Spearmint TeaWikipedia: Spearmint
Updated: Nov. 13, 2014
About Spearmint Teapeppermint is actually more popular and abundant in the market of herbal teas.
Aroma and FlavorThe aroma of spearmint can be described as clean, fresh, and cooling, although it lacks the intense cooling quality of peppermint. Compared to peppermint, the aroma is softer and less piercing. The flavor is predominately bitter, although depending on the variety, harvest time, and preparation, it is possible to prepare spearmint tea so as to minimize bitterness.
Spearmint is a versatile flavoring, blending well with savory foods as well as sweets. In herbal teas, it is commonly blended with a wide range of ingredients, including peppermint and other mints, chamomile, and the various lemon-scented herbs like lemon balm and lemongrass.
Use in Herbal Teas and Tea BlendsSpearmint is commercially available both as a fresh herb (at groceries, produce markets, and farm stands) and a dried herb (from tea companies and bulk herb companies). The fresh herb, including leaves and stems, can be brewed as an herbal tea or added to tea; spearmint tea brewed from fresh leaves has a more vegetal flavor, with a hint of cooked greens in the flavor.
It is also common to blend spearmint with true teas. In parts of the middle east, it is common to brew strong black tea with spearmint or a related mint with a similar aroma. In Morocco, gunpowder green tea is often blended with spearmint or other mints. On RateTea we have separate categories for green tea with mint and black tea with mint. Whether or not the tea itself is brewed with mint, a sprig of spearmint leaves are a common addition to freshly brewed iced tea.
SubstitutesMany mints can be substituted for spearmint. One of the most similar in aroma is apple mint or wooly mint. Although peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint with another species, it has a very different aroma and does not make a good substitute as other species and varieties that are less closely related.
The Spearmint PlantMentha spicata has a wide native range, from Europe to Asia, south to the Middle East and Himalayas. It grows well in moist temperate climates. In the wild, it prefers wetlands, sometimes growing on moister ground outside wetlands.
IdentificationMint family plants are easily recognized by their square stems and neat, symmetrical growth habit. The true mints, Mentha sp., form patches of upright stems from underground runners, contrasting with the clump-forming habit of some other plants of the family.
Spearmint is identified from other common mentha species and varieties by its sharply serrated leaves, usually completely hairless stems and leaves, and uniform green color (lacking red/brown or variegation).
Spearmint often takes over garden beds, growing with little care and choking out other plants. Photo by Alex Zorach, of his garden.
Gardening and CultivationGrowing spearmint is easy in moist temperate climates. The plant does best in part shade, and moist soil rich in organic material, but it is adaptable. It is an aggressive plant, often choking out other plants in a garden, and spreading through underground runners. For this reason, it is common for gardeners to grow it in containers.
Propagation of spearmint is easiest by cutting; the plant is comparatively much more difficult to grow from seed. Cuttings can be placed in a glass of water and allowed to root in water, then later planted, or they can be buried horizontally in soil. Both methods are easy and effective.
Examples of Spearmint Tea
The following are examples of the 13 selections of Spearmint Tea in our database.