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It may seem like we named this tea “Moroccan Mint” because they both start with the letter M. However, have you seen how difficult it is to spell Moroccan? Anyone who has seen me struggle to spell the name of this tea in the shop knows for a fact that I cannot do it. Were we just trying to find a word which alliterates with “mint”, we would have chosen “majestic” or something else which I can actually spell. Moroccan Mint is called Moroccan Mint because Moroccan Mint tea is actually a real thing.
For those who are unfamiliar with this refreshing green tea, it is partly tightly rolled Gunpowder Green Tea leaves, and partly bits of peppermint. The two together create something green, healthy, lightly caffeinated, and very refreshing. It’s something which I tend to drink on warm, sleepy afternoons, or when I need to wake up in the morning.
Maghrebi Mint tea is a delicacy popular in Northern Africa, and in Spain. In Africa, it tends to be served hot, while in Spain, it is served cold. This may have something to do with the fact that cold drinks are a very western idea, which are most popular in the United States, occasionally seen in Europe, and mostly absent in the rest of the world. It is typically served by the heads of households to guests, as a sign of welcoming, and somewhat impolite to refuse.
In many ways, Maghrebi Mint tea is used in Northern Africa like alcoholic drinks are in the United States and Europe. When a guest comes to your home, you serve them tea. When you want to go hang out with someone, or be sociable in an unfamiliar city, you go to tea bars, rather than to real bars. I elaborate more about this idea in this post, in the context of coffee, but using tea as a social crutch in this way seems so much more healthy than using something with a stronger physical effect, such as coffee or alcohol.
While our Moroccan Mint tea contains bits of peppermint leaves, it is more traditional to serve it with fresh mint leaves, and a great deal of sugar. The traditional tea to use is the one which we use- Gunpowder Green, used because of how easy is was to ship to Northern Africa over the course of the last few centuries, and because it has such a strong flavor. Mix some of this tea with fresh mint leaves and sugar in your own home for a more authentic experience. Traditionally, at least three glasses are served. However, the leaves tend to be left steeping in the pot, which means that they oversteep terribly. This has led to a traditional Maghrebi proverb:
The first glass is gentle as life,