Known as ‘Moroccan whiskey’ because the whole country seems to be flowing with it, mint tea is the official beverage of welcome and hospitality. Spend any appreciable amount of time in any place in Morocco, be it a private home or place of business, and you will be offered a cup. It is traditionally served in small, brightly decorated glasses, and the teapots have a distinctive shape.
Once it is fully steeped and ready to be served, the tea is poured into its glass from a great height, sometimes as much as a few feet! While originally intended to give the cup of tea a frothy head, it is now a bragging right to say from how high one can pour a glass of tea. Mint tea is meant to be drunk very hot, which is why you’ll hear Moroccans sipping it so noisily!
Although the method used below, used courtesy of The Momo Cookbook, calls for the mint leaves to be steeped inside the teapot, oftentimes in Morocco the mint leaves are stuffed into the tea glasses themselves, and the plain green tea is poured over. Either way, being served a glass of ‘Moroccan whiskey’ is an experience every visitor to Morocco will have.
To experience it without leaving your own kitchen, simply follow the recipe below (for 6 servings):
Large bunch of spearmint (or your mint of choice)
1 ½ teaspoons (25 mL) of Chinese green tea
6 teaspoons (90 mL) sugar
Boil the water and rinse the teapot you plan to use. Then leave the boiling water in the teapot to warm it. Meanwhile, rinse the bunch of mint quickly under running water and shake it to remove excess water. Cut off the bottom of the stems.
Empty the teapot and put in the tea; rinse it quickly with a little boiling water and throw the water away, leaving the tea leaves. (This serves to reduce some of the bitterness of the tea leaves.) Bring more water to a boil. Twist the mint leaves and remaining stems in your hands before putting them in the teapot, as this will allow the mint flavor to spread throughout the tea.
Add the mint and the sugar and pour the boiling water into the teapot, making sure that you cover all the mint with boiling water. If not, the leaves that don’t soak will turn black with the steam and give a very bad taste to the tea. Leave to steep for 3 minutes. Don’t leave it to steep too long, or it will turn bitter.
Stir everything inside the pot with a long spoon. Pour in one glass, then return the contents of the glass to the teapot. This method allows a better mixture of the ingredients. Then pour the tea into six glasses.
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