Mint tea is to Moroccans as black tea is to the British. As one of the largest importers of tea worldwide, we drink it after every meal and throughout the day, and serving tea to guests is a fundamental sign of hospitality in Morocco. It’s also a show to watch – the tea is poured from as high as possible to produce a foam at the surface – a technique that takes skill!
What is referred to as mint tea or atai is actually Chinese gunpowder green tea that is steeped with mint leaves and sugar. It is served in ornately decorated glasses rather than traditional Western teacups or mugs, and Moroccan teapots are usually made of brass or silver.
The ritual of mint tea preparation involves several steps, and Moroccans take great pride in steeping the best cup of mint tea. A little bragging and friendly competition is not uncommon! After the pot has been warmed, the tea and mint leaves rinsed and steeped, and the sugar dissolved, the tea is poured from the pot into a glass, then back into the pot, about three times to perfectly distribute the sugar.Three servings of tea often come from one pot, and each serving gains a unique character from the length of time the tea and mint leaves have been steeping together.
A famous proverb on these three steeps of tea goes
The first glass is as bitter as life,
the second glass is as strong as love,
the third glass is as gentle as death.
When you visit Kous Kous, be sure to ask for a pot of mint tea to round out your meal and eat like a true Moroccan! For the more daring, we also offer The Scheherazade– hot mint tea spiked with brandy.