Tea Giving: Day 3 (Moroccan Mint)

pearl_MoroccanMint

“Tea is the drink of the gods that loosens tongues and opens hearts.

Day 3 has us scooting over to Northern Africa where drinking green tea with mint is legendary and an inherent part of its culture, customs and most importantly its hospitality. Tea is everywhere in Morocco: cafes, markets, businesses and especially at home. But the actual history of tea in Morocco is not clear.

Hot drinks, herbal infusions and remedies have been a part of Moroccan culture since before actual tea was introduced to the country. Some say that wasn’t until the 17th – 18th century when Chinese green Gunpowder tea showed up. By the late 1800s, trade increased and tea spread across the county as a luxury item and status symbol of ones wealth and high standing in the community. Eventually, like all things, tea found its way into local markets in cities and villages; on caravan routes into the mountains and desert.

Traditional Moroccan Mint tea is typically a blend of Chinese Gunpowder Green tea which is shaped like small pellets, and has a very bitter taste if brewed too long.  The name “gunpowder” refers to the very tightly rolled, compressed dried tea leaves. The more compact, the better the quality. A slight sheen to the gunpowder tea indicates freshness and is what is most desired.

Moroccan Mint  / Chinese Gunpowder Green Tea needs to be brewed with a lighter hand (less time), or even cold brewed for iced tea which always comes out perfect. If you want to try to make tea the way they prepare it in Morocco here are steps to follow:

“A traditional pot of Moroccan Mint (Attay) will include mint, sugar, green gunpowder tea leaves, and hot water. Served on a Sinia tea tray, gunpowder tea leaves, fresh mint sprigs and sugar cubes are first put into the teapot before it is filled with boiling water. After a few minutes of steeping, the first pot of tea is poured into the tea glasses, not to drink, but rather to warm the guest’s glass, as the second round of brewing begins. Once perfect levels of sweet and bitter have been achieved, the host will hold the teapot high over the tea glasses, to create a little bit of froth. The glass is then held at the rim of the cup, and sipped carefully.”

Our Moroccan Mint Green has been slightly modified recently and is even better than the long-standing blend we’ve had over the years. The melange of mint really shines through – especially the spearmint! This is one of our most popular teas in summertime when we brew it for local farmers markets and serve over ice, but its a truly wonder hot tea year round. And if the flavor of green tea with mint isn’t enough to entice you into trying this, the health benefits might:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety
  • Improves Digestion
  • Boosts Immune System
  • Fights Bad Breath
  • May help Cold and Flu
  • Improves Mental Awareness and Focus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Makes you feel happy*

*Lots of field research went into the last bullet point.

Please use Code: TeaGiving3 to get 25% OFF on Day 3 of our 25 Days of Tea Giving!

Happy Sipping!
– The Chief Leaf

Tea Giving: Day 3 (Moroccan Mint)

25 Days of Tea: Day 4 (Gunpowder)

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Gunpowder/Temple of Heaven Green Tea

The question I’m most often asked when this tea is in our weekly farmers market rotation is: “Is it really gunpowder? Like from a gun that you shoot?”  Only once did I say yes and asked if he was a hunter and in need of ammo. The look on his face was worth the karma I think I took on for that fib that clearly was meant for my own entertainment. I came clean after I stopped laughing, and he (luckily) thought it was really funny. I mean it when I say: I have some of the best tea customers around. So what exactly is this crazy tea called “Gunpowder” or “Temple of Heaven”?

It’s a classic green tea – usually from Zhejiang province, China and because the leaves are hand-rolled into tiny pellets, it was given the name: Gunpowder tea. Its often mildly smokey and has a very long finish. This is a robust green tea and if steeped too long can become very astringent and even bitter – which for some is preferred. Gunpowder is the base used for Moroccan Mint tea and the smokiness of the green tea paired with mint leaves is a brilliant combination which will be featured later in the month. In the meantime, below are some notes on this robust brew:

• Overview:   A classic green tea that is more robust then most greens. It has weight.
• Dry Leaf:    Tightly rolled “pin head” size leaves, shiny green
• Liquor (liquid):    Darker then you would expect – almost a dark greenish brown
• Aroma:   Vegetal, hints of smoke from a chiminea
• Flavor notes:    Pungent, astringent, hint of smoke, long finish
• Brewing recommendation:     175° Fº / 2-3 minutes. Be sure to use water that is under boiling in temperature.
• Caffeine: Yes

If you are interested in giving this tea a try, please visit the Pearl Fine Teas tea shop today and use code: 25TEAS4 at checkout to get 25% of Gunpowder Green Tea – today only!

Happy Sipping!
-The Chief Leaf

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25 Days of Tea: Day 4 (Gunpowder)