Moroccan mint tea is the exceptional marriage between green tea and Moroccan fresh mint leaves. Everything in Morocco begins with a freshly made pot of mint tea.
Tea is an important part of every conversation, whether you are negotiating prices in the Souq (traditional market) or visiting a friend you will be welcomed by a cup of freshly brewed Moroccan mint tea.
This article covers everything you need to know about making an authentic Moroccan mint tea. And if you are planning of throwing a Moroccan tea party, this is how you do it.
How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea?
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What kind of tea is used for Moroccan mint tea?
The tea used to prepare the iconic Moroccan mint tea is gunpowder tea which is actually a Chinese green tea. There are several popular brands sold across Morocco but they are easily accessible to other countries.
Gunpowder is normal Chinese green tea with its leaves tightly rolled into little pellets. Because it is compressed, it is stronger than regular tea leaves. It is called gunpowder because it resembles old-school gunpowder.
It’s believed that gunpowder tea first appeared during the Tang Dynasty, more than 1000 years ago, making it one of the oldest green tea types in the world and one of the first green teas exported from China.
Nowadays, gunpowder is the default tea consumed in Morocco and it is literally irreplaceable for Morrocan.
Some of the famous Moroccan gunpowder tea Brands:
- Sultan Tea
- Sbaa (4011)
- Al Bahia
- El Kafila
What type of mint is used for Moroccan mint tea?
If you’ve ever had Moroccan mint tea, then you know how refreshing it can be. The freshness comes from the marriage of the delicate flavor of the mint and the sweetened sugar. And that’s because Moroccans use a handful of fresh mint leaves to get the minty flavor out.
Mint is actually an essential ingredient for a perfect Moroccan mint tea and there are actually several different types of mint that are commonly used in Moroccan mint tea, including spearmint, and peppermint.
However, if your local store does not sell these two types of mint, feel free to use any kind of mint you find to flavor your Moroccan mint tea. Regardless of the exact type of mint, one thing is for sure_your tea will still be delicious.
How to flavor Moroccan mint tea?
In addition to the mint, Moroccans use other herbs and spices to flavor their cup of tea. In fact, the consumption of other herbal drinks has been present in Morocco for centuries even before the appearance of the tea. So, I think that’s why herbs and flavors found their way to the Moroccan mint tea.
This could have resulted in the fusion of old and new traditions to produce what is now known and loved as Moroccan mint tea.
Some of the herbs that are commonly used in Morocco mint tea are absinthium, verbena, marjoram, and sage which are used to prepare tea specifically in the North of Morocco. While Southern people prefer to use a pinch of Saffron and some Aniseed instead.
Other herbs such as rose petals and nuts are used on more intimate occasions such as weddings and other special events.
How Moroccan mint tea is served in Morocco?
Moroccan mint tea is traditionally made and served with a Moroccan tea set which includes an elaborate silver tray with three silver containers of tea, mint, and sugar. These ingredients are ready to be mixed into the hot water.
There is also a separate tray that has the traditional teapot and glasses. This tray will be used to pour and serve the tea.
The teapots are usually made in silver and decorated with engravings. These engraved Moroccan teapots are beautiful but they are generally saved for guests and special occasions.
Moroccans make mint tea 3 to 4 times a day so they need simpler and more practical teapots. Many opt for something sturdy and easy to clean.
In more traditional areas in Morocco, the tea service set can include a handwashing set for guests and the person making the tea. The set is called “Ghessal” which is a water jug and large bowl. The host places the bowl under your hands and slowly pours water over your hands so that you can wash them.
What do you need to make Moroccan mint tea?
Even though you can play around with different ingredients to make Moroccan mint tea, an authentic version requires these basic and essential ingredients:
- Fresh mint is called Nana in Morocco. In winter, which is not the season of mint, we can replace it with a few leaves of Absinthium, or Za’atar.
- Sugar is an essential ingredient in Moroccan mint tea. You can always abstain from using it but it won’t taste as good as the super sweet Moroccan tea.
- Enough boiled water
- Moroccan stainless steel teapot. Highly recommended for an authentic Moroccan mint tea
The procedure of making Moroccan tea is considered an art that should be preserved. These preparations are usually done by men and are common during special occasions such as welcoming guests and having celebrations.
First of all, the women in the house prepare all the ingredients: sugar, gunpowder tea, and fresh mint in front of the tea maker, usually an elderly man in the house.
The man should start the ceremony by washing his hands and then cleaning the tea by rinsing it in boiled water and then adding mint and sugar to the tea already in the pot and filling it with water.
To give the tea a strong taste, they put it on low to medium heat for a few minutes, and then it’s time to serve it with some Moroccan homemade sweets and pastries.
Serving tea to the guests is somehow another unique tradition in Morocco. The tea server should make sure the teacup is almost half full, and make white bubbles on the surface. That’s actually how you know a good cup of tea from a bad one.
Tea is really important for Moroccans as a daily drink. Therefore, wasting neither tea nor time is not an option for them.
