Just watching aromatic mint tea get brewed is enough to relax you. It’s also enough to inspire you to love and admire tea more than you already do, more than you may have thought possible. Moroccans respect that good tea takes time and they subscribe to the saying of “Insh Allah”, meaning that god willing, good things are sure to come with time.
Green tea is considered to be healthier than regular black tea because of the high volume of antioxidants found within it. It is thought to contribute to longer and healthier lives. The primarily provider of tea for Morocco is, and historically always has been, China. The Moroccan Trade Ministry says that Morocco imported some USD$96.1 million of green tea from China, with 30% of it coming from the Chiang province. Morocco is the main importer of Chinese tea around the world.
The method to prepare “Atay” is complex compared to the methods used elsewhere. The tea is brewed with a large amount of sugar cones or lumps – with five tea spoons of sugar for every spoon of tea – and fresh mint is included as a vital ingredient to the process.
The tea is first cleaned with boiling water and then dried. This process removes the dust from the shipping process while also making the tea taste less bitter. The tea is combined with boiling water and left to steep for a few minutes. The sugar and mint are then added and mixed together in a teapot with a long and curved spout. This spout allows for the tea to be poured into small glasses from approximately half a meter in the air to give the tea a foamy head. It will then be returned to the teapot a few times to ensure a healthy mix.
Mint tea is the national drink of Morocco. It is such an integral part of daily life that the locals jokingly refer to mint tea as “Berber whiskey”. If you were to visit a home or souk in Morocco, then it is customary for them to prepare some mint tea in honor of the visit. Another custom in Morocco is to drink three glasses of tea before or after meals. It is also drunk before businesses are closed.
Recipe for Moroccan Mint Tea
- Gather your ingredients and put the grains of green tea into the teapot
- Fill the teapot using boiling water from a separate kettle
- Let the tea steep for a minute to infuse the flavor of the green tea. This helps to purify the tea and release the spirit of the tea.
- Pour the dirty water out into a tall glass and then repeat the process at least one more time. You should notice the color of the water steadily becoming clearer as you repeat the process.
- Place the pot-bellied pot by a warm fire to warm the tea inside. Put fresh mint leaves into the pot after the tea warms up, as well as 3-4 cubes of sugar. Leave the tea for a minute to intensify the flavor.
- Finally, pour the tea into a tall glass and then back in the pot to ensure an even mix. Repeat the process 5-6 times.
Keep in mind that as the server it is your role to drink the first glass of water. You are the one who must ensure that there is an even balance of sugar and mint.
After ascertaining that the tea is indeed ready to be served, pour the tea out into the small glasses from a height to display the clean and precious stream of tea to guests. While this process of making tea does take longer than it does in the west, you’ll soon realise that the extra time results in extra flavor. No doubt you’ll never want to make tea the fast way again after trying this delicious Moroccan green tea.