A note from Daisy: For many of you, Lucas needs no introduction. For those who don’t know him yet, he is the wonderful Polish blogger and outstanding cosmetic chemistry student behind Chemist in the Bottle. Although he writes primarily about perfume, he is also a hardcore foodie. It has been meltingly hot and humid lately and to help beat the heat, I have asked him to share his refreshing recipe for mint tea. It is a bit different from how I prepare it here in the States (i.e., brew something potent, pour it over ice, add more ice), but I love learning about how people elsewhere keep cool via what they eat and what they drink.
As my parents are still visiting, I am very happy to hand the blog over to Lucas this week! I hope that you enjoy his post as much as I do.
Summer is an amazing season. Once the school year is over and children begin enjoying their vacation, people become more relaxed and everyone seems to be much happier than just a few months ago. Clear skies and sunshine are what give us endorphins, the hormones of happiness. However, when the temperature rises to dangerous levels, summer is no longer so much fun. The constant heat is hard to enjoy — especially when you have to sit in an office building or you don’t have air conditioning (or even a fan).
To counter the heat, I’d like to share a couple variations on my recipe for fresh summer mint tea. It’s a really refreshing drink that is very easy and fast to make.
You will need:
- Fresh mint leaves
Let’s make a cold mint tea first! There are two methods to make it:
METHOD 1 – hot brew – cold drink
Take two fresh mint leaves if you’re making a single cup, or 5-6 leaves if you want to prepare a liter’s worth of tea. Put the mint leaves into your cup or pot. Boil some water. When the water is hot, pour in just enough to drown the leaves. You only want to cover the bottom of your cup or pot. Let it sit until the water is cool. During this time, the leaves will transfer their flavor and a little bit of their color to the water. Next, add enough cold water to fill your cup or pot and put it in the fridge to chill. After about 2-3 hours, your icy mint tea should be almost ready. Now you can add a slice of lemon and lime to add a citrus taste to your drink. Voilà! The tea is ready!
METHOD 2 – cold brew – cold drink
Take the same amount of fresh mint leaves and crush them with a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle in your kitchen, simply chop the leaves roughly with a knife or use scissors to cut them into smaller pieces. Fill the pot with the water and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, your water will have a light green tinge. The color will be more intense than if you had used the hot brew method, as cutting the leaves helps the pigment and flavor to transfer more easily to the water. Pouring hot water over cut or crushed leaves will cause your tea to taste more intense and be darker. This is called infusion. Add a slice of lemon and/or lime for an even more refreshing twist. For this cold beverage, ice cubes are optional. Please be aware that if you add a lot of them, the tea will be more diluted. I rarely add ice to my cup but when I do, it’s usually only 2 ice cubes. Neither of these methods (infusion or hot brew) make a very strong tea so you don’t want to lose the charming flavor of fresh mint by adding more frozen water to it.
METHOD 3 – hot brew – hot drink
Both of the methods above produce a cold drink. However, you must believe me when I say that it’s sometimes good to drink something hot when it’s hot outside. This might sound ridiculous and ridiculously unappealing (I mean, who wants to have a hot drink when it’s scorching outside?) but I have found that when it’s 35°C (that’s 95°F) outside, you can feel refreshed and less tired of the heat after you treat yourself to a hot liquid.
Once again, take 2 fresh mint leaves, 5 for a pot’s worth, and cover them with hot, but not boiling water. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes for the tea to be properly infused. Toss in a slice of lemon, lime, or both and enjoy your hot beverage. Did you notice that the heat isn’t so tiring now? 🙂
As a matter of taste, I have to mention something about lemons and limes: if you prefer your tea to be less bitter, cut off the rind of your slice before you add it into your mint tea. The limonene present in citrus fruits is at its highest concentration in the yellow, orange or green rinds. If you have nothing against tasting a refreshing bitterness, feel free to include the rind. Its limonene and tannins are responsible for the sensation that you are enjoying.
One more thing: did you notice sodium chloride, or salt in the ingredients? On super hot days, you should always add a tiny bit into your tea. We sweat more when it’s hot out and our bodies lose their necessary minerals faster. Just a few crystals of salt will help to keep the balance of chloride anions and sodium cations in your body. Cl- are especially important in our body cells. For just a cup of tea, a pinch is enough (that should be just a couple of grains, no more!) For a liter, add about a ¼ teaspoon salt. Regardless of how you brew your tea, the salt should be added at the end, either with lemon or lime, or right afterwards. Don’t forget to stir your tea to ensure that all the crystals are properly dissolved.
