For the people of Morocco, this tea is more than just a drink, their whole social network seems to revolve around it. I guess it’s pretty similar to us meeting a friend for a pint at our local. Many Moroccans will sit out until the early hours of the morning talking over a tea at the numerous cafes dotted around the city.
This tea is traditional to North African countries but has since spread further around the globe due to its popularity and moorish sweet taste. It is traditionally prepared with spearmint leaves, hot water and sugar.
The drinking of tea can also take a ceremonial form, when large parties or ceremonies are held, it is a great honor to be chosen as the ‘Tea maker’ it shows you have power, strength and that you are respected amongst your peers, therefore it is usually prepared by the head of the house. Preparing a bad tea can instantly lose you respect.
We took a hike in the Atlas Mountains as part of a guided group, which I will review in a later post where our guide served us tea numerous times throughout the day. He always poured it twice and held the tea pot high up, he told us that it is poured twice to make it as strong as love and held high to create bubbles, the more bubbles the better the tea!
He also told us a story about his grandfather in which he was asked to make tea for a large ceremony, his grandfather was incredibly nervous with it being such a great honor within the community and realized he had forgotten to add the sugar to the tea. It was too late to start again or pour the contents back into the teapot as people were watching and waiting for their drink. Instead of admitting defeat, he thought on his feet and told his fellow peers ‘Whoever has the cup of tea without sugar is a liar’. The first person drank theirs and said it was lovely and sweet, followed by the second and so on. NOBODY admitted to the lack of sugar in their tea! Apart from them all being liars, our guides grandfather managed to save face!
Maghrebi Mint Tea is poured 3 times, the length of time the tea has been brewing has a large effect on the flavor. The first cup is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love and the third is as bitter as death itself. Refusing tea can be seen as rude and disrespectful.
When we arrived at our hotel, Darsor, we were greeted with tea and biscuits. We sat and talked for a while and then we were shown around the hotel and given a map to help us on our way, I have to say it was one of the nicest welcomes I’ve ever received. Especially after being awake since 3am travelling!
So please, my friends and fellow bloggers, let me know when you fancy popping round for a cuppa!