Tea in Morocco acquires a much more important dimension than it is for any other African country. This Muslim country knows how to enjoy good tea, and much of this blame the English have, why? Legend has it that it was Queen Victoria of England who wanted to help the British tableware vendors to place their products inside the classes High Moroccans of the nineteenth century, encouraged the custom of tea.
While the real story should be much less regal, and that simply those who succeeded were the British merchants who seeking to expand the market introduced the tea in Maghreb. Although few would have imagined then the rooting that the Indian herb would end up having in the Arab countries. In fact to this day Morocco is one of the main importers of tea in the world.
But Moroccan tea is special. The most consumed is green tea, perhaps because it is the most economical but also the most suitable to mitigate the heat of high temperatures. The Moroccans improved it considerably by adding a good amount of fresh mint, and a lot of brown sugar, it is already known that they like everything sweet, and very sweet. In fact, I am not a great tea lover, I love Moroccan tea.
And while they drink it at all hours, regardless of the time of day, unlike British fixation with its "tea time" when it really becomes more relevant is when guests are received. In Morocco tea is considered a social drink, which shows courtesy and hospitality, is a treat to the guests, so it is not polite to refuse an invitation to a tea. It is also customary for tea to be elaborated and served by men, exactly by the head of the family. And the way to serve it has a ritual ...
The tea is not removed with a spoon, and to dilute the sugar they do is pour the tea in a glass, from a certain height, so that it forms a light foam, then return to pour it into the teapot, and so on several times until they consider it well mixed.
Apparently it is a way for the tea to be oxygenated, enhancing its flavor. The taste and appearance of tea change as it is served. The first glasses are more bitter and in the last ones the sugar that has remained in the bottom of the teapot is appreciated more.
Tradition says that tea should be served three times: the first glass is "bitter as life"; the second, "strong as love" and the last "sweet as death". Are you not looking forward to flying to Morocco for a tea? I cannot wait to return to Morocco, and savor a tea overlooking the desert.
HANGZHOU AND HIS GREEN TEA FROM DRAGON'S WELL
One of the things that I have learned from the Chinese and that I am applying to my day to day, is the motto of MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO, every day you have to try to eat well, and do some exercise, and specifically in what What this post refers to, is worth more than a liter of tea per day than five coffees. Not only do I say it, it has also been recognized by the World Health Organization. On our visit to HANGZHOU, a very modern and clean city, one of the things that I like the most is the VISIT TO THE FIELDS OF TEA.
After a rainy day, without truce, in which the cruise on the West Lake , was marred by a strong storm of rain, which did not allow us to go out to the bow of the ship but just barely to make a photo, our last stop In the guided tour, it was in the fields of the tea of the well of Dragoon. Although it was obviously an enclosure for us to buy your tea at the price of gold, we were harassed by the story they told us.
Green tea from the Well of the Dragon is the best. Dragon Well tea or LONG YING TEA is one of the most coveted Chinese tea varieties, for its properties, high polyphenol content, and the quality of its leaves, which is only grown in the Hangzhou region. The story goes that an emperor moved green tea leaves from Hanghzhou and took them to Beijing to give them to his dying mother. When they arrived they had dried in their pockets, and apparently when he gave his mother an infusion of these leaves, he began to improve.
They are in the area of HANGZHOU, which is known as the WEST LAKE area. The work of the peasants who laboriously spend all day is extraordinary. The fine hands of a woman are needed, and know how to cut the leaf, so that the tea leaf can come out again. Then their husbands meticulously dry and separate for later packaging and sale. It is all a technique and it is essential to do it well so as not to lose the quality of the tea. The most expert can get about two kilos of fresh leaves after several hours, but normally it takes the work of four women to produce this amount a day.
It is a trade passed from generation to generation. It is said that apprentices take about three years to master the technique to reach a small amount without breaking the leaves or spoiling the bush for the next harvest. And of every four kilos collected, only one is suitable for consumption after finishing the drying process. I was very impressed to see them carrying the tea bags, an example of sacrifice and perseverance.
GREEN TEA IN SOUTH KOREA: DAEHAN DAWON PLANTATION
To begin to understand the tea culture in South Korea, I first had to find out how tea arrived on the peninsula. Then I read that Buddhism began to expand to these parts of the planet, and it was the monks who brought the drink along with the sutras, the sacred Buddhist scriptures. In the south of the Korean peninsula they found the ideal geography for the cultivation of green tea back in the fifth century AD Boseong, Hadong and Jeju Island are still today the emblematic sites where you can get to know the green tea plantations in South Korea.
Daehan Dawon Tea Plantation is the place I wanted to meet. The most extensive and oldest plantation. Although history is about, like everything else in this country, we must know that although these hills have centuries of history, the area was repeatedly destroyed by the Japanese and/or North Koreans in successive wars and invasions. The Daehan Dawon plantation was born as such in 1937 thanks to a Japanese settler, and after Japan's defeat in the Second World War it was handed over to a Korean producer in 1950.
Arriving was a journey in itself. We were staying in Suncheon from where we took a bus to Boseong first and in the mini terminal, by signs, we were able to decipher the bus that took us to the entrance of the plantation. All the signs in Boseong's small bus terminal are in Korean and being only a platform for arrival and departure there was no employee to ask. Some people understood where we wanted to go and they indicated us.
Already on the road it is seen that the cultivation of green tea is predominant in the mountainous area. And the plantation we visited is hidden behind a long, shaded cedar path, and a small bamboo forest (with the country's fiercest mosquitoes). The view that surprises you after this little walk is fascinating:
There are almost 6 million green tea plants in these serpentine acres and their terraces. The green cords climb the mountain and make no photo need filter or postproduction. It is simply beautiful. Some trees and flowers humbly accompany the prominence of the tea plant that dominates the scene in silence.
Apart from walking in the tea labyrinth for as long as the body allows, on the premises there are two large stores with related products. Not only tea in all its presentations to infuse (bags, whole or crushed leaves, powder), but also cookies, noodles, and even green tea ice cream. The merchandaising is not far behind if you want another type of memory of this visit.
But let's fill the cups. The tasting that can be done at the place costs between 1000 and 2000 won, and they serve it perfectly. A minute timed infusion in water at the ideal temperature, not a second more because it becomes an intomable thing. This light infusion has a very subtle color and perfumes, but a lot of body and a surprisingly intense flavor. I want to start writing about tea, everything I'm learning and tasting and I realize that the words fall short! How are the smells, tastes, the warmth of the cup in your hands transmitted?
How to get? The small town of Boseong can be reached by train or bus. From there (the stations are almost one next to the other) you have to take a local bus that leaves you at the entrance of the plantation. As help, the name of the plantation is written down in Korean so that the driver can let you know where to get off. Or like us, we had a tourist information leaflet with the photo of the plantation, and everyone understood where we were going.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
AUTHOR Kalyan Panja