Whether you grow mint in your garden or in a pot on your windowsill, all you need is a pair of scissors to harvest a few sprigs of mint for a refreshing cup of mint tea. There are several different mints, including spearmint and peppermint, and the term "mint" is often used interchangeably. While relaxing with a cup of freshly brewed mint tea is an enjoyable experience any time of year, the tea is especially refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. Peppermint tea has medicinal qualities and is sometimes used to settle a mild case of indigestion or to soothe a sore throat or cough. Talk to your physician before using mint tea for medicinal purposes.
Harvest fresh mint leaves from healthy mint plants. Avoid plants treated with herbicides, insecticides or chemical fertilizers. For the most intense flavor, harvest mint tea on a warm, sunny day after morning moisture has evaporated. Harvest tea with clean, sharp scissors or knife to avoid bruising the tender mint leaves.
Put a few sprigs of washed, fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a teapot or any container made to withstand heat. As a general rule of thumb, use about 1 tbsp. of fresh mint leaves for each cup of tea. Heat 2 to 3 cups of water until the water is just about to boil, then pour the hot water slowly over the mint leaves.
Allow the mint leaves to steep in the hot water for 2 to 5 minutes. Experiment to discover the best steeping time, as the strength of mint tea is largely a matter of personal preference. Also, the strength of mint tea varies according to different varieties and harvest times.
Strain the mint tea through a fine mesh strainer or a paper coffee filter to remove the leaves. Pour the tea into cups or mugs. Add sugar, honey or other sweeteners as desired. Serve herb tea with a sprig of mint.
To make iced mint tea, chill the tea in the refrigerator, then serve over ice.
Fresh mint leaves can be dried for later use. Tie a string or rubber band around a small bunch of mint leaves, then hang the bunch in a dark, well-ventilated space until the mint is dry and brittle. Remove the stems, then store the leaves in an airtight container.