Moroccans and their Tea

by Andrew Stein

Tea has become an unplanned theme of my trip, so I might as well continue to weave this theme into my Moroccan experience. Requesting tea in Morocco always means requesting sweet mint tea, and labeling this tea sweet is an understatement. Sugar is easily the primary ingredient, but having the sweet tooth that I do, I never refuse a refill. Staying in the Riad de Amour in the Old Medina of Marrakech, Adam and I are offered tea one evening, and I use the opportunity to learn the intricacies of sweet mint tea preparation.

Predictably, the process begins by boiling water. A small amount of green tea is the steeped in a little tea pot. Meanwhile, mint leaves are crushed and washed. The steeped tea from the small pot is stylistically poured into a cup from an unnecessary height before returning it back to the small pot. The other rational reason I can produce is that a cooling process aids in something. Afterwards, the mint leaves are added into the small pot along with more boiling water to fill the pot to the top. The most critical ingredient ingredient, sugar, is then added by the cube full. In a pot that may have held about 200 to 300 ml, about 10 sizable sugar cubes are added. The small pot is then placed on the stove until the water comes to a simmer and threatens to spill over. After a little more fancy height pouring, some tasting, and adding more sugar, the tea is ready to be served. But just in case the tea is not sweet enough, it is served with more sugar alongside. My question, however, is given that the sugar can no longer stay in solution at the present moment, how is adding sugar going to do anything except to contribute to the bottom sugar collection.

The strong religious, Islamic culture in Morocco results in limited availability of alcohol. After all, one cannot drink alcohol while in eyesight of a mosque, and the country is not short on mosques. One evening, Adam and I try to find a local beer, and everyone we ask in the Marrakech Old Medina points us to Gueliz. The vagueness that is Guilez was a bit frustrating because it only signifies the new area of Marrakech, and we ask the cab to take us there, we end up in front of a McDonald’s. We complain and say we want to go to an area with bars, and we are soon dropped off at a building with the word “Bar” inscribed in bright red lights at the top, where we eventually find a Casablanca brew. More typically, in the evening, instead of seeing a group huddled around a bar, many locals relax at a cafe, sip tea and cafe noir. At the end of meals, tea is served. When negotiating in a rug shop, tea is present. After entering a home, tea is offered. When planning our southern Morocco excursion, we all sip tea. Tea is ubiquitous, delicious, the beverage of choice here in Morocco.

Moroccan Tea