The ritual of mint tea in Morocco
The ritual of mint tea in Morocco is a tradition that is not even 150 years old.
After the Crimean War, in 1856, no longer able to sell tea from China to Slavic countries, the English undertook to offer it to Moroccans in Tangier. Those appreciated it in a clever mix with the ancestral. The mint infusion then went around the Arab world. The art of tea is almost as ceremonial as the Japanese. Traditionally, three glasses of boiling, very sweet tea are swallowed one after the other. We, therefore, drink three glasses of tea, the first light and burning without mint, the second stronger containing mint, and the third very strong where the mint is replaced by absinthe. This requires a copper tray and tea equipment (small glasses, a tea box, a sugar box, something to break the sugar loaf, a kettle), shiny and sumptuous often covered with a towel or a veil of gas. There are two ways to prepare the tea: Mauritanian and Moroccan.
In Morocco, tea with mint is lighter than in Mauritania. The glasses are larger and often decorated with golden calligraphy. The teapot is larger in size, preferably in metal and when possible in finely chiseled silver. The host lays down a strong pinch of Chinese green tea which he quickly puts in boiling water to remove the bitterness. We add a handful of fresh mint, and a large piece of sugarloaf broken with a copper hammer, above the teapot. Afterward, we cover everything with boiling water and wrap the container with a warm towel or blanket. then the master of the house tastes the tea, then he serves it by simultaneously using two teapots to fill the glasses by pouring the beverage from a very high point. Any occasion is good for making tea during the day. After a meal, it’s time for chatting and well-being. It is the finest expression of Arab hospitality.
Refusing a glass of mint tea is not a good idea, it’s even an offense! The guests have the duty to taste the tea by holding the glass upwards and by inhaling the tea and the air… The noise which accompanies is in no way frowned upon.