Problem with Mint Sun Tea

Tisanes prepared from plants not belonging to the Camellia genus
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Eternityroad
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Sat May 01, 2021 9:48 pm

Hi,
I have been growing mint on my porch and the other day picked a bundle to make fresh-mint Sun Tea. I followed directions from a site on the Web and used a gallon-sized glass jar. Problem is that the tea never infused nor turned the water that vibrant green I see in pictures. Certainly it didn't taste like mint tea. I live in warm Las Vegas and my container got plenty of sun. I left it out there for more than a day and nada. I had made sun tea before from Celestial Seasonings tea bags and never had a problem. Can someone tell me what might be the matter. It seems so simple but it isn't working for me.

Thank you,

Ken
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pedant
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Sat May 01, 2021 11:40 pm

hi Ken, welcome.

i think the fresh plant material was too intact and resisted extraction. think about it. rain doesn't wash out the insides of a fresh leaf on a tree.

you need to compromise the integrity of those cell walls somehow. things that could help:
  • crushing/bruising the leaves
  • freezing the leaves (cell rupture)
  • extracting with hot water (traditional brew style)
i would think that fresh plant material placed in room temp water would be more likely to sprout roots than turn into a beverage ;)
Eternityroad
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Sat May 01, 2021 11:47 pm

Thank you. I neglected to mention that I had chopped the leaves and stems in the kitchen before immersion as per instruction. But perhaps it wasn't enough? Will try again when a new crop grows back.
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pedant
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Sat May 01, 2021 11:54 pm

i see. i've never tried making a drink out of fresh mint before aside from muddling a few leaves into cocktails like mojito.

what if you thoroughly blended fresh leaf and water in a blender and then strained or filtered the mixture? i wonder how that would taste.

it's also possible that bruising, crushing, and drying mint permits additional flavor compounds to form via oxidation and enzymatic action. maybe fresh mint tea will never taste like what you're accustomed to with dry leaf. i know this is the case with actual tea (Camellia genus).
Eternityroad
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Sun May 02, 2021 12:08 am

A few weeks ago I picked some and made a cup after steeping it in boiling water. But I wanted to go the sun tea route this time. I guess I just expected the same results as when I made sun tea with tea bags. Next time I will bruise the leaves by rubbing them in my hands before I chop them. My mother use to make mint tea from mint she picked from beside a brook. As I recall she steeped the leaves in hot water first. Can't remember if she bruised them or not. That was 65 years ago!! lol.

Thanks for your help. It all makes sense.

Ken
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