Mint Tea & Shakespeare


The Phactavist and I love flavored teas: orange cinnamon spice, regular cinnamon spice, chamomile, licorice, pomegranate and strawberry twist. And up until about a month ago we’ve always loved these flavors plain: no milk, no sugar, no honey.

Then Ukraine introduced us to Mint Tea, and things changed a bit.

We first had Ukrainian Mint Tea in the bottom of a basement at a hotel on a break from a really long meeting. Then we had it in that same place again. And again. And again. Before we left, we’d both fallen so deeply in love with this mystical Mint Tea that I made it a point to watch the barista work his magic so I knew for sure I could recreate the same thing at home for the rest of our lives.

His technique was surprisingly simple:

  • Step 1: Drizzle honey in the bottom of a mug (they always used glass ones to show off how pretty it look). The quality of the honey matters, so spend extra on good honey, especially if it’s local!
  • Step 2: Place a cinnamon stick, lemon wedges, and a twig of fresh mint on top of the honey.
  • Step 3: Pour boiling water into the mug and dunk in a bag of green tea. Don’t let the tea steep for more than 30 seconds to a minute.

We now make this tea in the evenings when we’re ready to wind down and quiet ourselves. We make it because it’s good, but we also make it because we need it.

We recognized our need for it a few weeks ago, not the tea per se, but the ritual around the tea, the act of doing a good thing together everyday. Many people around us choose to make that good thing the call to prayer. Five times everyday they slow down, ritually wash themselves (called wudu), and pray. We decided we needed something too, something steady and consistent to counteract the go-go-go of everyday life that often leaves us drained and unnourished. So we started drinking tea together and to it we added Shakespeare, beautiful words we could speak to each other that were always meant to be spoken anyway.

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, as daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.



7 Comment

  1. Mary says: Reply

    Y’all are the cutest! I’m ready to indulge!

    1. Liz says: Reply

      Done. It’s here and waiting. 😉

  2. I cannot wait to try this! Sounds delicious. Love and miss you guys!

    1. Liz says: Reply

      You’re gunna love it! Love and miss you too!

  3. Sarah says: Reply

    Hey Razan!

    I remember the time you gave me my first fresh-brewed hot tea! Ead and I had come to visit your apartment, and you offered us ten different flavors to choose from! As we sipped, and laughed, and debated, we relaxed in the scent of spices and soothing warmth of your home and the tasty tea.

    I can imagine you and your phactivist needing those quiet moments of togetherness away from the hustle and bustle of life. Those calming rituals make everyday more enjoyable.

    I love that Shakespeare is keeping you company! R, P, and I were working in the center the other Friday, and they asked me what book I would need on a deserted island and I answered, “My Riverside Shakespeare!” It sounds like that would be one of your top choices, too!! : )

    I miss you, but I am so happy that you are in such a good place, making good friends, and sipping a good drink!


    1. Liz says: Reply

      Such sweet memories, friend! –ones we need to recreate here! Keep that Shakespeare close. He’s a.m.a.z.i.n.g. And so are you! 😉

  4. Daddy says: Reply

    So good to read your latest post!! It brings back memories and makes more smiles!! Mama will probably try your mint tea recipe! Lots of love prayers, Daddy

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