Are you looking for a tea to serve at your next gathering that will wow the socks off of everyone? Stick to the traditional way of preparing and serving this, and your event will be the talk of the town if you bring up Moroccan mint tea.
What Is Moroccan Mint Tea?
A traditional Moroccan Mint tea is made with Gunpowder green tea infused with fresh sprigs of mint and a lot of sugar. The fresh mint comes from Mentha spicata (also known as “nana mint.”) When visiting the country of Morocco, no matter where you go, you’ll be met with offers of a cup of this very sweet minty beverage.
Mint Tea Culture In Morocco
Morocco is a small country poised on the northernmost tip of Africa, just below Gibraltar. Marrakesh and Casablanca put the country on the map because of the classic black-and-white movie “Casablanca” and Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s song “Marrakesh Express,” which references the famous train that travels across the country.
Morocco is exotic and reminiscent of spice markets and beautiful, hand-made textiles. When going into any cafe, restaurant, hotel, someone’s home, or business, you will encounter a strong sense of hospitality from Moroccans. Cups of mint tea are always served as an act of kindness.
To turn away an offer of a cup of this tea is considered an insult. In Morocco, mint tea is at the heart of any event or gathering.
We were highly intrigued to discover that Moroccan Mint tea is served by the patriarch of a family. Very few women prepare and serve this tea in Morocco. The art of making mint tea is something men have valued because it is something handed down by their ancestors. Every step of making mint tea is something they will teach the younger male generation within their family.
Sitting down to have tea is a sacred time of togetherness and an intentional break to commune and relax. Beautiful teaware is used, and every movement that goes into preparing, brewing, and serving the mint tea is an art form. The male figure in charge of the tea will first wash his hands in water infused with orange blossoms. Some type of incense wafts through the air as instrumental Arabic music quietly plays.
A Moroccan Tea Ritual
The teapot is bathed in hot water, and the water is discarded. Loose-leaf Gunpowder is placed into the teapot. Hot water is poured into the teapot to wet the tea leaves and gets discarded. Next, boiling water is poured into the teapot over the wet tea leaves and allowed to steep. The tea server pours the tea into one of several teacups.
Fresh nana mint is stuffed into the teapot along with sugar. The tea that was poured into the teacups now gets poured back into the teapot. This pouring of tea into the teacups and back into the teapot is repeated three times. This repetition cools the tea down while mixing the sugar into the tea and bringing out the full flavors of the mint and the Gunpowder green tea.
Moroccan Mint tea isn’t served once, but three times. The first glass of this tea is symbolic of the bitterness life doles out at times. The second glass symbolizes the strength of love, and the third glass is symbolic of how gentle death is. When attending or being offered tea, one should always consume all three cups of tea to avoid offending the host and the tea ritual itself.
What Is Moroccan Mint Tea Made Of?
Moroccan Mint tea isn’t made with just any mint, but nana mint (Mentha spicata.) This particular mint species is used in the food and beverage industry. Unfortunately, there are numerous online sites that mention “peppermint” as the mint ingredient of Moroccan Mint tea. This is simply not true.
Is Moroccan Mint The Same as Peppermint?
The mint plant species used for Moroccan Mint tea comes from Mentha spicata (spearmint.) Peppermint comes from Mentha piperita (a hybrid of Mentha spicata and Mentha aquatica.) So, when asking, “What kind of mint is used in Moroccan Mint tea?” you’ll know it’s spearmint (Mentha spicata,) not peppermint (Mentha piperita.)
Does Moroccan Mint Tea Have Caffeine?
Because this tea is made with green tea (Gunpowder,) it can have up to 40 mg of caffeine in a six-ounce cup. The daily recommended allowance of caffeine is no more than 400 mg (per the Food and Drug Administration). So keep that figure in mind to avoid jitters.
Is It Okay To Drink Moroccan Mint Green Tea Every Day?
