Growing Mint For Tea

Mint grows like a weed. If you put it in the ground it will spread and take over. Once you have it, it will be hard to eradicate. You really need to keep it in a pot to prevent it from spreading. A nearby community garden made the mistake of planting mint in the ground.

So much mint!

But their mistake is my good fortune. I’ve been wanting to try to make my own mint tea, and since the only kind of gardening I’m doing at the moment is container gardening (not counting the community garden, of course), I thought now would be as good a time as ever to try to growing mint.

I pulled up a bit of the peppermint from the patch at the community garden, cut the roots/rhizomes into roughly 2 inch pieces and put them in a pot. I gave them a bit of water and that’s it.

Mint cuttings to plant

There are a million and one recipes for mint tea with fresh mint leaves: The Spruce Eats, Gourmande in the Kitchen, Martha Stewart, Champagne Tastes….

They all say pretty much the same thing:

  1. Get a bunch of fresh mint leaves
  2. Put them in a cup or teapot
  3. (Optional: Muddle the leaves)
  4. Add boiling water
  5. Let steep for 5-10 minutes

I followed those steps, and the results were….

Steps 2 and 3: Mint leaves muddled in a cup
Step 4: Add hot water
Step 5: Steeping for 5-10 minutes

…lackluster.

The tea was weak and bland. I left it steep for longer (30 minutes), which resulted in weak, bland, and lukewarm tea.

I left the concoction sit in the glass overnight, and when I checked on it the next morning, it was much darker in color and finally tasted like mint! I re-heated it and added a tiny bit more boiling water, and it was actually pretty good.

After steeping overnight, mint leaves (mostly) removed

It’s not quite the same as the mint tea bags you’d buy at a store. It has a slight…uh…earthy note. It takes a little getting used to, but after a few sips, it’s just as good as the store bought stuff.

If you like fresh mint tea, I think it would be best to brew up a pitcher of this tea once a week, and keep it in the fridge. Reheat a small cup-fulls as you like, or drink cold as an iced tea. I haven’t tried adding honey or sugar, but I imagine that would be fine.


Marie’s Recipe for Fresh Mint Tea

Serves: 1 (multiply recipe for more portions)

Time: 5 minutes (plus 8 hour steeping time)

  1. Get a bunch of mint leaves (maybe 10? 20?)
  2. Place them in a cup and “muddle” them by mashing them with a wooden spoon for a minute or two
  3. Add boiling water to the cup
  4. Let it sit for at least 8 hours, or longer if you’d like
  5. Strain out mint leaves
  6. Reheat and enjoy! (Or refrigerate until chilled and enjoy!)