One of the most unforgettable parts of my trip to Morocco was the numerous glasses of mint tea that I drank in the various cities that I visited. Moroccans love their green tea, flavoured with fresh spearmint, which is served at any time of day on a tray – complete in a traditional Moroccan tea pot called a berrad, and slender, cylindrical tea glasses that appear in a variety of colours and designs.
Mint tea, or “atay” (“tea”) as Moroccans refer to it, is an essential part of their culture and is a sign of hospitality. Upon our arrival at our hotel in Chefchaouen (or the Blue City), we were welcomed with a fresh pot of sweetened mint tea, which is where I fell in love with this drink. Mint tea is served everywhere in Morocco – restaurants, cafés, shops, souks, markets, riads, hotels, and locals make it in their homes every day. It is known for having many health benefits including being high in antioxidants and aiding digestion.
However, it was at our riad in Fes, where I learnt how to make this delicious drink from Yusuf, one of the staff on duty at night. All I had enquired from Yusuf was where could I find the green tea leaves used to make Moroccan mint tea and he immediately offered to take my husband and I to the riad kitchen and show us how to make a fresh pot. We watched with interest and took photos of the green tea leaves he used (it was a brand that he grew up with and told me it would be available anywhere). After learning how to make a fresh pot of mint tea, Yusuf kindly served it to my husband and I, along with Moroccan biscuits (anyone who knows me, knows that tea with anything sweet makes my day – or night!).
The next day, I purchased a small berrad for myself at the souk and a few days later in Marrakech, I managed to find the green tea leaves (although any Chinese green gunpowder tea leaves would do) that Yusuf recommended. When I got back home to South Africa, I couldn’t wait to try making it on my own. Moroccan mint tea is traditionally very sweet and this will not suit many people, so adjust the amounts of sugar according to your taste.
Although I must have two cups of ceylon tea daily, Moroccan mint tea is a welcome alternative, especially in the late afternoons/evenings when my husband and I share a cuppa. I look forward to making it during Ramadaan, especially after taraweeh prayers.