I’ve just returned from holidaying in Tunisia and in time to share my experiences of tea for this month’s blog post. I had a glorious time exploring the Tunisian landscape, and of course drinking lots and lots of tea! We drunk tea in the capital; Tunis, by the sea in Hammamet, in Nabeul the ceramic central of the country and more tea drinking took place in the holy city of Karaouan. All absolutely glorious and providing a new experience in each place.
One of the international tea parties that we offer is the ‘North African Tea Party’ and this tea party serves traditional ‘Maghrebi’ mint tea as drunk in the ‘Maghreb’, this defines the region of Northwest Africa made up of the following countries; Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Mauritania. The ‘Maghrebi’ tea culture has spread throughout North Africa including Egypt and Sudan and southern Spain. ‘Maghrebi’ style mint tea, borne in Morocco, we found occupies an important part of the Tunisian day.
Maghrebi – style mint tea is green tea (gunpowder tea) served with mint leaves and copious amounts of sugar! Served not only a meal times but throughout the day, it is a drink of hospitality, impolite to refuse, this continues throughout North Africa.
My favourite glass of tea had to be the one drunk in Hammamet by the sea. It was remarkable drinking the sugary concoction that is Maghrebi style mint tea as we watched the tides crash in, scented with jasmine and sea breezes. Glorious, absolutely glorious.
Here’s our recipe for you all to experience tea the Tunisian way.
Making Tea the Maghrebi Way
The customary green tea used is a gunpowder tea imported from China, I brought some back from Tunisia however it is widely available in England. Here is how you can make a pot of tea the Maghrebi way.
½ litre of water
2 tsp gunpowder tea
5 tsp sugar
Handful of fresh mint leaves
1. In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a litre of boiling water. Allow it too steep for at least ten minutes.
2. Filter the mixture into a different stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
3. Add sugar (about one teaspoon per 100 ml).
4. Bring to boil over a medium heat.
5. As desired, add fresh mint leaves either to the teapot or directly to the cup.
There you have it folks, enjoy! Serve with makroudh, a pastry filled with dates that I brought back from Tunisia or the more widely available baklawa. And please do come back next month when we feature another tea from a different part of the world.