The freshest mint tea you’ll ever have
Soon after we moved to the Netherlands, I started seeing people in cafes drinking something alongside their appeltaart which piqued my interest. Due to my curious nature, soon enough I moved from being quietly intrigued to desperate to know: just what was this drink de rigueur that seemed to be so popular? I soon enquired, and the answer that came back was quite simple: It’s een verse munt thee – a fresh mint tea. So, mystery solved, and it wasn’t long after that I joined the craze and was ordering this at cafes all over the Netherlands (well, all over Holland, to be technically more accurate!).
Maybe at this point you are thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just mint and hot water in a cup!” and well, you’d be right about the latter part, and it’s not such a big deal I guess, but the way that the Dutch do their mint tea really does mean it is the freshest mint tea you’ll ever have. Super fragrant and super soothing, perhaps the best part is that you can easily make this mint tea at home. It’s super simple. Really.
What you’ll need (per person)
A generous bunch of fresh mint (markets in the Netherlands sell generous bunches of mint, otherwise, mint is pretty easy to grow in the garden or in a big pot); near to boiling water; honey (optional).
How to make it
Wash your mint and place it into a tea cup or mug – for maximum wow-effect, go for a clear glass cup or mug so you can see the amazing green of the mint. If you want to make it Dutch-style, the mint should really fill up the cup. Next, pour in your near to boiling water. If you want to have it a little sweeter, add some honey to taste and stir it in, or serve some honey next to the tea if you are making this for friends and they can choose whether they want to add it or not. Let your tea steep for about five minutes before drinking and enjoying.
We’ve almost been living in the Netherlands for two years now, and for me, the novelty of the verse munt thee has not worn off. The photos here are of the tea we drank out at the weekend – the long stems on the mint is characteristic of how they serve it in many cafes in the Netherlands, and I still haven’t worked out whether there is a ‘right’ way to drink it or not – I always wrestle with the long stems as I drink, and then at the end, find myself thinking I should have just lifted the mint out when it came to drinking it. That would be… logical. But perhaps this is just all part of the fun of the verse munt thee experience.
If you are a hot drink fan, and if you like mint, you are bound to like this fresh mint tea which is so simply satisfying. It might not be Dilmah, but do try it.
Photos by CIA, Amsterdam, August 2012.