Mint. For some, this is the original green tea. Technically, if all one does is pour hot water over mint, it’s mint tisane. According to Wikipedia, “The English word “tisane” originated from the Greek word πτισάνη (ptisanē), a drink made from pearl barley. Strictly speaking, the name ‘herbal teas’ is a misnomer, as they are not made with real tea (Camellia sinensis), but by infusing other plants.” I, like most mint enthusiasts I know, prefer my mint all by its ownsome without added tea or other herbs.
So what I enjoy isn’t mint tea at all, but mint tisane.
Tea or tisane, mint persists in popularity. North America is original home of peppermint. Mint itself is an Old World herb, found in Europe and Africa quite wild. Both now exist worldwide, yet as a student of the culinary arts (hot beverages certainly is part of de Gustibus!), I find the historical origins of what we consume fascinating.
“In the Moroccan spring, the snow melts off the Atlas Mountains, watering the plains below. As the days warm, some of the most soothing, refreshing and full-flavored mint flourishes in this ancient land of the Berbers. With a flavor as light and lively as a newly picked leaf, our choice organic mint will become your favorite mint teasan. An all-day or after-dinner delight, no wonder the Moroccans drink ten cups a day.” Numi Mint package blurb.
It’s a fact the ancient Romans drank mint and other herb tisanes. Proper tea was unknown to them. As was coffee. Did you know the English were drinking coffee a century before they drank tea? That story another time.
There’s more to tell about mint. Watch this space!
Submitted by Philip Jay Matricardi.