While the sun is coming out, our little urban garden comes to live with visits of feathery friends in all sizes and Spring is showing by colourful daffodils and other flower buds growing as well as herbs. Mint hasn’t grown abundantly yet so I have to buy them at the local market or Moroccan, Turkish neighbourhood grocery shop. The other week I had bought a little glass teapot with a strainer at the Chinese supermarket, to make different brews in small quantities instead of our large insulated teapot or other tea vessels.
Moroccan Mint Tea my easy style; instead of using classic Chinese Gunpowder tea 珠茶 zhū chá I tried a different tea from my tea box; Sri Lanka, Geragama single estate unblended tea. Besides Chinese teas, I am very fond of Ceylon’s Earl Grey which was packaged in the Tea Garden at the estate as well as the unblended version. I just wondered whether this concoction would be as enjoyable as brewing original manner, my daughter and I can wholeheartedly say yes. I only had mint but if spearmint comes up I’ll definitely combine the two together for an even mintier infusion making hot and cold mint tea versions.
An authentic Moroccan tea ceremony is where the tea is steeped in boiling hot water for 15 minutes then the water is filtered without stirring into a different pot, the reason, therefore, is to remove coarse powder and leaves. Next, the sugar is added and is brought back to boil over medium heat, so that the sugar slowly melts into the water thereby giving it a distinctive taste. Lastly, the mint is added but never left in longer than two minutes, left too long it can develop an astringent taste and cause with some acid reflux. Part of this old tradition and process lies back in history when tea plantation process was different from the present due to the influence of hygiene standards, production process and even sugar production underwent changes in quality. Although steeping tea leaves remains the same, the timing, quality of water and watching the ceremonious handling is the heart of it all enjoying tea as a drink together.