Herbals (ETS image)

Herbals (ETS image)

I don’t have an overly green thumb but I do okay. My efforts in this area nowadays are limited to an assortment of plants kept on the balcony and they are managing nicely, thank you for asking. However, my one attempt at growing tea, which came a few years back, was not exactly a rousing success. In fact it wasn’t a success at all.

I probably won’t be making any such attempts in the near future. Even if I could grow tea chances are I couldn’t grow enough on the balcony to make it a worthwhile endeavor. And there are plenty of other people all around the world who are doing a very nice job of it. So what’s the point?

For a while now I’ve been growing various herbs on the balcony, including some rosemary, sage, thyme and spearmint. If you’ve ever experimented with growing the latter then you probably know that it tends to grow rather voraciously, like a weed, but is much more useful than most weeds.

My sole mint plant was no exception and as I was pruning the leaves the other day and getting rid of them it occurred to me that perhaps I should try them in tea. I might have thought of this a lot sooner but I’m not generally a fan of flavored tea or tisanes – the latter of which are more commonly referred to as herbal teas.

As a general rule it’s probably safe to say that mint is more often used to flavor green tea. In parts of North Africa this is the most common type of tea that’s consumed. But I had a black tea that I’d gotten recently that was okay but lacking just a bit in the flavor department. I added a bunch of mint leaves to the next batch of iced tea I made with this tea and the result was surprisingly good. I wouldn’t say I’m ready to give up my straight black tea any time soon but it was a nice change of pace.

I don’t claim to have enough experience with growing herbs to be able to advise you on doing so. I’ll summarize my meager knowledge by saying that I’ve noticed that they’re available in garden centers and the like for a reasonable price and in my own experience they’re not that hard to keep alive and well. All of which should make a nice addition or supplement to your next cup of tea.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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