Moroccan Coffee: everything you need to know about it

Moroccan Coffee

Everything you need to know about how Moroccans 

like, drink and serve their coffee

Hi everyone, after quite a long time I finally got the kick and the time I really badly needed to continue this beloved blog of mine. There is so much more to write about!  This time around, I thought to share the secrets of Moroccan Coffee with you: how it’s traditionally done, what spices they use to make it taste better, how they drink it and what names are used to differentiate between coffees. In the end I will also say a few words about Moroccan Café Culture too.

The Kahwa
Kahwa is the Moroccan Arabic word that’s generally used for coffee. There is not that much of a talk about coffee when it comes to Morocco because the drink that’s considered the most traditional is definitely the Mint Tea, Therefore when the country comes to mind, it’s rather associated with this great minty drink instead of the dark refreshing drink of Turkish origin. Yet, this doesn’t mean coffee is not an integral part of the Moroccan culture. It’s being consumed in both households and in cafés and it’s made in several specific ways. First of all, let me share you the way I am used to coffee being prepared in Morocco and then let’s get on to all the rest of the ways you can spice up your life with the help of this drink which I personally love.  

Preparation of coffee in Morocco

There are many ways I could get started with this, but first of all let me tell you about the way I’ m used to the coffee over there.
The coffee is bought either already grounded or the families (usually the main woman of the house) will take care of its grounding in a grounding machine. When it comes to the quality of the coffee of course the freshly grounded is by far the best but not everyone has a grinder at home therefore coffee shops often ground the coffee and sell it right away. The coffee has a specific flavor there. Either because it’s already spiced in the coffee shop or simply because it’s roasted differently.
Either way, the coffee is traditionally done the following way: you boil water enough for 2-4 cups (depending on the number of family members) in a small to midsized pot. It shouldn’t be too small because you will put the coffee right in there making it in a sort of Turkish style. Then, when the water boils you will start to add the grinded coffee and the sugar. You can pull it off fire for the duration of this process. Generally they count one tablespoon per glass of coffee and add a tablespoon of sugar with each dose of coffee. When this process is over, you need to put it back on fire and stir it while it will boil again. Then you will either pull it off fire stir it for about a minute then put it back for it to boil again or you simply close the fire pour a little bit of cold water in it and stop with the stirring while holding on a few minutes, until the coffee has settled down. And voilà it’s done!

Adding spices to the coffee

Moroccans add the following spices to their coffee, with varying degree according to taste and the family’s taste ( don’t forget,  here everything is made for many people in the same time, so there aren’t many who live in family and still attempt to have individual orders that go against the others’).  
  • Ground cinnamon ( 1 tablespoon for the complete dose of coffee prepared)
  • Cloves ( 1 or 2 whole pieces)
  • Cardamom seeds ( grated) ¼ teaspoon per complete dose served
  • Nutmeg ( grated)  ¼ teaspoon per complete dose served
  • Black Pepper – for the more adventurous ( ¼ tsp for the whole dose of coffee prepared)

You don’t miss all these spices in one in your coffee. When you want to mix a spice with the coffee the general process is, to mix it in the grated coffee first then brew it like you do normally.

While, me I’ve always prepared coffee this way in Morocco, I know many today are more familiar with the modern lifestyle and use proper coffee machines or French press to brew their coffee, but I personally prefer the traditional way.

Nous-Nous or Coffee with Milk

Milk is commonly used with the coffee and it’s much more densely used as here in Europe. Also, because the milk is “real” its flavor is much more dominant than the milk we have over here. There is a sort of a tradition that guys or men have their coffee black and women have their coffee with milk but this is not a law in any way or form. Generally milk is poured to the whole amount of coffee prepared then it’s served to the family members and guests alike. Coffee with milk is generally called “Nous-Nous” but I have a feeling this changes per area. If you say “caffé au lait” (French for coffee with milk) that will pretty much work in any café in Morocco.


Nescafé is considered a sort of a posh and expensive thing in Morocco, therefore it’s rarely bought and when it is, it’s generally because of a guest the family has from another country. When Nescafé is prepared it’s generally served with plenty of milk and sugar and this adds a very distinctive, Moroccan taste to the whole mix. Some also use a pinch of grated cinnamon or cardamom in Nescafé to make it more coffee-like.

Interesting facts about Moroccan Coffee

Did you know?  It is considered rude and impolite to ask any additional substance (milk, sugar) in your coffee. You will drink it how it’s served for you.

Did you know? An interesting addition to the sweetening is, that when there is a celebration for the birth of a baby, a circumcision or a wedding, then coffee is traditional served as sweet for everyone. When however there is mourning, the coffee is served sour for everyone.

The ritual of serving coffee

Coffee is traditionally served by the heading woman of the family (the Mother generally).  It is served similarly to the tea on a larger tray. The cups are traditional small coffee cups (Finjal) , looking similar to the cups they use for serving coffee in Europe, they are not like the tea cups.  It is also the Mother who will pour coffee for everyone. Use the word “Shokran” meaning thank you when you get your coffee. The first who gets the cups are always the guests. It is wise to wait for everyone to have their coffee before starting to drink it. Say “fi sehtuk” (to a male) or “fi sehtik” (to a female) saying “cheers” or “Here’s to you” literally meaning “To your health”. I will enlist all these expressions at the end of the whole article.  
It is important to NOT play with your coffee cup if you wouldn’t like more coffee, because according to Arab tradition, if a guest holds his/her glass or cup this will automatically result in them getting more coffee/tea. The moderate “no, thank you” in case you wouldn’t like more coffee is if you give a shaking movement to your cup. In words they also use “Baraka, shokran” expression when not wanting anything more of food or drink.

Café Culture in Morocco

When it comes to sitting in a café and you are a female, it will quickly occur to you, that those sitting at the balconies of gardens of cafeterias are all male. Indeed this is a male privilege. Males love to sit with their coffee sometimes talking for long hours, which is a tradition one also gets to see with all the Mediterranean and Greek cultures. Women are not considered to do that (and most often than not, women cater the kids, cook, clean most often than not doing all these while hanging out with other females of the family) they will rather have their coffee privately with the other females. In big cities however there are several family pastry shops which are also considered cafeterias for the women and kids or for a whole family.
Expert advice:
If you are a female tourist visiting Morocco with a fellow female friend, I highly advise you not to sit in any café where you only see males or where you do not see cookies/cakes or other fellow women and kids. If you do, you will be considered sort of a “free-for-all” or a woman with loose morals.

The End
And we have come to the end of this episode. I do have so many plans and so many great recipes, cultural and culinary related knowledge to share with you. If you like this blog please subscribe for more! I’m very happy to have this chance to share all what I know with you. Please comment, ask me, give this blog a like and share it with your friends!
Thank you!!

Short dictionary:
Kahwa:            Coffee
Nous-Nous:      Coffee with milk (latte) alternatively caffé au lait can also be used.
Shokran:          Thank you
Lah, shokran:   No, thank you
Baraka, shokran:         enough, thank you

Special thanks:
As always I’d like to thank you to some fellow bloggers and other resources who help me and inspire me with my articles: please give them a follow  - learn how to prepare Nous-Nous  - the best cornucopia on Moroccan coffee making and other great recipes
Morocco Travel Exploration  - read some more about Moroccan coffee and its origins and much more.

Visit my own main travel blog for all things Moroccan:


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