Morocco’s trademark drink: the Mint Tea

The Mint Tea

  Mint tea guide

Introduction to Moroccan Mint tea along with its consuming traditions, recipe and beneficial effects

The Mint Tea

No Moroccan cultural introduction would be whole without the mentioning of the country’s trademark drink: the Mint Tea, which is basically a shortened version for Peppermint – leaves tea. In Morocco, it is a drink which is as social as a drink can possibly be: it’s being consumed by just everyone regardless of age, sex or social status. You can get to buy fresh mint everywhere in Morocco for a considerably low price and there is no family which doesn’t get their fresh daily portion of mint leaves on a daily basis. In this piece I would like to introduce you to the history of mint tea, the beneficial effects of the plant itself and also say a few words about the tea’s traditional preparation in Morocco.

The legend and brief history of mint:

The name mint derives from the name of the Greek Minthe, an ancient mythological character who is said to be a river nymph with whom Hades, the god of the Greek underworld has started an extramarital relationship. When the wife of Hades realized this, she imprecated Minthe to become a plant. Hades couldn’t break the spell, so the only thing he added as an extra is a beautiful smell, so that he can always smell her out even in form of a plant.

Mint, as a plant has been widely used also in Europe since the Greek times, however Europeans didn’t drink mint in form of a tea for a very long time. Peppermint and spearmint were generally used for cleaning, as an addition to bathing water or as a mouth refresher at maximum. It’s only from the medieval times, when Catholic monks, who did research on a large variety of herbs ( as there were only holistic healing methods back in the day) have found out that mint leaves also have healing effects, if they are consumed the right way.

Mint tea and its history in the Middle East

Mint is plant which specifically likes hot climate and therefore spearmint and peppermint leaves have been used in Northern Africa and in the Middle East since around 1000 BC. The first dried leaves were found in Egypt’s pyramids, therefore we know that the plant’s refreshing and beneficial effects were well known and used also in the Ancient Egypt. The tea made from mint, particularly peppermint has become a drink pretty specific to the Middle Eastern region and from there – on, it went to North Africa, along with the conquering armies of Arabs who ruled the area of Morocco since around 670 AD. The consuming of mint tea – with a high content of menthol which has universal refreshing effects – in hot climates such as Africa or Middle East is extremely useful. Also, mint tea has no caffeine content which is certainly an extra and makes this drink even more popular, as this way children and all those sensitive to caffeine can also drink it.

The Moroccan Mint tea:

First of all, let’s get one thing clear: mint tea is different from Moroccan Mint Tea. Not only for the ways of preparation but for the fact that Moroccans also use have an extra amount of green tea and this made the base of the whole drink.

The iconic drink of Morocco, the peppermint tea is the most popular of all drinks. Encompassing the refreshing qualities of peppermint with the qualities of green tea, peppermint tea, even if you drink it hot, will surely leave you feel refreshed. Moroccan mint tea is served in a very peculiar way: pouring the tea in the relatively small glasses from further up: in fact this is a way of art for the flavors to reach the perfect mix: also who wouldn’t like to be able to have such a great skill?

The serving and the consuming traditions of mint tea in Morocco

This is the traditional way of serving mint tea in Morocco

Moroccan tea is traditionally consumed for breakfast and for afternoon small- meals. It is also a crucial drink for the Iftar (the period when one can break the fast starting from the latter evening hours and ending in the early morning hours ).

Tea is a traditional drink for all special occasions which also includes receiving guests: no matter how long they plan to stay.  It is important if you are a guest never to pour yourself to your own glass: always wait for your host to offer to pour your drink. This is a habit which is general in all Middle Eastern and North-African to African Islamic countries.

Moroccan tea is always served in a nice traditional tea – pot, which vary in size, but generally should hold a quantity enough for 10-12 glasses of tea. There is literally no Moroccan family without a nice, chiseled tea – kit, for receiving guests or for other celebrations and they also have a home tea – kit which is less decorated an used within the family circle.

The Moroccan way of preparation of the mint tea:

Tea drinking is highly cultivated in Morocco and so is the art of making traditional tea glasses 

The recipe of mint tea is pretty straightforward: what you need is quality strong green tea (gunpowder is one type that’s widely used) lots of fresh mint leaves and sugar. After making the black tea, you put as many mint leaves in it as you can hold with one hand and leave them soak in the hot water for a couple of minutes before serving. People also put the sugar in the tea straightaway and then serve the sweet, hot liquid in traditional tea – glasses, out of which there are thousands of different types sold in Morocco. 

A common recipe to Moroccan mint tea:

·         1/2 liter (about 2 cups) of boiling water
·         1 tsp of gunpowder green tea leaves
·         1 large handful of pre-washed fresh peppermint leaves
·         3 to 4 tsp of sugar


v  Boil about 1l of water and wait until its boiling well.
v  Pour a small quantity of the boiling water in the teapot and gently swirl it, for the pot to take in the temperature change gently then pour that water out of it. This is just for the cleaning not for the tea itself.
v  Add the green tea (see above for quantity) in the pot, then pour a bit more of the boiling water over it. Allow the tea to soak for a good 2-3 minutes, then swirl the pot to rinse the leaves and pour out the water.
v  Add the mint leaves and the sugar, and fill the pot with 1/2 liter more (about 2 cups) of the boiling water.
v  Let the tea take in the flavor of the peppermint for one or two minutes before serving.
v  Pour the tea from the teapot straight to the glasses. Remember, the higher you pour, the best blend you will reach ( but take care because the tea in this stage is still pretty hot)

v  Serve the mint tea with a few spare mint leaves on the tray for everyone who would like to put some extra in their glass

The beneficial effects of peppermint:

A bouquet of fresh mint :exactly as you buy it in the souk:
you need to pick the leaves from the stem and give them a good wash before use
Peppermint is used for holistic healing for a very long time, due to its high amount of menthol content the healing effects of which are used as a cure or prevention for the following:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Bad mouth odor
  • muscle pains
  • digestion related illnesses
  • heartburn
  • bronchitis, cold and other respiration related illnesses
  • external use:  soothes skin burns and other irritations

I hope you all like this piece and I hope I could give you a good detailed information on why Moroccan Mint tea is special and why it's good to consume it. 

Mint tea in traditional glass


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