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The ritual of mint tea in Morocco

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The ritual of mint tea in Morocco

Mint Green Tea from Morocco is one of the many rites and traditions that surround tea. This recipe has been exported to many countries thanks to its thirst-quenching properties and unique taste, which appeals to tea lovers.

The history of mint tea

Tea first entered Morocco in 1854, during the Crimean War. Due to the blockade of the Baltic, British traders are looking for new markets to sell their goods. They turn to the ports of Tangier and Mogador (Essaouira).

Accustomed to consuming infusions based on decoctions of Mint Nanah leaves, Moroccans have then discovered Gunpowder green tea, nicknamed “Chinese pearls”. They have naturally decided to combine these two exceptional ingredients.

Thanks to the nomadic populations, tea spread rapidly throughout the Maghreb and all of West Africa. Since then, offering mint tea has been part of the rules of etiquette, not only in Morocco, but also in many other Arab countries.

The tea used is exclusively green tea, generally Gunpowder, a Chinese tea produced for export and renowned for its freshness and thirst-quenching properties.

The ritual of mint tea in Morocco

One of the mainstays of Moroccan culture is Moroccan mint tea, also known as “Berber whiskey” or “Maghreb mint tea”. The drink can be sipped at any time of the day. It is perfect to finish a meal but it is also drunk in special situations such as, for example, when welcoming guests into the house, in wedding ceremonies, a birth or a funeral or when sharing meals together: in Morocco, tea is sipped 20 or even 30 times a day.

Preparing a cup of tea in Morocco does not just mean boiling water and adding mint leaves, but is a ceremonial art that is passed down from generation to generation.

Traditionally, mint tea is prepared in a typical Moroccan teapot, and is served from a very high point, which allows it to be oxygenated and reveals all its aromas.

The presence of foam on the surface of the tea, also called the "turban", testifies to the success of the infusion.

Mint tea, synonymous with hospitality and conviviality

Mint tea is the most refined expression of hospitality in Morocco. According to a Tuareg proverb, “it takes three conditions to make tea: time, embers and friends”.

It is generally the head of the family who prepares it, sometimes his eldest son.

Two teapots are prepared at the same time: the celebrant places a large pinch of green tea in each, which he quickly rinses with boiling water to remove its bitterness. A handful of fresh mint leaves and a large piece of sugar loaf are then introduced into each teapot, and covered with boiling water. After a few minutes of infusion, the tea attendant stirs the mixture and tastes it, possibly adding a few mint leaves or a little sugar. He then serves the tea using the two teapots, pouring it from a very high point into small glasses, which he brings on a finely chiseled metal tray.

Tea is served three times without changing the leaves. The aromas and appearance of the infusion therefore evolve over the course of the tastings. An Arabic proverb describes these three infusions:

  • The first drink is bitter as life
  • The second is as sweet as love
  • The third is as soothing as death

Once the three successive infusions are served, it is polite for the guest to give the signal to leave.

Moroccan Tea Service Set

Serving tea is an art in Morocco. No question of serving it naked, without a real Moroccan teapot, without the traditional glasses and of course without a beautiful and large Moroccan tray.

Moroccan teapot

To prepare a good mint tea you must have the traditional Moroccan teapot, because unlike a common ceramic teapot, the Moroccan teapot is resistant to high temperatures, in direct contact with the heat of the stove for a few minutes. 

Craft teapots are heavy and solid, with precise and beautiful engravings, they cost more but last a lifetime.

Moroccan cups

Moroccan mugs are made of glass, embellished with beautiful colorful decorations. The cups are small because in Morocco it is customary to sip tea in small quantities, even while drinking it a ritual is followed. The tea must be savored, tasted and each moment consumed must represent a hug, for oneself and also for the guests.

Moroccan trays

Trays are artisanal products, exist either in silver or copper, with a simple design or on foot.

Moroccan perfumer

Rose water may be used in the preparation of mint tea in Morocco and it is served in Moroccan perfumer in % stainless metal made in the Fes region. They are hammered and engraved by hand by craftsmen.


The “Homemade mint tea” recipe

To prepare mint tea using the traditional Moroccan method, you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese Gunpowder green tea
  • Organic Moroccan Mint leaves
  • Sugar

Put the green tea in the bottom of the teapot. After bringing the water to a boil, pour a small amount of water over the leaves to wash them, then discard this first water.

Wash the mint, crush it and add it to the teapot with the sugar (it's up to you to taste then to judge the amount of sugar to your liking).

Pour a small amount of the infusion into a glass and put it back in the teapot to mix the sugar. Taste, and you decide when the infusion is ready. You have to drink the tea very hot.

In the desert, the preparation of tea is slightly different and is done using small enamelled metal teapots, which are placed directly on the fire, filled with tea, water and sugar. As in Morocco, three successive teas are served: the Tuaregs say that the first is strong like life, the second good like love, the last sweet like death.

Tea contributes to good health

In Morocco, where the temperatures are high, hot tea is drunk even in summer, because the consumption of hot drinks cools the body, and Arabic tea contains many antioxidant ingredients capable of increasing physical endurance, helping to digestion, inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Then there are aromatic plants with healing properties, such as thyme, a vermifuge that helps eliminate bad bacteria, strengthens the intestinal mucosa and reduces inflammation.

Otherwise, to give the tea a floral taste, there are those who add geranium which has relaxing properties, lemon verbena rather gives a feeling of freshness. Some aromatic plants that are added to Moroccan mint tea are dried flowers, such as rose petals, otherwise to enrich the herbal tea with a fruity aroma, lemon zest, lemon flower water is added directly orange blossom or orange zest.

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