Friday, January 1, 2010

Drinks Around the World: Green Mint Tea (Morocco)

At the start of every month, Travel Wonders highlights a special drink from my travels around the world. Mint Tea is a cultural tradition in Morocco served both with meals and to welcome guests. Travelling through the Saharan country several years ago, I practically lived on mint tea drinking several glasses per day. It was strangely invigorating in the humid sticky weather and gave a comforting break from the hectic roaming, sales pressure and harassment in the overcrowded souks. When discussing a sale of a larger item such as a carpet or artwork, mint tea is often served before the rounds of vigourous bartering commence. A refusal is considered disrespectful, tea being so culturally significant in Moroccan hospitality.

To make Moroccan mint tea, start by adding boiling water to a strong green tea (gunpowder tea is preferred). Swirl around the pot and after a minute or so, pour out all the water to wash the tea. Add a handful of spearmint leaves and a generous scoop of sugar (the Moroccans drink their tea extremely sweet) to the pot and fill the pot with boiling water. Leave to steep for several minutes. Pour into simple small glasses, often with a mint leaf or two in the bottom.

Tradition states that there should be enough in the pot for at least three glasses of this sweet tasty liquid. In any case, the hosts continue to fill your glass of the syrupy refreshing tea with exaggerated extravagent technique, lifting the pot high above the glass but with no spillage. The Moroccans claim that over the three glasses, the flavour changes over time as the tea steeps in the pot. One favourite local saying to describe change is:

The first glass is as bitter as life,
the second glass is as strong as love,
the third glass is as gentle as death.


Photo: Source

12 comments:

Donna Hull said...

Thanks for the introduction to Green Mint Tea. I hope to taste it for myself one day on a visit to Morocco.

Sherry Ott said...

Every time I smell mint I'm transported back to Morocco! However, I think I need a lot of practice to master their complicated pouring technique! When you went did they also pour the first glass and then pour it out?

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

Mmmm... sounds like it could be something to taste when we go to Morocco some day :-)

Sorry that we stopped with the drink meme - too few participated unfortunately.

Heather on her travels said...

It's great that tea or other drinks around the world provide a little peep into the culture of that country.

transfer smart said...

Thanks for introducing this green mint tea. Hope this could really give us more pleasure testing the tea that you introduces. Hope it really capture my taste.

Anil said...

I love mint tea but without the sugar. Too bad the only way to get that is to make your own.

One of my favorite parts of the Arab world is the tea culture. A drink that's as much for the conversation as it is for the tea itself.

transfer smart said...

It is really great that the wine or the tea and some other drinks around the world provide a little background into the culture of that country.

uberoom said...

Headed to Morocco in April - can't wait to become an expert!

Liv said...

Lovely post! I'm tea-mad, always looking for more recipes. Thanks you!

Wanderluster said...

I had the most amazing Moroccan tea at a spa in Vancouver. They blended their own but didn't sell it! It was the best.

This brought back my memory of that. I'll have to try your recipe and see if I can recreate it!

Traveler said...

Green Mint Tea is also very popular drink in countries of Balkan Peninsula: Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, etc.

Mark H said...

@traveler: I never knew that. I'd have thought they'd be more coffee countries.

 
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