Regular monkey readers will know that I get obsessed with particular tastes for a while before moving onto something else; currently it’s fresh mint tea. I drink mint tea quite often, but usually I use teabags for their convenience, and mostly if you ask for a mint tea in a café round here, you’ll be given a teabag. The surprise of a fresh mint tea when you were expecting a teabag is deeply gratifying; they tick the same boxes but they’re two entirely different experiences.
There’s a subtle sweetness you get with fresh mint tea that isn’t preserved when the leaves are dried, and – weirdly – a shadow of something ever-so-slightly salty. This is a drink that tickles both taste and smell in equal measures; one of those flavours where it’s difficult to separate the two. It’s the smell, I think, that gives you the ‘this is definitely mint’ feeling, but the taste that brings out all the strands of mintiness, separates it from all the mint flavoured things that have nothing much to do with real live mint. What I particularly enjoy about fresh mint tea is the combination of both senses somewhere at the back of your throat, the sweetness of the taste and the freshness of the smell colliding and bringing together the flavour. It’s hard to imagine the flavour of mint with either smell or taste missing. So entwined are these two senses, that this is probably true for most things, but with fresh mint tea, it’s particularly evident. So many monkeys in one sitting!
And on that note, I’m going to boil the kettle…
Monkey by Kieran Hazell (www.ownbeat.co.uk)