In Poland, mint is a pretty seasonal garden plant so when I get some leafy sprigs of mint, I like to keep some fresh and dry the rest on my balcony in the sun. If you have fresh mint, you can do this too and enjoy your mint tea made from fresh leaves even after the summer months are over. If you dry your own leaves, remember that you should use a hot brew preparation for them. A cold method will take ages for the dried leaves to infuse the water.
If you can’t get fresh mint, you can use regular mint tea packed in bags or sachets. Use one sachet for one cup and two for the pot. If using tea bags or sachets, the hot water method of making iced tea is better. The cold infusion method works well too, but it will take longer — around 24 hours — and will give a very light brew with gentle flavor. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it is ideal for summer evenings when you want something calming before going to sleep.
I hope you enjoyed this post and will enjoy your homemade fresh summer mint tea, which is delicious and all natural. Let me know in the comments if you decide to prepare it. I would also love to hear what you think after you drank a cup or two!
One last note from Daisy: All these photos are courtesy of Lucas! I’m sure you’ll agree with me that if he ever decides to drop out of school, he could be one heck of a great photographer and/or food stylist 🙂 Thank you so much, Lucas!
20 thoughts on “Guest Post from Lucas: Fresh Mint Tea, Chemist in the Bottle-Style”
Hi Lucas! Thanks for sharing your recipes! I’ve really been into mint tea lately too. I have a fresh mint plant in my garden. My favorite way is to pour hot water over freshly crushed mint leaves and crushed raspberries with a ton of honey. Yum! Thanks for the salt tip. I’ll definitely give it a try.
Hello there! You’re very welcome. Wow, I’ve never heart of pouring hot ater over crushed raspberries. Must be super sweet and delicious. I don’t like my tea to be sweet so I don’t use sugar or honey but I’m sure adding it would be lovely as well.
Crushed raspberries do sound lovely! Yum!
I remember traveling around China one summer and I was treating myself to many cold drinks to cool down. I was quite sick and after going to the doctor he told me I should be drinking hot tea to help my digestive system. I had been drinking cold drinks all day every day. Hot tea seemed so counter intuitive but my body seemed to like it.
Hot tea in the heat really makes a change in the body behaviour.
Isn’t that interesting? Now that I think about it, I have never seen my grandfather ever have a glass of cold water. Even in the summer, I have only ever seen him drink one of three things: hot tea, hot soup, or liquor. So hard core 🙂
I have a few different varieties of mint in the garden. I really need to put them to more use. I always think about making tea with me but never get around to it. This post might just be the inspiration I needed.
Oh, that would be great if I inspired you to make some fresh mint tea. Since you have some different varieties in your garden you can try different mixing options to try which one is the best for you.
Welcome back, Lucas! Love the pics!
I have to smack myself in the forehead. I am such a heathen black tea drinker, with the occasional green tea thrown in. As I was reading your recipe, I kept thinking…but where is the tea? the tea leaves? this is mint TEA for crying out loud! I then realized MINT leaves = TEA leaves. Needless to say, I do not have a mint tea recipe to share 🙂
Thank you for the welcome back! 🙂
That really made me giggle. Yup, mint leaves make for tea leaves here 😀
Being an old fashioned sort The Dandy has printed off the recipe and pinned to the fridge.
The Perfumed Dandy
Post Script Love the snaps!
Do let me know what you think about the recipe once you try it!
Love the photos! Adorable ones of you, in particular, Lucas. And I really like the thought of using mint leaves the way one would use tea leaves. I’m not a tea drinker (ever), but my sister definitely is, so I shall share this with her! 🙂
I’m happy you love them, I’m blushing now. Too bad you’re not into tea but I hope your sister can use the recipe
Okay I am so jealous. I am trying to figure out why I don’t have that cup. I LOVE TEA. I can drink tea all day and not even think about coffee. I definitely enjoyed this post.. love the photos and the cup lol
Thank you Kay! That cup was an accidental purchase really. I went to the interior decorations shop to buy a room scent diffusor and as I was going to the cash desk I noticed a pile of those cups with “I ♥ tea” and “I ♥ coffee” I just had to buy it
What a nice collaboration between Lucas and you, dear Baconbiscuit! I had never added any salt to my mint tea, but I am sure it will make the cold brew even more refreshing.
Thank you, Caro! I’ve never added salt to my tea either, but it’s such a wonderful idea!