Mint tea is one of the most original traditions of Morocco. For all occasions, parties, meetings and family evenings, a Moroccan offers mint tea. Mint tea is drunk everywhere and by everyone throughout the day… Of course, mint tea is not only drunk in Morocco but in the whole Maghreb. We will talk about Morocco here because this country is the cradle of this way of tasting tea.
Mint tea is the traditional drink of the Maghreb countries and is native to Morocco. The tea is obtained through the infusion of dried green tea leaves (Gunpowder type), and mint, with some sugar and, is served very hot.
In Morocco, tea is, more particularly, the drink of hospitality. A large number of virtues, notably tonic and digestive, are attributed to the beverage. Its preparation and taste vary according to the regions and cities of Morocco. It is, for example, sweeter in the north than in the south of Morocco. It is a true art of living. Tea in Morocco is a prelude to any conversation! Whether you’re discussing the price of an item in the souk or visiting a friend, you’ll be offered tea everywhere, at any time of day!
The history of tea in Morocco
It was in the 17th century, during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl, that tea made its entry into Morocco. The English ambassadors offered it as a gift to the Court. It was then a rare drink, reserved for the Sultan and the notables. However, in 1854, the British saw their tea exports to Slavic countries interrupted by the Crimean War. In search of new markets for their tea plantations in India, they turned to Morocco, which was easily accessible from Gibraltar. From then on, tea became part of the daily life for everybody especially since Moroccans were already consuming a variety of herbal teas.
The Moroccan tea culture
What teas do Moroccans drink?
Gunpowder, which is a Chinese green tea. If mint tea is the most famous Moroccan tea, there are however many variations: absinthe, verbena, marjoram, and sage are commonly used in its preparation in the north of Morocco. In the south, a pinch of saffron, a few aniseed seeds or even a hint of pepper is sometimes preferred. Some also add orange blossom or rose water, but for the vast majority of the Moroccan population, Moroccan tea is prepared with only three ingredients: dried green tea leaves, mint, and sugar.
What are the virtues of Moroccan tea?
The benefits of Moroccan tea are multiple: we find the virtues of mint and green tea. This drink is invigorating, it brings freshness and stimulates the immune system. It is a natural antioxidant, detoxifying, which reduces stress and anxiety and brings draining and digestive properties.
Why is Moroccan tea poured from a height?
In some Eastern countries, tea is systematically served by lifting the teapot very high, which is the case in Morocco, sometimes 1 meter above the glass. At first, you might think it’s just for aesthetics since it is true that it is quite pretty. But that’s not really the only reason why it is done. This practice is mainly used to facilitate digestion and to cool off the tea.
How to serve tea in Morocco?
Knowing how to serve mint tea is important for the beauty of the gesture, but also to magnify the aroma. Pour into a glass and pour the contents into the teapot. Repeat the operation. This will dilute the sugar and oxygenate the drink to develop its fragrance. This is a good opportunity to practice pouring the tea from a height: start with the spout close to the glass and gradually move the teapot up. Straighten the teapot with a short movement to stop the liquid from pouring out. Pour the hot tea into small glasses on a silver or copper footed tea trays from a height so that it foams. Fill to two-thirds full. To complete the service, add next to the Moroccan tea a plate with some Morrocan pastries.