Makes 2 cups
Time: 7 minutes
Morocco had its first taste of tea in the 1700ds, but it wasn’t until the mid 1800ds that gunpowder tea came to the mountains and deserts of the Maghreb region (including the Atlas Mountains, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia).
When local folks boiled the gunpowder, an everyday Chinese green tea, with imported sugar and a fresh, local spearmint cultivar called Nana, a legendary tea was born.
“Berber Whiskey”, as it is sometimes called, has since become as much a part of the culture in Northern Africa as in North America. You can no more walk through a souk in Marrakesh without bumping into a mint tea stand as you can walk though an grocery store in the United States without coming across a box of Moroccan Mint tea.
Drunk from sun up until late into the evening, it is a symbol of hospitality and friendship. It brings together family and friends, new and old, offering respite from the dry desert heat. Similarly, I drink it for a fragrant, intoxicating afternoon escape.
A Moroccan Proverb
The first glass is as bitter as life,
The second glass is as strong as love.
The third glass is as gentle as death.
You will need:
- 1 cup of water
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of Moroccan Jasmine Mint*
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh mint (6-12 leaves)
*This recipe was created using Firepot Nomadic Tea’s Moroccan Jasmine Mint. It uses a high grade Fujian jasmine green tea which is smoother and sweeter than a gunpowder and adds a heady, fragrant aroma to the sweet, minty tea.
Put all ingredients together into a pot
Bring the pot to a boil (the astringency from steeping tea with such hot water is balanced by the sugar and provides a welcome, refreshing “pull” in the cup.)
Remove from heat, stir and allow to steep for 5 minutes
Pour one cup of tea into a tea glass
Now, pour the tea back into the pot. Traditionally, this is the custom. This pouring from cup to pot and back is done over and over again. It helps to: a) dissolve the sugar b) blend the tea in the pot so that it is of uniform strength c) cool the tea to drinking temperature.
Alternatively, you can just stir the pot, but there is a certain panache that comes with the pouring!
Finally, pour the tea into the glass cups—from as high as possible. You want to create foamy bubbles on the surface of the tea. One trick is to start low and then raise the pot until it is a few feet from the glass.
Repeat…This tea can be mind altering. You will want to drink it all afternoon and forget about anything else.