March 5, 2012
I just like to feel that my tea understands me. Is that so much to ask? Yesterday, I was rushing from one work meeting to another, barely enough time to eat throughout the day, I hopped in the car and sped off to the next thing. And yes, maybe, that light was red and maybe I didn’t have my seat belt on, but I had to places to be, couldn’t the officer see that? By the end of the day, I felt battered and world-weary. I had two tickets in hand, too many apologies for being late going through my head, and a downtrodden spirit.
My humble electric tea kettle greeted me at home. I made a pot of gunpowder green tea, pouring the water carefully over the leaves, watching them as they unfurled from tightly rolled ball to expansive leaf, their unwinding dance in the newly heated water, loosening their tension to finally find freedom. After the first cup of the slightly smoky special gunpowder green tea, I felt understood. And rightfully so, it seems. That night, I cracked open The Story of Tea, a wonderfully encyclopedic reference guide to all things tea, and found that some loose leaf green tea, including gunpowder green tea, is made using the following method:
“Mounted horizontally on a central axis, the tea drum revolves such that the leaf tumbles inside the drum while being ‘agitated’ by internally mounted fins. Heat from a source either below or behind the unit is fanned into the perforated drum…”
If that’s not a metaphor for my day, I don’t know what is. I felt like I was tossed around in this drum of an earth, heat coming from multiple sources, blowing at me with agitators just waiting to roll me into the tightest little ball. That said, a cup of warm water and I’m ready to unwind as well. Apparently, I’m not alone on this. Moroccan mint green tea is made with gunpowder green tea and is widely consumed, considered a daily tea in Morocco. In fact, Morocco is the largest importer of Chinese tea world wide, almost entirely because of gunpowder green tea. It’s no surprise that it’s also called Temple of Heaven gunpowder green tea. The Moroccan way of drinking mint green tea usually calls for Amber Tea Sugar, which comes in rock form, as well as delicious amounts of mint, either pre-mixed, like in Tea Embassy’s Moroccan Mint green tea, or for a special occasion, use fresh leaves from the garden! Traditionally consumed hot, this loose leaf green tea can also be a chilled treat.
After a long day, the beep of my electric tea kettle signaling my tea is ready is how I know I’m home. Armed with gunpowder green tea, it’s nice to have the tea on my side.