Quest for the perfect Mint Tea

I drink much too much coffee, very strong coffee and for the last two weeks I’ve been trying to cut down.   I went cold turkey for a week, and its astonishing how hard it is to fill the working day without regular coffee breaks, so when I’ve been working from home I’ve been drinking a lot of mint tea.

I’ve got four different varieties of mint in my garden.   Garden mint is very invasive so they’re all planted in large pots sunk down into the ground.

Moroccan Mint - Mentha spicata var. crispa 'Moroccan'

Moroccan Mint is probably the variety I use most.   The flavour is excellent in salads and Middle Eastern food – which is the backbone of a lot of what I cook.  I used it in the Broad Bean Hummous too.

Tashkent Mint - Mentha spicata 'Tashkent'

I use it almost interchangeably with Tashkent Mint, which has slightly larger more serrated leaves but a similar flavour.

Both varieties do make excellent mint tea, but Jekka McVicar the guru of herbs says that Eastern Mint, also known as Desert Mint  (Mentha longifolia subsp schimperi) makes the best Mint Tea so I was keen to give it a try.   Even my local herb specialists Iden Croft Herbs which has dozens of mint varieties doesn’t have it so I tried to order it directly from Jekka’s Herbs by mail order.    It was out of stock for months, but eventually arrived in a couple of weeks ago.

Desert Mint - Mentha Longifolia subsp schimperi

The leaves are much longer and thinner and barely serrated at all.   The smell is far more intensely minty with a hint of eau de cologne and the flavour of a raw leaf is almost too much.    It is brilliant in mint tea, but the flavour is so intense that whereas if I were using a Moroccan Mint I’d use two or three sprigs in a cup, you only need one per mug.   Adding sugar or honey is something I’d never normally do in teas or herbal infusions but it does actually work with this sort of mint.

I also ordered some Lemon Verbena at the same time which makes an equally delicious herbal tea.

The plant itself looks beautiful and is growing like crazy.   I’ve been waxing lyrical about it to so many people that I’m currently trying to propagate it from cuttings to share with friends.  Hopefully I’ll be more successful at that than I’ve been at staying off the coffee.



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About thegreedygardener

The Greedy Gardener is a seasonal food diary of a fruit and vegetable garden in Kent, the garden of England. I can't be self-sufficient but I'm trying to see how much of the food I eat can be measured in food metres rather than food miles.
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4 Responses to Quest for the perfect Mint Tea

  1. Sanai Denny says:

    This is one awesome article post.Much thanks again.

  2. Ricky Vroman says:

    wow, awesome blog.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  3. jessica says:

    Hi! I have a mint plant in my backyard that looks so much like your Mentha Longifolia subsp schimperi. Do you have a picture of this mint in flower? Does your mint have a pungently strong mint sent that is almost kinda skunky? Are it’s rhizomes a pale color? I’ve searched the whole internet trying to track down my mint’s exact species. I want to know exactly what it is before I try to make tea or anything else with it. Thanks!!

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