Thursday, 8 September 2011

Iced Mint-tea

It's amazing how easy it is to mess up a simple cup of tea, given that all one needs to do is boil water and drop in some leaves.

I'm very good at messing up tea.

However, one easy way to avoid making a complete fool of oneself over a cuppa is to load it with flavours. A simple cup of delicate Darjeeling or Assam strong is hard to brew, but sweet, minty, fruity, desserty teas are the easiest thing on the planet. And, given how coddled with over-stimulation our tastebuds are these days, they're bound to go down better with most people than a plain old cup of second-flush.

While I absolutely draw the line at peach teas and mango teas and the like, I'm actually rather fond of iced mint tea. It's sweet, has that slight bite of the minty after-taste, and it's very, very soothing (the latter probably has everything to do with its temperature and nothing to do with either mint or tea, but I'm not willing to substitute a tall glass of minty-sweet caffeine with ice-water just to test the theory).

Here's how to make it. In pictures!

Drop washed mint leaves in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Boil for about seven to ten minutes.

Watch the water change colour to a curious shade of green.

Missing pictures: while the water is boiling, either pour it into a warm pot with three teaspoons of strong black tea (there's eight cups of water here, but since we're not making regular tea, we can skimp on leaves). Or, you could skip that traditional ceremony dump the tea leaves into the saucepan. Turn off the heat immediately and cover with a lid or plate, preferably of earthenware.

After soaking it for seven minutes, strain it into a cool metal container. Mix in as much sugar as you like (I need three teaspoons for this much -- and this strongly brewed -- tea). Then put the container in the fridge for three or so hours.

Glorious colour, isn't it?

Pour yourself a glass.

Drop in a little decoration.

And a little more.

And then take the perfect still-life watercolour picture.

For tea addicts like me, who'd love to prefer all kinds of things flavoured with it, try this slushie-dessert version. Take some of the minty tea in a bowl. Pop it in the deep fridge (freezer). Take it out after an hour. Crush the newly-formed ice and make it all rough and broken. Pop it back in. After two or so hours, this is what you get:

Mint-tea slushie, slightly melted.

Save it for after lunch :-)  Enjoy this while the ridiculous heat lasts, people! Autumn is almost upon us. 

1 comment:

Sue said...

I love iced teas, thanks.

Here's how you make a perfect cup of Darjeeling, green tea, Assam or any tea you want to brew into a delicate liquor.

Boil water.

Set out cup, measure out sugar if you need any (liquor needs minimum possible, preferably none) and balance a tea strainer on top.

Measure out a semi-generous pinch of leaf tea into the strainer (how generous practice will teach you).

Pour boiling water over the tea leaves into the cup till it covers the leaves in the bowl of the strainer and let the arrangement stand for about 30-60 seconds depending on your preference.

Lift out strainer, stir sugar if necessary, sip. This way you cannot overbrew very easily and cleaning up is a breeze.