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Morocco, North Africa - Customs
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MOROCCAN TEA:
For Moroccans, that the ability to make tea well is considered an art form and the drinking of it with friends is one of the most important and pleasant rituals of the day. Because of the social significance implied in tea drinking, all but the poorest of families will have an elaborate tea pot, frequently made of richly engraved sterling silver, an equally elaborate tea tray, and highly ornamented glasses. Tea is almost always made in the presence of the guests so that they can admire and comment on both the beauty of the tea service and the sophisticated technique of their host as he makes and serves the tea.

The technique of pouring the tea is almost as crucial to the success of hosts as the quality of the tea they use. This becomes easier to understand when one realizes that all Moroccan tea pots have long, curved pouring spouts and this allow the tea to be poured into even the tiniest of glasses from a height of half a meter or more. Practice is definitely advised before trying this with your guests. Because Moroccans like their tea lightly flavored by herbs, only rarely is it served "neat". The most popular herbs added to tea are mint, louisa, and lemon grass.

Mastering the art of making Moroccan tea is well worth the effort it involves. To make about a liter of tea, first heat the teapot. Add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of green tea, a handful of fresh whole mint leaves with their sprigs intact, and between 150 - 180 grams of lump sugar. Swirl the liquids around and then quickly pour out the water, taking care not to lose any of the leaves or undisolved sugar. (Moroccans swear this takes the bitterness out of the tea). Add the mint and more sugar to taste and pour in about 1 liter of boiling water. Let the mixture brew for about 6 - 8 minutes and then skim off any mint that has risen to the surface and then serve in small glasses.