How to Make Moroccan Mint Tea

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[Photos: Liz Clayton]

Cooling down by surrounding yourself with green is a perfect summer antidote. Fresh, reviving Moroccan mint tea can be prepared to drink throughout the day, and tastes just swell over ice. And though many tea purveyors actually sell pre-blended "Moroccan Mint", nothing beats the taste of fresh-picked mint and decent tea that you made yourself (or can get someone to make for you.)

Tea reached Moroccan shores via European traders in the 18th century, where it gained a foothold specifically in the form of Gunpowder Green tea from China, an assertive-tasting green that holds up well against even the strong flavors of mint.

The minted-and-sweetened preparation became a national emblem: as both a drink of ritual and hospitality, Moroccan mint tea is truly part of the Moroccan everyday. (Guides will even warn you repeatedly that it is considered offensive to your host to accept any fewer than two cups.)

Though preparation is not difficult, it has its ritual nuance. A skilled pouring technique is emphasized (and can be enhanced by use of Moroccan tea kettles and practice at pouring from a height) in order to promote the tea's characteristic foaminess. The sweetener used can be honey or a simple syrup, can be adjusted to the brewer's taste. Get started—it won't take but a minute.

Instructions and Tips

Water:
Bring two cups good quality water (filtered, but not distilled) to a boil. You'll be filtering the leaves out later, so a sauce pot will be fine and will help allow your tea plenty of room to unfurl. Cut the heat and allow water to simmer.

Tea:
Rinse 1 tablespoon of Gunpowder Green tea pellets and add to simmering water.

Mint:
Add a handful of freshly picked mint leaves. Spearmint works well!

Sweetener:
The least precise and most taste-based of the constituent ingredients. Start with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Simmer the tea, mint leaf, and sugar mixture for 5 minutes, or to preferred strength. Pour mixture through a fine-meshed strainer or sieve to remove the biggest leaves, and make sure the sweetness level is to your liking.

Serve by pouring into preheated cups from a high distance—try a foot—to create that characteristic frothy top Moroccan Mint tea is known for. (To create a foamier tea experience, you may also pour the water in and out of the pot a few times before serving to your guests.) Feel free to get in the mood and go ornate with your teaware, but keep in mind Moroccan teacups are traditionally small, necessitating repeated servings and prolonging the social aspect of the tea tradition.

About the author: Liz Clayton drinks, photographs and writes about coffee and tea all over the world, though she pretends to live in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently compiling photographs of the best coffee in the world to be published by Presspop later this year.

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