Mint Tea

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Mint Tea

Maghrebi mint tea, also known as Moroccan, Touareg and Sahrawi mint tea, is a green tea prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar, traditional to the Greater Maghreb region (the northwest African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania).

It has since spread throughout North Africa, parts of the Sahel, France and the Arab world. It is most closely associated with Morocco and in Spanish is known simply as “Moroccan tea”, té moruno. A similar drink is prepared in Spain but is typically served chilled as iced tea in the summer, instead of hot year-round. As a combination of imported ingredients (tea from China and originally imported sugar) and a local ingredient (fresh mint), it is an early example of globalization in cuisine.

Mint tea is central to social life in the Maghreb. The serving can take a ceremonial form, especially when prepared for a guest. The tea is traditionally made by the head male in the family and offered to guests as a sign of hospitality. Typically, at least three glasses of tea are served, and it is considered impolite to refuse it.

History

Historians differ as to when they think tea was introduced to Moroccan culture. Although some say it may have been as early as the 12th century, others claim that it was only as recently as the 18th century. If the latter is correct, Moroccans were quick to embrace tea drinking as a norm of their own, resulting in Morocco’s current standing as one of the top importers of tea worldwide.

How to make one yourself

A simple and practical way to prepare a Mint Tea...

1. In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with a half litre of boiling water. Allow it to steep for at least 15 minutes.
2. Without stirring, filter the mixture into a stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
3. Add sugar (about one teaspoon per 100 millilitres).
4. Bring to boil over a medium heat (this helps the sugar dissolve).
5. Fresh mint leaves can be added to the teapot, or directly to the cup.