On Moroccan Tea

Camille Smith
May 4, 2016

Teatime in Morocco is truly a special tradition. It’s become such a part of my life; I decided that I couldn’t go without devoting an entire post to it.

Moroccans LOVE their tea. We usually attribute tea drinking with the British, but actually Morocco comes in second for highest tea consumption per capita (Turkey is first, Britain came fifth.) Moroccans serve tea with breakfast, sometimes at lunch, the most during early evening teatime (obviously), and even after dinner. When you’re invited into someone’s home you’re almost immediately served tea. When you pass a café full of Moroccans they’re all sitting around drinking… you guessed it—TEA!

What makes Moroccan tea so different than the stuff we drink in the United States? Well, first of all, the concept of unsweetened, iced tea would be considered an outright insult here. Moroccans prepare their tea boiling hot and full of sugar. I’ll admit, at first this concept disgusted me. I like my tea black and unsweetened. I had no idea how I was going to tolerate this sugary mess for 4 months, because it truly is unavoidable.

Also, there’s no Lipton or Tazo tea bags like we’re used to. Moroccan tea is made simply by scooping the loose dried tea, along with mint, sugar cubes, and hot water into a teapot that filters the leaves out. And though Moroccans drink their tea frequently, they don’t drink it in giant mugs like we do. Moroccans drink their tea from tiny glasses, a little bigger than the size of a large shot glass, which explains why they can drink it all day long.

The first few times I had tea, I noticed our servers would always pour from a ridiculous height. At first I thought it was just for show, since we were new guests, but when I noticed even my host family did it, so I asked why. “The higher you pour, the more welcoming you are to the guests. Also it’s better with bubbles” – rough translation of the explanation I got. So there you have it.

I can always count on my host mother having tea prepared for me when I come home from school along with the best part about tea time itself: the snacks! Depending on the day we have some sort of array of meloui, coffee cake, croissants, cookies, and nuts and with a spread of cheese, honey, and jam. I had to learn to pace myself so I wasn’t always spoiling my appetite a few hours before dinner!

So, after having Moroccan tea almost all day every day for the past 3 1/2 months, it surely has grown on me. I tried to resist at first, asking for it unsweetened. I soon realized that it was made with sugar for a reason. Now, I fear not being able to loose my newly developed sweet tooth for tea when I return home. 

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Camille Smith

<p>Assalamu Alaikum, Bonjour, Hello! I&#39;m Camille and I&#39;m currently in my second year studying Political Science and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I&#39;m thrilled to be spending my semester in Rabat, Morocco and hope you all enjoy hearing about my journey! Expect bad puns and lots of pictures of food.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
International Studies
Political Science
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