One pot of tea can be served up to 3 times by just filling it with water, adding more sugar and mint then straight to the fire. 3 minutes later another full pot of tea is ready for serving.
The Moroccan tea ceremony isn’t just about tea, though. It’s about sharing and socializing with one another. People spend hours of their days just drinking tea, laughing, and gossiping.
These joyful moments are incomplete in Morocco unless they are accompanied by tea.
What do you have Moroccan tea with
Moroccan tea can be enjoyed alone or with some of the delicious Moroccan homemade sweets (Zlabia, Chebakia, Makroud) homemade Moroccan pancakes (Msemen, Beghrir, Betbout), or organic nuts, dates, and figs. Moroccan tea can be served also with food during lunch or dinner.
Read More: The Authentic Moroccan breakfast
Read More: Moroccan Food: 40 Best Foods You Will Love
What to avoid when making Moroccan Mint Tea
Don’t use too much tea
All too often people with no clue think that the key to a strong cup of Moroccan tea is loads of tea. Use a moderate amount, see out notes above, and boil the tea longer to get stronger tea. By adding too much tea to your water you will mess up all the proportions, resulting in a bad cup of tea.
Don’t boil your mint
Your fresh mint is meant to be added in right at the end. The last thing you want to do is burn your mint. This mistake will kill the fresh mint aroma in your tea.
Use a little extra sugar
We are in no way promoting the excessive use of sugar. However, the strong taste of the mint and boiled tea need to be tamed with a fair amount of sugar. That is how Moroccan tea is supposed to be made.
Don’t drink alone!
Okay, this last one is not as serious. Still, Moroccan Mint Tea is best enjoyed with company. Call a friend over and get that pot boiling. That is the way!
Where to find the best Moroccan mint tea
There is no unique answer to this question since authentic Moroccan tea can be drunk almost everywhere in Morocco. Moroccan tea is a way of life for Moroccans.
But, Moroccan tea isn’t only about the taste isn’t it? The process of making it is what gives it that authentic Moroccan touch.
So, if you’re looking to experience a tea-making ceremony, I would suggest that you snag an invitation to a traditional Moroccan house, or even better, attend a special celebration such as Moroccan weddings, Religious celebrations (Sacrifice Eid and Ramadan Eid), or baby showers.
Benefits of Moroccan Mint Tea
Moroccan mint tea has all the benefits that are commonly associated with green tea. It is high in antioxidants and can help you lose weight while reducing your risk of cancer and heart disease.
In addition, mint is known to have several health benefits. It can improve brain function, relieve digestion issues, combat cold symptoms, and is great to kill bad breath. The bottom line is that Moroccan mint tea is a healthy drink that you want to incorporate into your daily diet.
The best way to do this is to have at least a cup of freshly made Moroccan mint tea daily.
- 2 tsp Moroccan gunpowder tea
- 3-6 tsp sugar (this depends on how sweet you like your tea. Moroccan tea tends to be extra sweet)
- A bunch of fresh mint leaves
- A teapot
- Boiled water
- Step 1: Add 1 cup of boiling water to your Moroccan teapot and swirl it around. This will help clean the teapot as well as heat it up. Discard the water.
- Step 2: Add 2 teaspoons of Moroccan green tea (gunpowder) in the teapot and then add 1 cup of boiled water to the tea. Let it sit for 1 minute, then empty the water into a cup. This is called “the essence of the tea”, which means it contains the first burst of flavors from the tea leaves.
- Step 3: Add another cup of boiling water to the teapot, swirl around, then pour it into a cup. You will notice that this one is much darker than the other one. This step is to clean the tea leaves now that they opened up after the first contact with boiling water. This cup of water will not be used for drinking.
- Step 4: Pour back into the teapot the first cup of tea “the essence of the tea” then add boiling water to the teapot until it is three-quarters full. Put on medium heat, and bring the water to a boil.
- Step 5: Remove the teapot from the heat and immediately add a large bunch of fresh Moroccan mint (Nana) and sugar. Usually, Moroccan mint tea is supposed to be very sweet.
- Step 6: Mix all the ingredients by pouring the tea into a glass and then pouring it back into the teapot. Repeat this step, ideally three times.
- Now, serve the traditional way by holding the teapot high above the glass, to get the distinctive foamy bubbles.
- To get the bubbles, the tea server should lift the pot high up when pouring the tea : )
- For the tea, if you can’t find a Moroccan brand, just use any Chinese gunpowder green tea or regular tea leaves.
- The authentic way of making Moroccan tea is to add the mint after you boil the tea to prevent the taste of burned mint leaves.
That’s a wrap!
Moroccan mint tea is refreshing, delicious, and has several health benefits. We have shown that it is easy to make and requires only three basic ingredients, green tea, sugar, and mint.
Over and above that, the tradition of making and drinking tea in Morocco is a very intimate and sociable experience. It is an excuse for people to come together, sit and talk about the events of the day.
In a time when there is so much that threatens to divide us, the tradition of drinking tea together is a call for unity, friendship, and understanding 🙂
I hope you will try my recipe and if you do share with me how your tea came out.