Ah, Morocco! A kingdom in northern Africa, the name conjures up visions of mystery, adventure, color, romance. We immediately think of Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, and the eponymously titled movie that is inextricably tied to that magical city. We think of Marrakech, an extremely popular tourist attraction due in large part to its vast “souks,” those open-air marketplaces comprised of hundreds of vendors hawking their wares, of crowded streets and mazes of alleyways. While souks may be a lure for tourists primarily due to the shopping, for the local Moroccans, souks are gathering places to meet, catch up, spend a little time gossiping...and drinking famous Moroccan mint tea.
What Is Moroccan Mint Tea?
It’s really quite simple. In addition to water, this national beverage is brewed with three basic ingredients: Gunpowder tea, spearmint leaves and sugar. Known as “atai,” this tea holds a special place in Moroccan daily life. It is served all day long and is especially known as a beverage that is served as a sign of hospitality. How you prepare Moroccan tea in the traditional way is considered an art form.
These days, when guests come to visit a modern Moroccan household, it’s likely the tea will be prepared in the kitchen and then served to guests. However, in more traditional households or for special occasions, the tea will be prepared in front of guests in a ceremony that requires one key action…
Pour That Tea From Up High!
While the types of teapots or glassware used can certainly vary from one Moroccan tea ceremony to another, one move is a must: the tea is poured from a height of around 12 inches above the glass. Besides being on the slightly dramatic/theatrical side, there’s another reason to pour the tea from that height -- it will create some foam on the top of the cup, which makes it an even more authentic Moroccan tea ceremony experience.
For that full experience, ideally you would have an exotic silver teapot with long, curved spouts (the better to pour that tea from higher up). These often artisan-made teapots with hand-hammered designs are as beautiful as they are functional: Moroccan tea is made using boiling water poured into the teapots, so if you don’t have a teapot that can handle that intensity of heat, you’ll want to make sure you obtain one before going full-on Moroccan tea ceremony.
Create an Authentic Moroccan Tea Experience
Invite some friends over and bring the joy of a Moroccan tea ceremony into your home.
Moroccan Mint Tea
- 1 T Organic Gunpowder loose tea*
- 4 fresh mint branches (Moroccans use spearmint, also called “nana” mint)
- 2 T sugar (adjust to suit your taste)
- 3 C water
- ½ t orange blossom water (optional)
*If you wish, you can also use our Moroccan Mint Green Tea, which is gunpowder tea with peppermint. This means you can skip adding the fresh mint, or if you prefer, add more mint to your liking.
- Boil the water in a kettle. While the water is boiling, place the Gunpowder loose tea in your teapot.
- Pour 1 cup of the boiling water into your teapot and swish it around to clean the tea leaves. This helps give the tea a milder flavor.
- Discard that water, keeping the tea leaves in the pot.
- Pour the remaining boiling water into the teapot. Add the sugar.
- Place the teapot on the stove over medium heat and bring to a boil, generally 1 to 3 minutes. The longer you let it boil, the stronger your tea will become.
- Add the mint, making sure it is all covered by the tea. The more mint you use, the more Moroccan your tea will be.
- Let boil for another 1 to 2 minutes until liquid just begins to foam.
- Using a heating pad or towel, remove the teapot from heat.
- Add the orange blossom water, if desired.
- Pour from a height of around 12 inches or so into glasses.
Have you been fortunate enough to travel to Morocco and experience their mint tea firsthand? If so, share your experience in the comments!