Every morning in Morocco starts with a hot cup of tea. At noon comes another, and a final glass (along with an assortment of treats) caps off the evening. This beverage is everywhere in Morocco. The most famous, and most popular kind is Moroccan mint tea. It is sweet and refreshing though always served hot. And bear in mind that this drink bares little resemblance to the packaged varieties sold under the same name abroad. Moroccan mint tea is the real deal.
How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea
The biggest misconception Twinning type companies seem to have about Moroccan mint tea is that you simply steep it. Cafés in Fez don’t put out a bag and kettle of water when you order your drink. For a real Moroccan mint tea the brewing process is much more intricate. It starts with buying the right ingredients. The base tea is always gunpowder green leaves. You will also need white sugar and sprigs of spearmint. For the full recipe, you can check out Honestly Yummy’s recipe. Note, however, that everyone has their own formula. So you can perfect the balance of sweetness, mint flavor, and intensity by altering the proportions and tweaking the steps.
Traditional Serving Style
Even though mint tea is hot, you never drink it from a mug. Instead, you will use the small crystal glasses that line every shuk. These intricate glasses often come in sets with various colors so everyone can distinguish which cup is theirs. The metal kettles next to the cups are also an essential part of the authentic Moroccan serving-ware. Furthermore, there is a specific way Moroccans pour from the kettle into the cups.
TAKEAWAY: When pouring this beverage, start from a reasonable height but then move the kettle as high as you can without missing the cup. Moroccans give a few reasons for why you do this. The most significant one is to form a sort of foam. The perfect cup of mint tea has as many bubbles on top as possible. Some will also point out that this helps cool it. If the high pour does not cool the tea enough for you, ask for a second cup and pour it back and forth. This will cool the drink and keep the bubbles.
You can drink mint tea plain or only at meals. You can have it for breakfast accompanied by traditional Moroccan breakfast foods. But the best time is in the afternoon. Order a cup from a café and beat the heat people-watching while you eat a small plate of Moroccan cookies. It makes the perfect bite between meals as you relax after the market bustle.
There are many different types of cookies, due in part to the various cultures that collect in Morocco. Try some that are more Arab in origin and feature nuts and honey. The French influence also brought over dainty butter type cookies. For those who love almonds, many Moroccan cookies are filled with marzipan. Those are often the most intricate looking ones. Try whichever ones strike you most, but order a few to get a sense of the diversity in origins.
Moroccan mint tea is amazing, and it’s by far the most popular option. Some places, however, will also serve Berber tea. The Berbers are the native nomadic tribes of Northern Africa. The Arabs colonized their lands well before the Europeans colonized Northern Africa. But beware! Berber tea is bitter.
For those who want to try a local drink but prefer to avoid sweet beverages, this is a fun option. Be prepared to assure your server you want it though. Because of its bitter taste, some places will think foreigners are confused and try to suggest mint tea instead.
Moroccans are rightly proud of their country’s topographical diversity. There are slopes to ski on, beaches to surf at, and cities to explore. Regardless of what your day entails, Moroccan mint tea is the perfect partner. The mint is refreshing in the summer heat, and the warmth will keep you toasty in the mountains. And if you are lucky enough to have a local invite you for tea into their own home, feel grateful. Not everyone gets this opportunity, and it means that they are welcoming you into this outstanding North African country.