Mint tea is cooling and warming. It’s also lively yet soothing.
It’s these beloved contradictions that make mint tea the go-to tea for just about any situation. Think best of both worlds.
A naturally caffeine-free herbal tisane, mint tea contains no actual tea (Camellia Sinensis) and is derived from the dried leaves of the mint (or Mentha) plant. While there are hundreds of varieties of mint, peppermint and spearmint are the two most commonly found in tea. Both varieties are highly aromatic but their flavour profiles are different.
It’s right in the name – peppermint is the spicy one. Peppermint is a hybrid between watermint and spearmint and it has a high percentage (~40%) of menthol (menthol is what produces the cooling sensation in your mouth). This high menthol percentage gives peppermint its ‘spiciness” (too much cool = hot!). Peppermint tea is lively with a strong mint aroma, a cooling aftertaste and a hint of spice.
While peppermint brings the heat, spearmint brings the sweet! Spearmint is naturally sweet and still very refreshing but its low percentage of menthol (~0.05%) makes it much milder than peppermint. Spearmint tea has an uplifting aroma and a well-rounded flavour with a sweetness that offers up subtle notes of peach and melon.
The perfect after-dinner tea
Although their flavour profiles are quite different, both spearmint and peppermint teas offer up the same benefit of relieving symptoms caused by digestive problems. They work by relaxing the stomach muscles which prevents spasms/contracting and encourages digestion. The teas may also help to relieve nausea and stomach pain.
These digestive properties make peppermint or spearmint tea the ideal choice for an after-dinner tea, especially on special occasions where overindulgence is likely – consider stocking up before the next holiday!