How to make Passion Fruit Infused Tea & Mint Tisane
Would you like an adventure now.... or would you like to have your tea first?" Wendy said "tea first" quickly, and Michael pressed her hand in gratitude.... ~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I am an unabashed tea-lover and while my favorite tea remains a good cup of English Breakfast with milk; the crutch upon which I lean most days, I have been thinking of a wonderful tea infusion and mint tisane I enjoyed recently.
You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. ~
This past summer my husband and I traveled to Scotland and ate some of the most incredible food we have ever had. We dined on huge mussels in Oban. Found cheddar cheese that had a deep blue vein running across it from the Isle of Mull. This delightfully sharp cheese is made from happy cows fed on grass supplemented with fermented grain. This byproduct of the local whiskey distillery adds a boozy flavor to this marvelous cheese. We enjoyed award-winning porridge at Kinloch Lodge in Skye, and big fluffy scones with clotted cream at a restaurant overlooking the Castle Stalker where part of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed.
Our last night in Edinburgh found us enjoying dinner at chef Tom Kitchin’s aptly named restaurant, The Kitchin. It’s located inside a converted whisky warehouse on the Leith waterfront. Kitchin earned his Michelin star at the ripe old age of 29. His menu that evening gave us a sample of diverse Scottish produce, seafood and meat. Designed with a keen eye on delivering what is best-of-the-season in an inventive way, his locally sourced foods showcase one of Scotland’s greatest treasures - their cuisine. While I won’t soon forget that incredible meal one memory that stands out was the mint tisane we were served afterwards.
Hot was water poured from a cast iron Tetsubin (classic Japanese kettle) over a mound of fresh mint leaves, left to steep as we relaxed and talked about this wonderful country we had just fallen in love with. This remains one of my favorite memories of that special time together.
Maybe it's something to do with spending your last night in a foreign country that can leave you slightly melancholy, aware that the trip is coming to an end. Perhaps it’s sharing food and drink with those we love that leaves such an indelible mark on our memories and hearts. Regardless of the reason, food and drink bring us together in unforgettable ways.
On our last night in Paris this past Fall, the kids and I went to a restaurant named Clamato, described by the Michelin guide as a “bistronomic hit.” Their first come first serve policy made us soon realize how fortunate we were to get in. The last to be seated before a revolving door of hopeful diners were politely told to return in an hour and half or more. With significant emphasis on the “or more.” They all seemed more than willing to comply, proving that Lauren had done her research well in selecting this lovely little bistro. Their menu focuses on seafood and vegetables and everything was done beautifully! We tried barnacles for the first time. Just like snails, if you can get past the mental image of them you might be as pleasantly surprised as we were. It was cold that evening so we asked for hot tea and the waiter suggested we try their infusion instead. He brought us a huge glass pitcher stuffed with lemons, honey, cinnamon sticks and passion fruit juice that had all been muddled together into a wonderful concoction that convinced me I had to try to recreate it the best I could.
While no experience can ever be duplicated, I am excited to incorporate both these drinks with a slight twist into my beverage repertoire and hope you will enjoy them as much as I have.
Tisane /tɪˈzan/ a drink made by pouring boiling water onto particular types of dried or fresh flowers or leaves.
Infusion /inˈfyo͞oZHən/ is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended over time (a process often called steeping). An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid.
Passion fruit Infusion
Loose leaf tea of your choice (I recommend using a mild-flavored tea, like a green tea or white teas so they don’t dominate the flavor of the infusion)
2-3 cinnamon sticks
Tbsp - whole cloves
1-2 lemons - juiced
1-2 orange - juiced
4 passion fruits - choose fruit that are large and heavy for their size, passion fruit should be left out to ripen. Ripe when wrinkled!
Sugar - simple syrup (recipe below)
Heat water to temperature recommended for the type of tea you are using*(Always start with fresh water in your kettle)
Prepare tea in a pot and steep for 4-5 minutes
Strain the tea into a heat proof glass beaker or pitcher
Add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves
Add lemon and orange juice
Cut 3-4 passion fruit in half and scoop out the pulp
Using the back of a wooden spoon press the pulp through a soup strainer to get the juice. Seeds are edible so you can skip this step if you like
Incorporate the passion fruit with the tea mixture.
Add honey or simple syrup to taste and serve hot
*Quantities are based on your preference and the number of cups you would like to serve. Generally recommended: 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per serving and one for the pot, follow recommendations on the package and your preference.
Green and white teas require lower temperature for steeping than black teas
Best when made ahead, allowing the flavors to fully infuse.
Pour equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. Remember, the sugar dissolves into the water, so 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water will not equal 2 cups of simple syrup. It's more like 1 ½ cups simple syrup once dissolved.
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 bunch of fresh lemon verbena
Local honey or simple syrup (see recipe above)
Harvest fresh mint from your garden, if available, or purchase fresh from your local grocer.
Rinse mint and lemon verbena and set aside in a teapot
Bring water to a rolling boil.
Steep fresh mint & lemon verbena in a teapot for approximately 5 minutes or longer
Serve in glass heat proof mugs with simple syrup or local honey, if desired.
Garnish with a mint leaf in the cup
Mint is incredibly easy to grow in your own garden, but it loves to take over. Growing it in a pot will ensure it doesn’t become an invasive. Long touted for its healing properties mint can be wonderful for settling an upset stomach and a good source of vitamin A and C.