A journey through the mesmerizing kingdom of Morocco is not complete unless you get to taste and enjoy the country’s iconic drink which is the one and only “Moroccan Mint Tea” or as some call it, “Moroccan Whiskey”.
All around the world, Moroccan mint tea is a legendary emblem of Morocco. Everyone knows about it and loves it but making it remains a mystery.
The country of Morocco is known for its hospitality which could not be complete without a gathering around a good mint tea. As a guest in Morocco, you will be offered a glass of mint tea accompanied by various kinds of Moroccan homemade pastries.
Your host will carry a tray ornamented with a long-spouted, silver teapot and several small glasses. To serve the tea, your host will pour the tea from at least a foot above the small drinking glass to create a thin layer of foam on the surface but also to help it cool down.
The whole process of the preparation and the serving of Moroccan Mint Tea represents a ritual which may differ in each home and region of the kingdom but it will never fail to offer you the satisfaction.
HISTORICAL GLIMPSE OF MOROCCAN MINT TEA
The history of tea is debatable. While hot, herbal remedies, such as sage, mint, and wormwood, had been around before actual tea, many Moroccans will say they have been drinking the same tea they drink today for decades.
By the 1860’s, as trade increased in various parts of Morocco, tea spread throughout the country. While tea was still very much a luxury item, and drinking it was a symbol of a high social status, it eventually found its way into city markets, onto the caravan routes of the Sahara, and into Atlas Mountains.
It is also believed that It was during the Crimean War that green tea was introduced to North Africa through the port of Mogador (Essaouira) in Morocco and then to the Atlantic Sahara (Western Sahara and Mauritania), the Saoura Valley and the oases of Touat. The Tuaregs got used to drinking tea in the 1940s.
Green gunpowder tea is shaped like small cocoons, and very bitter in taste. Take one sip of it without sugar and mint, and you will understand why the Moroccans prepare their tea in the manner they do. It is because of the extremely strong and bitter flavor of the green tea that the leaves are brewed once and the water tossed out, and then brewed again. In fact, every part of the preparation of Attay (Arabic for mint tea) has a specific purpose, and it is the complex brewing process that makes Moroccan mint tea unique.
HOW TO MAKE IDEAL MOROCCAN MINT TEA
Crafting the ideal cup of Moroccan mint tea is a unique process.
- 1 tablespoon gunpowder green tea (Add more if you like it strong)
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (Add more if you like it very sweet)
- Large handful mint
- 5 cups boiling water
- Add the loose tea directly to your Moroccan teapot.
- In a separate kettle, boil a pot of water.
- Add one cup of boiling water to the Moroccan teapot.
- Let the tea steep for 30 seconds then pour it into a glass and set aside.
- Add the mint, sugar, and first glass of tea back into the Moroccan teapot. Then fill with boiling water.
- Place the Moroccan teapot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour one glass of tea. Pour this glass back into the teapot to mix. Repeat two more times.
- Pour the tea from high above each glass to create froth.
- Garnish with a couple mint leaves (optional) and serve.
- Moroccan mint tea is traditionally very sweet but feel free to adjust the quantity of sugar to your own taste.
- If you use a regular heatproof teapot, don’t forget to use a small sifter when pouring the tea into the glasses to retain the gunpowder tea leaves.
- Feel free to flavor your Moroccan tea with any other aromatic herb that you like such as verbena, sage and geranium.
- You can find gunpowder tea in most Middle Eastern grocery shops.