PASTIME / Mint tea in Morocco

Often referred to by the tongue-in-cheek name “Whiskey Berbère” (Berber whiskey), Moroccans drink tea “at the slightest pretext every hour of the day”. Likely introduced by the British in the 18th century, tea is now a staple of daily life and hospitality, with mint providing a distinctly Moroccan spin.

Step 1 : Get some tea and fresh mint

While from afar a glass of mint tea may look like a bunch of leaves, mint tea should contain tea. Specifically Gunpowder Pearl green tea (imported to Morocco from China).

Step 2 : Heat up (and cool off)

Rinse the tea in a teapot with boiling water to remove bitterness, and discard this water. Add fresh mint leaves and fresh water and bring to a boil (after step three). While the tea will be hot, it’s thought that mint is used because it seems to provide a cooling effect, perfect for Morocco’s climate.

Step 3 : A lot of sweetness

Sugar is a crucial element of mint tea; sometimes the resulting product can seem more like a simple syrup than a glass of tea. Ignore the thought of cavities, for according to Moroccan custom, the sweeter the tea, the more respected the guest. See Step 4 for additional hospitality requirements.

Step 4 : Stand on a chair

You can’t just tip your teapot into a glass, for according to Moroccan custom, the higher the stream is poured, the more respected the guest.1Start pouring near the glass, and reach up as far as you can, allowing the tea to enter the inlaid glass cups in a a thin stream. This ritual also has a practical element, as it helps to both mix and cool the tea for drinking. 

Photo : Rissani, Morocco / May 2016

See also:

Morocco Dossier

And . . .

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