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I bought my mint plant from M&S in the UK in a pot, i've had it about a week and plan to re pot it into a larger pot in about a week where it will be permanently outside on a roof terrace (though I am likely to baby it and take it in in the rain). I may include useless details here as i'm a fairly new gardener.

Mint plant

I have had fresh mint tea before in the Netherlands, and it was very fresh and tasty and the water changed colour slightly. There would usually be 2 or 3 full sprigs of mint placed head down into a pint of boiling water. When i've done what seems to be the same thing in a smaller amount (one mug of water over 1 sprig of mint with about 4 full sized leaves and the smaller ones above them) the tea smells lovely but tastes mildly of grass, no mint, and stays completely clear. If I put a small bit of sugar in it just tastes of sugary grass. It's not actually unpleasant, and the minty smell is nice, but I wanted mint tea!

Mint plant

I hope the pictures will help in identification. I believe it either to be sweet mint or spearmint, and will probably be trying to find a peppermint plant to grow instead of (or probably alongside) this. Though i'm certain the leaves I saw abroad were this style of leaf! The stems are green but are slowly going purple, probably due to the fact I have been struggling to find partial shade for it so it's either indoors or in full sun.

Thank you for any help!

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    Thanks for the comment. The packaging just said 'good for mint sauces' (which isn't a good sign if I wanted it for tea anyway) but perhaps if I email them they may have more information. – Charis May 26 '17 at 18:11
  • Square stems...leaves look like mint...opposite leaves, serrated leaves, the texture of the leaf...looks like mint to me. You should be able to smell strong mint when squishing leaf or stem. Can you smell mint strongly by crushing a leaf? Do you have a cold, head cold, hay fever? Full sun is just fine. If it hasn't been in full sun you need to acclimate it to full sun so that its epidermis is able to thicken enough to protect itself from the full spectrum of sunlight. Mint sauces or use in tea should be the very same plant or varieties of mint. My fav is chocolate mint. – stormy May 26 '17 at 23:46
  • @stormy Definitely smells like mint, it's lovely and strong when i just brush my hands on it. Square stems. If I chew a leaf I definitely feel minty effects in my sinuses/tounge etc, but the taste of the leaves themselves isn't very 'minty' its a little bitter. Thank you for the advice about acclimating it to full sun, I assume my taking it out on sunny days and making sure the soil stays damp and the leaves don't start to wilt is about right? I assume it must be something i'm doing wrong in the tea making process. Either that or I just personally don't enjoy this variety. – Charis May 27 '17 at 8:53
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I think you are right about your mint plant. It looks just like what I have heard called "Spearmint". Big heavily-textured bright green leaves and sometimes purplish stems. Peppermint has smaller, much purpler leaves. If it smells like that Netherlands tea, you ought to be able to get some tea that tastes like it too.

Have you tried just putting more sprigs of mint into the tea? Many times when people make mint tea, they use dried, crumbled mint leaves, so more surface is exposed to the water. (Also it's often peppermint rather than spearmint.)

I wonder if your tea tastes different from the lovely stuff you had before just because it is weaker than the Netherlands tea. Did you see that tea being prepared from water and fresh mint sprigs, or is it possible they made a strongish tea from dried mint, and then poured it into the pot with the fresh mint sprigs as a "garnish" or decoration?

PS. Good idea that you have - to put this plant into a bigger pot, and outdoors onto the roof terrace. It will love that. Also I'm pretty sure it will even enjoy the rain.

  • Thanks for your response, it is much appreciated! :) I suppose the tea I had may have had muchmuch more mint than I remember, it did seem to fill the glass. I didn't directly see the water being poured on so that might be something i'm missing too. I know you make Moroccan mint tea by brewing 'actual' tea first and adding mint to it, but i've never tried it. I think if I try a peppermint plant and that's still not right, I need to experiment with using mint tea alongside it (though unfortunately a lot of the appeal was no dried, shop bought tea bags!), or perhaps drying it... – Charis May 26 '17 at 18:10
  • @Charis, you can certainly dry the mint yourself. Unless you have a super-humid atmoshpere, you can just spread it out, and it will dry up all by itself. If you have a lot of moisture in the air, more of a technique might be necessary, but it should still be quite feasible to dry your own mint tea. – Lorel C. May 26 '17 at 18:22
  • Thanks for the tip, I hadn't actually even thought about it. I'll definitely be trying it out, especially as it means i'll have more use for this plant! It's not too humid here usually so I imagine the drying process will be fine. – Charis May 26 '17 at 18:31
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Mint comes in hundreds of hybrids and varieties. They also change taste with age, according to their position, and if they are sharing space with other mints in the same soil they will often change their taste! We have over 80 varieties which we cultivate. Identifying hybrid strains is nigh on impossible. A good supplier will be happy to let you taste a wide range until you find the one you want. Among the commercial varieties of Morrocan Mint ("Nanah") which are supplied to restaurants you will find 'Casablanca', 'Marokko' and 'Marakesh'. Having found your perfect mint, split it into two pots and rejuvinate one pot per year alternately using fresh soil and cutting out OLD root (in the centre of the pot(?!))

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