The Health Benefits of Tea
Recent events have led me to learn how to make mint tea. First, I am a huge coffee fanatic and sometimes cannot resist the temptation of fixing a second pot at lunch time even though I know making tea might be a better option. The benefits of tea over coffee are well documented. Besides a lot of other health benefits, tea is believed to be a stress reducer. While I love my morning coffee, I’m not sure I can say it lowers my stress level. I know that if I drink too much coffee I can get fidgety so maybe making tea instead some of the time might be a pretty solid idea. Right?
Second, recently I heard a story on NPR about how tea drinking can promote a longer life. Sign me up! The story was about people in the Blue Zones who drink coffee in the morning, but then switch to tea in the afternoon. I’m not talking about store bought tea that comes in a box, but some sort of herbal concoction. These “Blue Zones” are areas where people seem to live longer. These areas feature the highest concentrations of centenarians in the world. I’m thinking if you live to be 100 you are definitely doing something right. What can be learned by studying these communities? The benefits of tea appear to be a big part of their secret. All of this definitely peeked my interest in examining further how to make mint tea.
Finally, pushing me from curiosity into full blown tea making mode, around the same time I heard the Blue Zone story on NPR, I discovered an area in my garden where mint was coming up everywhere. It’s been a few years since I planted it and I had forgotten all about it. If there really are so many mint tea benefits then perhaps this was a sign from the universe that I need to work out how to make mint tea.
Memories of Grandma’s Mint Tea
Finding the mint and listening to the NPR story in the same week reminded me of the sun tea my grandparents always made during the summer. When picturing summer at my grandparents house, there was always a jar of sun tea out on the slate flower bed…in an old Tropicana glass jar…maybe a quart or two in size. I used to make fun of my grandparents for keeping something like that and re-purposing it until I realized I have picked up the same habit. Most of the original glasses in our house (now broken — we have 3 kids) have now been replaced with POM glass containers that originally came with tea in them (they have since switched to plastic POM containers). I used to get upset when thinking about our “upcyclyed” drinking glasses, but now, thinking about my grandparents Tropicana tea bottle, it’s hard not to smile. My grandmother would always add fresh mint and ginger to her tea. This seemed like a great starting point since I was keen on taking advantage of my newly found fresh mint and the many mint tea benefits that may exist.
I’m happy to say that I am now regularly replacing afternoon coffee with fresh Ginger Mint Sun Tea and I’m finding myself a little less fidgety. Tea really is refreshing in the afternoon and, unlike my coffee, does not need cream, sugar, or a fake sugary “creamer” added to it. I do occasionally add a little xylitol for a sweetener. 🙂
In Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People he comes up with his own recommendation after 15 years of studying Blue Zones, “Drink coffee for breakfast, tea in the afternoon, wine at 5 p.m.” This seems like a 3 tiered plan I can get behind!
How to Make Mint Tea
The actually process of making Ginger Mint Sun Tea is about as easy as can be. The biggest hurdles you face are acquiring some fresh ginger and mint (not too hard) and controlling the weather (a little bit trickier). Luckily, most places are going to have lots of sunny days and you just have to make enough on sunny days to get you through the occasional rainy day.
Here’s the full and very simple recipe I came up with for making ginger mint tea.
- Quart size mason jar
- 4 packets green tea (or your favorite tea)
- 12-15 sprigs of mint
- 1 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped up
- Pick off 12-15 sprigs of fresh mint
- Peel and chop up a 1 inch section of ginger
- Wash mint and ginger.
- Add mint and ginger to your jar (I use a quart sized mason jar)
- Place tea packets inside with strings hanging outside of the jar.
- Fill with water and close jar.
- Place in sunny hot location for several hours.
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