Moroccan mint tea is one of the many rites and traditions that surround tea. Although its history is quite recent, this recipe has been exported to many countries thanks to its refreshing virtues and its unique taste, which appeals to tea lovers.
Mint tea is everywhere and all the time in Morocco. This could suggest that this drink is ancestral, straight from the dawn of time. And yet this is not the case. Today, no one can take a step without meeting men seated at the terrace of a cafe and sipping delicious golden and very fragrant tea, no one can try to buy a product of local crafts without sacrificing the tea ceremony. Family reunions cannot be done without it, bivouacs in the desert either, everyone consumes this drink throughout the territory. In addition, it is the emblematic representation of the art of welcome, a strong reality in Morocco.
How, in this case, not to think that this habit was born for centuries and that tea is now inscribed in the genes of everyone!
Contrary to popular belief, the history of Moroccan mint tea is actually quite recent. It began in the 19th century during the Crimean War. Discovered by an Arab merchant in China in the 9th century, all the while in Morocco, herbal teas are consumed, fresh mint or absinthe. Deprived of the Slavic ports, the English, who then took control of the tea trade in Europe, they did not know what to do with their stock of green tea, so they thought that the Maghreb is a possible market and by Mogador and Tangier, they poured out this dried plant in profusion opening trading posts in both cities.
Accustomed to consuming infusions based on decoctions of mint leaves called “Nanah”, Moroccans discovered Gunpowder green tea, nicknamed “Chinese pearls”. They therefore naturally decide to combine these two exceptional ingredients. Very refreshing, it allows the nomadic people of the Sahara, the most famous of them, the Tuareg, to survive the extreme conditions of this region of the world. Very naturally, the population has made it a compulsory crossing point, a ceremonial which brings people together in joy and strongly underlines the happiness of welcoming and offering a benefit.
Since then, all around this phenomenon, a craft industry, teapot, glass, tray, portable burners, tea strainer, hammer (to break the sugar) and other utensils is developing. It is not conceivable to speak, even 5 minutes, without a delicious tea appearing. It is neither elegant nor conceivable to refuse it.
Mint tea is offered and tasted as a sign of hospitality, according to a Tuareg proverb, “it takes three conditions to make tea: time, embers and friends”. Mint tea is perfect for finishing a meal but it is also drunk throughout the day. Traditionally, mint tea is prepared in a typical Moroccan teapot, and is served from very high which allows it to oxygenate and reveal all its aromas. The presence of foam on the surface of the tea, also called the “turban”, testifies to the success of the infusion. The tea is served three times without changing the leaves. The aromas and the aspect of the infusion therefore evolve over the tastings. An Arabic proverb describes these three infusions:
- The first drink is bitter like life
- The second is as sweet as love
- The third is as soothing as death
To prepare a mint tea according to the traditional Moroccan method, you will need:
- 2 tablespoons Gunpowder Chinese green tea
- Organic mint leaves called “Nanah” from Morocco
- Sugar ( A lot of it ! )
Put the green tea at the bottom of the teapot. After bringing the water to a boil, pour a small amount of water on the leaves to wash them, then discard this first water. Wash the mint, crumple it and add it to the teapot with the sugar (you have to taste to judge the amount of sugar to your taste). Pour a small amount of the infusion into a glass and put it back in the teapot to mix the sugar. Taste, and it’s up to you to judge when the infusion is ready. You have to taste the hot tea.