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Moroccan Mint Tea

I will bet you 30 dirhams that you cant's spend one day in Marrakech and not have at least three cups of sweet mint tea. Moroccans drink hot tea all year round and all day long. Bars and cafes are always filled with tea-sipping crowd, souq merchants offer tea to the toughest negotiators and a pot of tea prepared and served by the man of the house is a display of Moroccan hospitality.

If offered tea, it is polite to have at least three cups. The drink is poured from high above glasses to make tea nice and frothy. And to show off a little bit, too.

The drink is made with Moroccan mint and Chinese gunpowder tea. The tea-drinking tradition is younger than it might seem. Moroccans were first introduced to Chinese green tea in 1854. British merchants, frustrated with blockades resulting from Crimean War and unable to transport the wares of tea to the Baltic region, decided to start selling their chests of tea in ports of Morocco. It turned out to be a marketing success, as Moroccans had fallen in love with the tea, creating a new market for tea from the Far East.

Traditionally, the tea is served three times. Since the tea leaves are left in the pot, the taste evolves and each glass has its unique flavour. According to a Moroccan proverb, the first glass is as gentle as life, the second one is as strong as love, the third - as bitter as death.

Recipe: Moroccan mint tea

Makes 6 small glasses
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp green tea
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 10 springs fresh mint
  • 4 cups water
Method
  • Place the tea in a pot. Boil the water and pour the water to the pot. Set aside for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar and add mint. Set aside for 3-4 minutes.
  • Pour with the teapot a high distance above the glasses. Garnish with fresh mint.