I learned to drink herbal teas when I was living in NYC… I started making myself chamomile and linden teas to help me go to sleep. Chamomile and linden are both commonly used as relaxers. Later on, I also started to drink teas as part of natural treatments – that’s how I got to know lemongrass tea, peppermint tea, Siberian ginseng tea, cold care mixes, etc.
But I have never been too fond of hot beverages while living in Puerto Rico… I just start sweating after drinking any hot tea, for a treatment or not. But, when I visited Israel in 2000 , ittle did I know I would fall in love with a tea… or an infusion, I should really say. At the end of each meal we would be offered a mint tea – a handful of spearmint leaves in hot water; mix the water up with brown sugar or honey and you have the loveliest after dinner drink. It helps in digestion and tastes awesome. During our visit to Israel, I would finish all our meals with a few cups of that…
But since then I have learned to be very careful when asking for a mint tea… in a Middle Eastern restaurant or otherwise. Because tea is really a specific plant that’s dried or cured and commercial teas out there mix that plant with other herbs to make flavored teas… Tea usually has caffeine, the main reason I do not drink coffee or chocolate. So every time I get the craving of mint tea after eating falafels, etc. I am usually left with the unfulfilled desire for one… And since that trip I remember with fondness those spearmint infusions.
Spearmint is not as widely available here in Puerto Rico and when I tried to grow it here next the beach, the leaves get too bruised by the constant heat. But now, with my CSA box, I get spearmint grown in Aibonito on a weekly basis. So I can enjoy my spearmint tea while watching my TiVo…
2 sprigs of spearmint About 1 ½ cups of water Honey or Brown Sugar to taste
- In a small saucepan with a cover, bring the water to a boil. When water is boiling (or at least shows little bubbles in the bottom of the pan), turn the stove off. Place the spearmint sprigs in the water and cover.
- Wait for at least 15-20 minutes for the leaves to steep in the hot water.
- Strain the leaves from the water into a mug and season with honey, brown sugar or even agave nectar…. your preference.
This is great as an after-dinner drink… they serve it at Le Bernadin in NYC. They use French presses used to make coffee to present the spearmint leaves and water… when you press on the lever, then you’re left with the liquid infused with spearmint flavor. Yummy…