serving the teas with plenty of sugar balances the green tea's tannin.