Moroccan Mint Tea Ritual


“In Morocco, mint tea ritual is one of the most special ceremony that occurs every day in households. My mom and aunts used to tell me funny stories about babajudu [ grandpa], a sit down mint tea gathering. Every day, not only babajudu prepared the tea in very elaborate manner but also, he had a special way how he drank his tea. The tea is prepared in a traditional crafted teapot with beautiful engravings and served in small glass cups with colorful decorations served on top of a silver artisanal tray.  He would sat in front of lowered legs table with the ingredients to make the most tasty tea with fresh rinsed mint leaves, gunpowder (dried green tea leaves), broken sugar loaf and hot water. First, he would put in the pot a table spoon of the gunpowder and rise it quickly with boiling hot water to remove its bitterness. He would pour it  in empty cup that would be disregarded. He would add a large handful of fresh mint leaves, sugar loaf, than he would pour hot water on top of all the ingredients. After a few minutes, he would stir the mixture and taste it to see if more sugar or fresh mint leaves needed to make sure it had just the perfect flavor . He would serve the tea from very high point, which allows it to be aerate and unveil all its aromas. It took almost an hour for making the tea and savouring it.  He loved to press the glass of tea on his forehead to feel it warmth treating it as if it was a sacred object.”


“Preparing and serving cup of tea is not just boiling water and adding green tea, fresh mint and sugar, but it it is ceremonial art that is passed from generation to generation. Not only, it is  an old tradition of hospitality but it is deeply rooted in every day’s family life. The tea can be sipped at any time of the day to finish a meal. It is also served in special events like wedding ceremonies, a birth or even other predicaments like funerals.  This ritual is a cultural phenomenon that brings families and people together not only in happy times, but also in  sad times  to show respect and honored guests.”


This is an example of ICH (intangible cultural heritage), meaning that it is traditions that are passed to the next generation. This ritual was passed down to me in a passive way when my mom and my family took me to Moroccan restaurants to have the tea prepared for us. Occasionally though, my family would cook some dishes at home, and I would make the tea myself. It is a ritual which is a form of greeting in a lot of Moroccan households, which didn’t happen as much in America since we didn’t have guests often. That is what differentiates Moroccan and American culture – people would be able to more freely stay at anyone’s house in Morocco compared to America, exemplified through this ritual. Since rituals symbolize a right of passage for individuals, mint tea represents this as it is always served at events such as weddings. Its sweet and energizing quality are always fit for greetings and celebrations.