Moroccans have excelled in preparing Moroccan tea or “Atay” as they call it. Through the history of Morocco, tea has become a tradition and a national drink.
Moroccans are known for their hospitality. It is a shame for them not to serve tea to their guests, whether they are poor or rich.
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History of tea in Morocco
Most historians debate about if the tea was brought to Morocco by Phoenicians in the 12th century or by Berbers, the first settlers of Morocco, by Arabs or from Spain and Portugal.
Many of them agreed that Morocco knew tea in the eighteenth century, and it started spreading through Morocco in the middle of the nineteenth century when Morocco involved in trade with Europe.
Thus it appears that the king Mawla Ismail received many bags of green tea and sugar, among the gifts presented by the queen of Britain to prepare for the release of some European prisoners.
Anyway, whatever the story of how tea was brought to Morocco, Moroccan mint tea remains a magical drink and a great symbol of Moroccan hospitality
Moroccan mint tea service
In Morocco, tea is also famous by the aesthetic of the tools Moroccans use to prepare it:
The tea serving tray (Siniya) and the teapot (Berrad) are handcrafted in Moroccan old cities like Fez. They are usually made of pure silver or silver-plated brass and are decorated with hand-carved patterns. Tea leaves, sugar, and mint are also placed in three specific cans of the same metal.
As for the cups, Moroccans usually serve tea on ornate and colorful glass cups. In the tea tray, you will see many cups even if you are the only guest. Don’t be surprised it is a tradition in Morocco. It is inappropriate to have fewer cups.
This tea service is ordinarily exclusive for guests and specific occasions. Every Moroccan house has it. For everyday tea ceremonies, they use basic tools.
What do you need to prepare authentic Moroccan mint tea?
To prepare Moroccan tea, you need a few ingredients: Gunpowder tea, fresh mint or any aromatic herb you like, water, and sugar.
Traditionally, Moroccan tea is so sweet, but you can adjust the quantity of sugar according to your preferences and your tastes. Personally, it tastes much better for me with no sugar.
Prepare tea as Moroccans do
- In a clean teapot, pour the tea and a teacup of already boiled water.
- Let the mixture simmer for one minute without shaking it. Then carefully, pour out the water in a separate cup and set it aside. This is the essence of the tea. Don’t discard it.
- Pour half a cap of the boiled water in the same pot. This time shake it a couple of times to clean the tea leaves. Pour out the water and discard it.
- Now add the cup of water you had set aside earlier. Fill the pot with the remaining boiled water and let it simmer over low heat until it comes to a boil. When it is boiling, add the fresh mint and the quantity of sugar you like.
To dissolve sugar, you need to pour the tea in a cup and pour it back in the pot. After repeating this process a couple of times, your tea will be ready.
Below are some photos of my lovely dad pouring tea (He was not aware I’m taking photos )
Serving Moroccan mint tea
Moroccans pour tea in a quite special and charming way. They raise their hands with the teapot over the cups. This helps produce a white foam on top of the tea. This seems difficult at the beginning but it is easy as far as you try it.
I have hosted a Chinese girl who was so surprised by the way I was pouring tea. After three tries, she was able to pour it the same way 🙂
Pouring tea this way helps cool it a little, and give a foam that indicates it tastes good.
Moroccan tea flavors
Morocco is known for its famous mint-tea, but what you may not know is that once in Morocco, you will taste different versions of this mint-tea since, In Morocco, you will find different types of spearmint depending on the region and the seasons.
Do not hesitate to try tea with other flavors as well, such as wild thyme, saffron, verbena, sage, and pennyroyal.
I personally do prefer to use pennyroyal instead of mint, especially in rainy days
In Moroccan you can drink tea any time with or without food in houses, markets, and restaurants. Moroccans serve it usually with some local sweets. It is not a simple drink of the country’s cuisine, but rather, it is a symbol of Moroccan hospitality and culture.
Have you enjoyed this little piece of magic? if yes share with us how it looks like.
Do you love Moroccan food?
If you are a Moroccan cuisine lover like me, you will love the following recipes: