Tea and the Madness of Morocco

Life may be cheap, and so is this tea. Not in a bad way at all, just very reasonably priced at $2.50 for four ounces of delicious tea. I’m talking about Moroccan Madness from the English Tea Store, the fine sponsors of this blog.

Moroccan Madness
Moroccan Madness

Usually, Moroccan mint teas are a blend of mint and gunpowder green tea. If you aren’t familiar with gunpowder, it’s a dark green tea rolled up into tiny balls that reminded the first Englishmen who saw it of gunpowder. Thus, the name.

Europeans introduced tea to Morocco sometime during the 18th century, and since then, Moroccans have imported most of their tea from China. Along with drinking large amounts of tea, Moroccans and other cultures in North Africa have developed their own ceremonies around this tea. The head of the household is responsible for preparing and serving the tea, which is poured from a great height to create a layer of foam on the top of the drink. The tea is steeped three successive times, which led to the following proverb:

Le premier verre est aussi amer que la vie,
le deuxième est aussi fort que l’amour,
le troisième est aussi doux que la mort.

The first glass is as bitter as life,
the second glass is as strong as love,
the third glass is as gentle as death.

Moroccan mint tea
Moroccan mint tea

Like many teas, the flavor changes in subtle ways after each steeping, and I don’t know that I have ever heard such poetic similes for these changes. In Moroccan Madness, however, the English Tea Store breaks tradition by pairing the mint with bolder black teas from Assam and Sri Lanka. A move perhaps as bold as the black Indian teas that replaced the more traditional Chinese greens. Is it indeed madness?

As a matter of fact, I have always thought that black tea stood up well to peppermint, and the Assam handles the job quite handily in this tea. While not the traditional Moroccan mint, Moroccan Madness makes quite a pleasant brew. The bold black tea is a nice late afternoon pick me up to get through the rest of the day, while the peppermint assists digestion and relaxes me.

Who knows, perhaps if Rick Blaine had been able to drink this, he would have handled Ilsa showing up a little better, and perhaps even enjoyed hearing Sam play it again.

Get the scoop on all things tea from Stephanie’s blog, The Tea Scoop!

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