We don’t have the medical expertise to say whether or not any tea is safe to consume daily. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider about drinking tea, especially if any of the following applies to you:
- Existing medical conditions
- Taking medication
- Undergoing chemotherapy or radiation
- Pregnant or nursing
- Sensitive to caffeine or herbal plants
Moroccan Mint Tea Benefits
You’d be surprised at the added benefits Moroccan Mint tea provides in addition to its crisp, cooling flavor!
Carvone and limonene are two compounds in spearmint (Mentha spicata) that play a beneficial role for tea drinkers. Carvone helps digestive issues (mentioned further down below.) The amount of carvone in spearmint varies according to when it’s harvested. Summer harvest yields higher carvone containing spearmint.
Limonene is the other compound of particular significance in spearmint. It is responsible for the menthol aroma the tea produces. This aroma is detected by our brains which send signals to release hormones that promote our sense of well-being. Ironically, limonene levels are at their highest during the winter harvest.
What Is Moroccan Mint Tea Good For?
According to “Clinical Aromatherapy, Third Edition,” spearmint (Mentha spicata) helps reduce bouts of nausea and vomiting. By inhaling mint’s aroma, the brain releases signals that activate serotonin, endorphins, and noradrenalin. These hormones cause us to relax as a sense of calm settles us mentally and physically.
A published article entitled “Spices and Flavoring Crops: Uses and Health Effects” mentions how mint (Mentha spicata) helps our bodies to process fats better. This is a significant benefit, especially if you happen to have digestive disorders such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, constipation, and more.
The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) lists the nutrients found in spearmint that include a few below:
- Calcium 243 mg
- Iron 5.08 mg
- Phosphorous 73 mg
- Potassium 569 mg
- Phosphorous 73 mg
- Zinc 1.11 mg
- Vitamin C 31.8 mg
- Folate 114 ug
- Thiamin 0.082 mg
- Riboflavin 0.266 mg
- Niacin 1.71 mg
- Vitamin B6 0.129 ug
Can Moroccan Mint Tea Be Bad For You?
Moroccan Mint (Mentha spicata) is safe to consume (5,000 mg or less.) The Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research stipulates that the 5,000 mg acute dosage is rarely reached through human consumption. Other online sites list “mint” as being slightly toxic or poisonous. However, mint plants that may cause any type of “upset” in humans do not include Moroccan mint (nana mint, Mentha spicata.)
How To Make Moroccan Mint Tea
Are you itching to make yourself a nice cup of this tea? We have a simple Moroccan Mint tea recipe for you to try. In keeping with Moroccan tradition, you should have the three cups mentioned earlier above.
Ingredients and Things You’ll Need
- 4 cups of water
- 4 teaspoons of loose-leaf Gunpowder green tea
- Fresh sprigs of spearmint (Mentha spicata) or 3 teaspoons of dried spearmint (Mentha spicata)
- 6 cubes of sugar
- 3 teacups
- Tea strainer
Tip: For an authentic Moroccan experience, try using Moroccan teacups. These teacups are beautiful, ornate, and come in vibrant colors synonymous with Moroccan culture.
- Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Remove from the heat.
- Pour 1 cup of the hot water into your teapot to thoroughly bathe the teapot’s interior and discard.
- Place the loose-leaf Gunpowder tea into the teapot.
- Pour the remaining 3 cups of hot water into the teapot.
- Cover and allow the tea to steep for 3 minutes
- Fill each of the 3 teacups ¼ full of the steeped tea.
- Stuff the fresh spearmint into the teapot (or add the dried spearmint.)
- Add the sugar cubes.
- Take the 3 teacups partially filled with tea and pour the tea back into the teapot.
- Repeat steps 7 and 10 two more times.
- Fill each of the 3 teacups with the tea and enjoy!
Pouring Tip: The Moroccan way of pouring tea is to begin low and end up high. Good luck hitting the teacup!
Pairing Tip: Moroccan Mint tea goes well with couscous, curry, and roast lamb.
A Must-Try Moroccan Tea
When you are looking for a tea to serve at a dinner party or a small intimate gathering, put your skills to the test with a Moroccan Mint tea ritual. Create the perfect environment with incense and put some light music on to fit the occasion. Lastly, you don’t have to be a patriarch to be the tea host!