By Emily Guo
As summer is officially coming to a close in the next couple weeks, and the colder months are settling in, I’ve been relying more on my warm teas to welcome in the new season.
Perhaps peppermint tea is not among the most expensive, high status, lucrative teas to write about. It’s readily available at every grocery store in various “Sleepy-” or “night-”time packaging. But even if peppermint tea is somewhat overlooked or understated or only reserved for the winter holidays, this tea has a special place for the ordinary in my life (◜௰◝) and I wanted to share that with you.
In recent months, I have had a much more troubled relationship with sleep. I feel like all of us have different amounts of insomnia these days. I cut back on caffeine a lot, especially in the afternoon and evenings. But a cup of tea in the evening is so nourishing - the tiny mug accompanies you into the late night study sessions or side projects and encourages you to take even tinier sips as you go. So, I’ve been slowly going through my Kilogram Tea bag of peppermint. The flavor in the leaves stays really well, making the following cups just as fresh and satisfying as the first. And sidenote, I found this particular tea back in the day when I worked at Coffee Lab <3
When I can remember to, I remind myself that for now this cup of tea is enough. To just sit and enjoy the tea - think about the things that happened during the day, ponder what sort of world tomorrow will bring - with a warm drink to fix me in the present, at least for a moment.
There are likely good reasons why peppermint tea has taken on this role of a nightcap drink for me; its menthol (cooling and antibacterial) properties feel cleansing. Peppermint oil (though, note not peppermint tea specifically) is said to have helpful digestive qualities in addition to being caffeine-free. But I really think it’s the coziness and the routine way of making myself a cup of tea to round out the day, however exciting or slow or difficult it has been. Enjoyed with a couple chocolate-covered biscuits of course ;)
The history of Peppermint tea is sparse, and the plant was only knowingly cultivated in the last couple centuries. While mint leaves and tea were used by many ancient societies - Greeks, Romans, Egyptians - in broad European and Asian contexts, only at around 1750 was the distinct species of peppermint grown commercially in London, specifically in the village of Mitcham. As a cross between water mint and spearmint, peppermint has a stronger menthol flavor relative to other mints (something I rather enjoy about it). Plus, for gardens and home-growers, peppermint plants can encourage cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, and broccoli plants growing nearby since they attract helpful insects such as bees while repelling the less helpful ones. For your serving of general peppermint knowledge ;)
Tea is a part of the soul that we can appreciate for its clarity and warmth. Peppermint tea, for me, embodies the moments where nothing much is happening, a welcome feeling of mundane contentment.
~~旦＿ (´ ∀｀)
Stay cozy out there !
Emily (an amateur tea drinker)
(history of peppermint) http://www.ourherbgarden.com/herb-history/peppermint.html
(companion planting) http://www.ourherbgarden.com/peppermint-companions.html
About the Author
Alumnus at Northwestern University
Writer at Ignitus Digital Evanston
hobbies: drinking tea, wiggling to music, naming plants after food